29 July 2010

Eulogy...Writers' Forum Young Writers' Competition

It's the end of July. That means not long until school begins. That means Millcove is launching the Poets Meet Painters Publication on Saturday. And that means Writer's Forum comes out (came out today actually).
Usually, that is a happy occasion. After all, who doesn't like magazines? And when they help improve your writing and give you an opportunity to be published and to read some short stories, why, that's even better.
But, this month, Writer's Forum brings sad news. Not sad for many people, but sad for me especially. This issue is the last issue in which the Writer's Forum Young Writers Competition will be held. I have been entering, whenever I felt I had a good story or poem, since August 2009. Exactly a year ago.
Their reasons for doing so are logical, so I can't complain of injustice, but I still have to question the impact this will have on people of my age who enter entered each month.
The reason for discontinuation of the contest according to the editor is as follows: "Although it has remained popular among a regular group of entrants, space is limited and we want to use the pages for content that all of our readers will find useful."
However, this was the only contest that I knew of for young writers that was frequent, open to international entries, rewarded with publication and money or a dictionary, and was a respected magazine to be published in. It saddens me that other young writers will not get the chance to see their work published in an international magazine. Most magazines and other publications specify that entrants must be of a certain age (usually above 16 or 18). This cuts out all those below that age, even if their stories could have stood up against those of adults.
Also, even if those aforementioned stories were not that good, the contest provided a goal to strive for, a reason to perfect stories, to keep writing. In short, a reason to become better so that when the younger writers are of an age to enter, they will have the skills, patience, and dedication to keep entering even when they don't place.

25 July 2010

The Peaceful Graveyard

Stone crosses towered crookedly above the lumpy ground. The dates commemorated dead from decades ago. Some had ashy flowers, once silk and velvet, now bleached by the sun.
But today there was no sun. The graveyard wasn't particularly frightening or classic; the stones were lopsided and unevenly arranged, but there was no hanging moss or shaded corners. Below the graves, the sea lapped against a cliff. Even that wasn't unusual, as the sea was almost always calm.
In short, the graveyard wasn't a frightening or even mildly uneasy place. It sat peacefully on the top of its hill slowly disappearing as the sea eroded closer and closer, neither in a hurry.
The graveyard wasn't a place you would find a dead body. Not a warm one.
Yet the pale hands and green dress were unmistakeably that of the mayor's daughter. The pool of blood by her head could have been anyone's, but judging by the gash on her scalp and the bloody tennis racket next to her, it was hers.
Her ex-boyfriend leant against a nearby gravestone. He was a tennis player. He was even covered in blood. However, he didn't kill her. That was painfully obvious because he was dead too.
The important things about the graveyard were that it was quiet, it was normal, and it was never visited by anyone.
The first thought in anybody's head would be to kill them here and leave their bodies for the sea to slowly get too. No one would ever find them.
Naturally, the second thought was that was exactly where everyone would look.
Sadly, no one did.

21 July 2010

Wordpress, and a Photography Blog

I said I failed miserably at making a wordpress blog, but...

It was a lie!

I did not fail, and I am now extremely proud with the result, and no longer find wordpress daunting (Yes, daunting. I know...)

I made a photography blog, here. The posts start on July 01 (yes, I back-posted them), and are scheduled to post one a day right up through September 26. Talk about a whole day's work (I had to "watermark" them too)!

Anyway, I have no plans to change this blog to wordpress, I was just trying it out. But I like it, so I now have a link to my photography blog on my sidebar. Yay!

Here is a photo to celebrate:

20 July 2010

Politicians; The Reveal, and One Writer, and It's all About ME

Hello World, this is not just another wordpress blog. I have tried and failed miserably, to set up a wordpress blog, just to see...
No, I am not disloyal blogger, but how will anyone respect my opinion* that you are the greatest if I haven't even tried others?
Ah, I will stick to blogger for the moment. Until I set up my own, far superior website that will make you wish you had never heard the name...um...Aoife's Far Superior Website. So there.
Websites come with fame you know. I just need more fame, and I'll have half a dozen top-class website designers knocking on the virtual door...
Seriously though, I'm happy with my blog. Every once in a blue moon, I give her a facelift, sometimes go so far as to botox it up and make drastic changes involving complicating simple tasks. But at some point, I will move to the big city (yes, pun intended...did you get the pun?) and upgrade to within an inch of her life, and the simple Two Writer's Daily will become something like Only Mine So There. Not that she isn't already mine (squatters' rights people)...beautiful roundabout way of encouraging MM to post, no?
So, you ask, why the rambling seemingly-worthless drivel? I shall take pleasure in informing you, my drivel is of the high-class variety, and wouldn't be caught dead on a less worthy blog (or a more worthy one for that matter). But, that is not the point. The point here is to introduce you to my friend while keeping the entire post still about me.
Her pseudonym is PonyGirl and she can be found here at The Travelling Circus Notebook. I happen to enjoy her blog (it is still in the starting posts, so no character judging), and so will you. So. Will. You.
There now, see how this is still about me? Oh, you don't. Here is how; I personally endorse The Travelling Circus Notebook, and I am brilliant, therefore...You follow?
Okay, here is an example of PonyGirl's thinking...it's about politicians. We all love them, but what are they really up to behind the scenes? Let me set the scene...there is a long line of people...Their purpose is to open a pickle jar. The following scene could be fictional, but it might be...non-fictional.

The first guy tries opening it, but he can't do it. he hands it to the next guy in line, and the next guy's all like, "You're such a fool," until he realises he can't onpen it either. so the next guy tries, and he's sneaky about it. he tries using a knife, or hitting of a table edge. But that doesn't work either. The next guy in line seems like he's almost got it open, and just when your tummy's rumbling with the idea of a pickle, he takes his hand away and there's a giant blister on his palm. He's no good either. The next guy secretly manages to open the jar, and steals a pickle while no one's looking, then reseals the lid and it's all hush hush. Then all the guys in line start arguing about the best way to open the jar, shouting at one another, and basically forgetting about the jars actual presence all together. And all we can do is watch these men fighting over the pickle jar, hoping against hope that one of these ejiits in line can open the blessed thing cause by now we've finished our hamburger, chips and are moving on to the jello.

There you have it people. Politicians; The Reveal. Scared? You should be. Now go visit TheTravelling Circus Notebook.

 *Opinion about blogger's greatness is subject to change under torture, spilt-second-before-the-apocalypse mind change, and no-reason-at-all annoyance.

18 July 2010


Rust reminds me of
nature's preponderance over man
iron's return to its ore state
no matter how smelted or moulded
or flattened or formed.

A fence snaking up a mountain -
each roll of wire and post carried
by a single man with purpose -
is not noble enough to last.

Not like marble and quartz
born from molten earth
are made to last for aeons
until the mountain is flattened
by water and wind

the same that oxidise galvanised iron

flaking rust crawling up a mountain
catching up on time

One Single Impression

15 July 2010

Theme Thursday: Help...Ripples

The six-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti was on Monday, 12 July. This is a fiction piece I wrote shortly after the earthquake. Feel free to click on the top image in my sidebar, it is a link to Oxfam Ireland's donate page (for their international website, go here).

A man watches a small butterfly as it flies past. He flicks his cigar against the side of his chair. A single flake of ash falls into the water below. At that moment, everything changes. It is as though a pebble has been tossed into a pond. Nothing can stop the ripples.

They spread to a shore, where an egret rises from his perch in alarm. He flies over a tobacco farm, carefully situated near a fast flowing river. The egret grows tired, but he cannot stop until he is out of the place he calls the Land of No Trees.

Others not do hear the warning the egret calls. They continue their lives, not knowing that the ripples are spreading further and further from their epicentre, and they will soon reach them.


He clings to life beneath the ground. It surely must be below the ground, for all is dark and dirty.  Others were near; he had heard their moans of pain. But all is quiet now. Somewhere above he hears shouting. Is it English? He cannot move. A board is pressing against his stomach. He does the only thing he can do. He shouts. A shaft of light reaches him as a piece of corrugated tin is yanked away. He blinks in the bright sunlight. No, it is night, the light is a torch. A hand reaches toward him. He is saved.


Escape from this hellhole is impossible. She is trapped inside her one room shack; another home collapsed against the doorway. Her son was somewhere outside. She can only pray that he survived. She paces back and forth. Someone tried to reach her earlier, but they spoke only French. She could not understand. She shouted in her native tongue that she could not get out. They left. The last scrap of food had been eaten hours ago, maybe even days. Time has ceased to have meaning. Her cooking fire from last night – or maybe the night before – has gone out, leaving only cold gray ash. She sits
down on the dirt and waits for death.


Lost in the streets, an American calls out to people around him. They turn eagerly toward him, but look away, their eyes dulling, when they realise that he is none of their own. ‘Foo blá,’ they mutter. Crazy white man. He has lost his glasses somewhere, and he stumbles blindly. ‘Au secours!’ he calls out in broken French. They shrug, not understanding.


Problems have started already. She returns to find her home looted. The flood of tears will not stop. But how can she deny the hungry some food? All of her family is dead. She has only one distant cousin, in England somewhere. He will help her. 


Hope wells in people like a plastic bag filling with wind at a landfill. It floats and soars, climbing higher and higher. It refuses to fall, no matter how hard they tell themselves that the people they are waiting for are dead. Families anxiously sit inside, listening to the news, hovering over telephones and computers, waiting.

Accounts dwindle, are even exhausted. Others fill, ones with names such as The Red Cross, Unicef, and Oxfam. In all the chaos, everyone grieves. For families. Friends. For people that they will never meet. And those that they don’t even know.

Inside a hospital, a reporter observes chaos from the shadows. He doesn’t move, too afraid of crushing those laid out on the floor. He turns to his cameraman with a determined expression. The cameraman, as though they are the same person, has the thought too. They drop their things and run outside to help. When the station calls them, they are nowhere to be found. They won’t lose their jobs.


This is the scale of one event, one stone tossed into a pond. It spreads across the world, ripples growing ever larger, affecting more and more people as time passes.

If only it will be remembered. After the news stories have long been archived, and the trickle of media attention dried up, people will still need us. Some will answer their call. Too many will forget and live their lives in peace, never remembering what happened on this day. The day the world paused and forgot to breathe. A few people, who have no obligation to help, or even to care, will hold their breath for what seems like forever. Life will never go back to being normal for them. Don’t let yourself get carried away with the quality of your life. Some people don’t have one.

 Theme Thursday, where interpretations run amok.

14 July 2010


The garden was black and shrivelled
pink silky flowers charred
the shell of the house
gaping and brown
boards at right angles
like broken teeth
and among it all
the stench of freedom
when the wind blows
through ruined lives

One Single Impression

13 July 2010

'Hazel' Book Review

I read this last night. I have read one or two other books by Julie Hearn, and enjoyed them. I picked this before I knew she wrote it, but it was enjoyable. 
I know people say children and teenagers are the hardest to write for because if they don't like the book, they won't finish it. I have never found that personally. The number of books I haven't finished I could count on one hand. Maybe because I am a fast reader, or read very few difficult books, or think the author deserves a fair chance, I don't know. But that is the way it is. So a lot of books that I read aren't as great as you might think. Just because I read the whole thing doesn't mean it was brilliant and captured my attention.

'Hazel', by Julie Hearn, is an enjoyable book. The historical aspects are very real, and the story is compelling, not just through Hazel's eyes, but the side story of women's fight for The Vote.
It read like two different books in my opinion. Trying not to spoil it, the second half where Hazel takes a trip is almost like a different book, and only at the end do the two sort of tie together.
I'm sure if I liked that about it, but it certainly kept it interesting.
I found it a bit tiresome. After a while, all I wanted was the resolution. It was a good story however, and was set perfectly in its time in the past. I also enjoyed Hazel's first person narrative through the medium of her typewriter.

I give it:

Plot: ***
Characters: *****
Voice: ****
Originality: ****
Dialogue: ***

 Which means...three stars.
Amazon listing here.

11 July 2010

Stuck for Inspiration?

While on the It Starts With Us blog (which, by the way, you should have a look around, maybe join the cause, it's a good one) I saw this video.

It's a video, in the words of Dan T Cathy (president of Chick-fil-A), that 'we created to remind us that everyone we interact with is a chance to create a remarkable experience. "Every life has a story if we only bother to read it."' (Video ©2010 Chick-fil-A)
This is true of course, but why I'm citing it has less to do with customer satisfaction and more to do with writing. I recommend you watch the video of course, not just read this, but the gist of it is that everyone has a story, that woman with the children, that elderly couple, that smiling employee. As a writer, you don't go up to people and ask them, 'what is your story?' Maybe you see someone in the street and think, hmmm. Then you go home and remember them, and wonder why they were there, at that time, with that expression, wearing that outfit? And more often that not, you get a story, or a character, that you can use.
So the next time you are stuck for an idea, just look around you. Every life has a story, if you only care to imagine...

P.S. My blog was one year old on the 6 July 2010. Wow.