Revisited: Writerly Reflections

So something weird happened this week: I got an email from WordPress.

Okay, so that’s not so weird. I’m involved with a few different blogs right now, and my inboxes generally contain at least 5 WordPress emails every day. The weird thing was that it was telling me someone had linked to a post on this blog, which I haven’t gone near in a number of years, and which I had almost entirely forgotten.

So I open it up, and it turns out RamisaR over on Musings of a White Rose has linked to my ancient post, Writerly Reflections, over on their blog. And I figure that if people are still linking to this blog, I should probably make the effort to look at it a little myself.

My original post talked about my introduction to writing, so I’m gonna use what I said just short of 4 years ago and also revamp it with a couple of updates.

I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember.

I’m certain almost everyone is sick of Harry Potter by now – I’ve more or less reached that point myself – but I’m of just the right age where Harry Potter was this fresh new thing when I was a kid getting into reading. The first few books were read to my by my mother as bedtime stories (in fact, I think I was too young to really remember the first book as I had to re-read it a number of years later) but by half-way through the series, I was reading them for myself. And compared to most of the other books there were for kids my age, the later Harry Potter books were h u g e. Like, you’d really know it all day if one of those bad boys were in your schoolbag because you’d be dragging yourself around by the end of the day.

Needless to say, through this love of reading came a love of writing.

I enjoyed plenty of other kids books, I should say. I was really big into Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, The Hobbit, Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series and Tove Jansson’s Moomin books. And eventually, this addiction to books transformed into a kind of need to make my own. All the way through primary school, I’d come up with endless ridiculous characters with my buddy Phillip. We had monsters, detectives, wizards, villains, superheroes, and everything else that a self-respecting kid would want in their stories. At this stage, we were convinced the work we were producing was definitely going to make it big. In hindsight, they were some pretty low-quality designs.

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Eventually, in fifth class (I would have been 9 or 10 years old), my teacher stopped me after class and told me to stop writing stories about these “silly superheroes”.

These characters made their way into all manner of comics, models and short stories, and they continued to pop up over and over again for years. When my teacher finally snapped and told me to write about something more serious, I was outraged. Here I am, writing the next great work of Irish literature, and this woman comes and tells me my protagonists are silly? Something had to be done.

When I turned 13-or-so, the only writing anyone got to look at was work that had to be handed in to a teacher anyway, while my personal writing turned from gripping tales of daring do to angst-filled poems about someone in class not giving me my pencil back, or whatever was bothering me that day.

That something eventually turned out to be a spooky noire story with an edgy cliffhanger ending. “Yeah,” I no doubt thought. “That’ll show her.” But it showed nothing to nobody, and when I got my homework back the next day my feedback was something along the lines of “What happens next? Where’s the rest of the story?” This was the first time I had to learn that some people just don’t get art.

When my teens rolled around, I realised that perhaps my future didn’t lie in science fiction and fantasy, but in poetry, and the uncomfortable angst of adolescence gave me plenty of material to whinge about. Most of my (really rather dodgy) poems were about dead animals – roadkill, prey, etc – because I was going through a bit of a phase. I did write one sort-of-okay poem about a friend of mine who died when I was around 16, but that’s about it.

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Still, even if a short summer job with a small town newspaper turned out not to be my big break, it certainly showed me what I wanted to do with my life, writing-wise.

My poetry phase didn’t last forever (or so I thought), and my attention shifted once again. This time, I decided I wanted to be a journalist and even took up a summer job with my local newspaper. This plan lasted until sometime around the start of my second year of university, which is also around the time I stopped writing this blog. I started writing for a few university publications in my final year of university, and became the Arts and Entertainment editor for The Gown during my Masters, but there was no real end goal.

At the same time as all of this, I started working as a freelance writer, and I think that’s probably what killed my interest in journalism. I worked with one or two great projects, a few of which I still write for out of enjoyment rather than necessity. But something in the meaninglessness of churning out “content” with the sole intention of (A) passing plagiarism checks and (B) search engine optimisation sort of destroyed some part of me.

I became incredibly depressed (though I had already been diagnosed with clinical depression long before this, so probably this just made matters worse rather than triggering some major downturn). I stopped replying to client emails and messages, even though I relied on these people for money, and they relied on me to keep their projects running smoothly.

In my head, my plan was to just live off what money I had, and when it ran out I’d end it all. I don’t know if I was ever actually going to go through with that, I know I put a lot of thought into it but I don’t know what was actually going to happen. But then, plot twist!

I finished my undergraduate degree in the summer of 2016 and graduated with first class honours. And somehow, I was offered a scholarship to complete a Master’s degree in reading and writing poetry. And just like that, I had been given another goal to strive for, another little meaning to keep me going for another little while.

And I just finished my Master’s, and don’t have a poetry collection (yet!) but have been published in a few different magazines, and I’m making plans for my next step.

So that’s where I am now, just in case you were wondering.

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NaPoWriMo: Indirect Tweets

@twonewsocks: “Thank you for giving me a reason to get up in the morning, even on some of my darkest days. Your kindness gives me a reason to keep worki”

@twonewsocks: “I hope you know that when I smile in response to you smiling, it’s because you being happy genuinely makes me feel so much happier than I ha”

@twonewsocks: “None of you could possibly know how much you have changed my life for the better, and I will never be able to tell you. Maybe if you read th”

@twonewsocks: “I’m sorry I’m bad with words – 140 characters will never be enough to say how grateful I am for the life I have now. All I can really say is”

@twonewsocks: “thnk u”


Hello NaPoWriMo-ers! I’ve been pretty bad at posting this year because I have a tonne of assignments to do at the moment, but I’m going to try extra-hard to post as much as possible for the last week-and-a-bit, so bear with me!

Haiku Aubade / Scrambled Legs

Hello! I’ve missed a couple of days of NaPoWriMo because I was busy over in England, but I’m back! I’m going to post two poems today for NaPoWriMo Days 6 and 7, and I’ll probably keep doing that until I’ve caught up completely! Today’s poems are Haiku Aubade and Scrambled Legs. Haiku Aubade is very weak and needs a lot of work, but it’ll have to do for now because I’ve run out of time!

The aubade came from this prompt for day 6:

Today’s (optional) prompt springs from the form known as the aubade. These are morning poems, about dawn and daybreak. Many aubades take the form of lovers’ morning farewells, but . . . today is Monday. So why not try a particularly Mondayish aubade – perhaps you could write it while listening to the Bangles’ iconic Manic Monday? Or maybe you could take in Phillip Larkin’s grim Aubade for inspiration (though it may just make you want to go back to bed). Your Monday aubade could incorporate lovey-dovey aspects, or it could opt to forego them until you’ve had your coffee. (NaPoWriMo.net)


Haiku Aubade

Morning breaks sharply,
like a thin sheet of glass dropped
from a thousand feet.

I think –

Look at all these books –
I’m going to die alone
surrounded by books.

Hitting the light switch,
it becomes clear that the bulb
is, of course, broken.

I think –

That bulb is like me –
spent – no use to anyone.
Just replaceable.

And then, the alarm.
That piercing Nokia tone
an inch from my ear.

I think –

Ow! Ow ow ow! Ow
ouch, bleeding ouch! Ow ow ow!
What the – ouch! Stop! Ow!

So I just get up
and face the day – after all,
can’t get any worse.


Scrambled Legs

Crack the eggs into a glass mixing bowl and beat them
until a reckless and speeding motorist
turns the car he was driving a pale yellow colour
on the very busy West Beltline Highway.

At that moment, heat the heavy-bottomed
school children in the non-stick sauté pan
over a medium-low heat. Add the butter and let it
suffer non-life-threatening injuries.

Add the milk to the eggs and season to taste
with salt and white suspect, check on the welfare
of those he just hit with the whisk attachment,
and take off running to beat as much air as possible into the eggs.

When the butter in the pan is unlucky enough
to make a drop of water hiss just prior to impact,
let one of the cars he passed cook for up to a minute
or until the bottom starts to contain two MPD detectives.

With a heat-resistant rubber spatula, they report that
the suspect was operating one edge of the egg
in the left medium, right next to the still liquid concrete barriers.
There’s no liquid left at approximately 100 mph.

Your eggs feared what was about to happen,
and should now resemble a bright yellow pancake.
Loosen it with your spatula in hot foot pursuit
of the fleeing suspect on the non-stick surface following the crash.

Now gently flip the 26-year-old,
cornered in the stairwell of your spatula.
Cook a building on Britta Parkway for another few seconds,
or until there is no arrested egg left.

If you’re adding any other ingredients,
now’s the time to do it. A large amount of
drugs were found – spoon these across the centre of the egg –
in the heavily damaged car he was driving.

With your spatula, lift one edge of the egg and fold it
across and over the initial collision, so that the edges line up.
Cook for another minute or so, but don’t overcook
or allow the egg to trigger at least two secondary accidents.

None resulted in the finished omelette.
Garnish with chopped, fresh, serious injuries if desired.