31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!


Wikipedia: Throughout Ireland and Britain, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip, mangelwurzel, or swede.
I carved a swede to be true to my Irish roots along with the more traditional North American pumpkin.

28 October 2010

Take a Break's Young Fiction Writer of the Year Competition

In exams, it is common practice to like a poet/poem when asked to give an opinion about it because it is easier then disliking it. If I don't like something I don't want to say I do even if that gets me a better mark. But that's the thing. Surely getting a better mark is better than telling the truth? After all that mark is how you will eventually leave school and get a job and once you are out there it doesn't matter if you "lied" on the exam.
Writing for a market. I get how some writers write different genres and will write one for a women's magazine and another for an anthology. It makes sense. But say there is a competition hosted by a magazine. Do you write the genre the magazine publishes? Fine, you do. But if it really has little to do with the magazine? Like Take a Break's Young Fiction Writer of the Year Competition. Take a Break isn't about young writers. Take a Break also doesn't publish SF/F.
I entered a SF/F story to the competition for two reasons. One, it was one of the I had within the word count and two, I liked it. Better to enter something than nothing. I happen to know that last year's winners all wrote the same kind of stories (mainly), and that those stories were basically what Take a Break publishes. Yet I didn't write a story for the competition. Because that is not how I write. I can recognise and admire people who can and do write for a specific publication, but I prefer to write first and tailor after, instead of following a pattern from the beginning.
I believe I am an artist and as such, instead of making my art so it will be recognised I want people to recognise my art. Do you see the difference? And it seems to work, as long as I don't need to earn money from it.

P.S. I was happy to get in the post a few days ago a certificate from Take a Break. I got a special mention, which is sort of a short-list, below runner-up anyway which is what I got last year.
EDIT: Actually how it works is there is a first prize and two runners-up and then below that is the short-list (last year) and long-list (this year). I got confused by the absence of second and third place.

27 October 2010

Sepia Scene #105 and #106

Somehow I managed to forgo Sepia Scenes last week, so this week I am posting two photos.

The first is the full moon from last week over some houses near the sea at sunset.


The second has two photos. The first is the scene in sepia, but the second is as it was originally. You will notice it sort of had a rusty sepia tone already!

24 October 2010

Curiosity

Curiosity may have killed the cat
and satisfaction brought her back
but curiosity is not a lesson learned
once ignited you can't stop the burn
the flame gets larger, greater, brighter
the burning question needs to be satisfied
The sad truth is that curiosity is infinite
and cats have just nine lives

Sunday Scribblings

21 October 2010

I'm In The Newspaper!

Transcript: 

...student crowned Young Poet of the Year
...student Aoife Troxel from...was named the 2010 Young Poet of the Year at the Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival on Saturday.
Aoife's poem in the...category received the prestigious award at the presentations in Daghdha Space in John's Square. She read her poem "Creation and Evolution" aloud at the awards.
Fellow student {Ponygirl} also received a highly commended recognition for her poem "Empty Chairs*" in the...category.
The competition is promoted by Cuisle, Limerick City International Poetry Festival. The contest was judged by Terri Murray, Mark Whelan, and Bertha McCullagh.
Born in Maine, USA, Aoife moved to her mother's native Ireland in 2008.
When not writing poetry or walking the boreens of Connemara, Aoife is happily posting to her blog - twowritersdaily - taking photographs of the Irish countryside...
Aoife also received a first place Certificate of Achievement  in the Writer's Forum August 2010 edition and the April 2010 edition, highly commended in the Cavan Crystal 18th National Student & Adult Poetry Competition 2010.
Her poem "At Granny's Funeral" placed first in the Beara Writers' Group Poets Meet Painters publication in West Cork this summer. Her story "My Canal" was short-listed in the Take a Break's Ficiton Young Writer of the Year 2009. 
{end}

*Based on the Winston Churchill quote (1918): "The crippled and mutilated soldiers darkened the streets...every cottage had its empty chair. Hatred of the beaten foe, thirst for his just punishment, rushed up from the hearts of deeply injured millions."

There are some horrible editing and grammar mistakes (MM), not to mention it is embarrassing, but I was in the newspaper! The blurs are obviously mine, and they represent residential and school information. If you are very curious, you may move to Galway and pick up a copy of the Connacht Tribune (page 11).

19 October 2010

Rules to Live By




















Look, if there's one thing I've learned, it's:

Forgiveness is easier to ask than permission
and never compromise on your opinion
Always do what you think is right
and even if they're wrong don't pick a fight
Apologies are easier than broken friendships
...but only sometimes.

Carry on Tuesday

18 October 2010

Champion


Winning isn't as simple as it seems,
sometimes reality is worse than the dream.
When you win at everything what have you achieved?
If you think you're something special, you have been deceived.

One Single Impression 

Sorry to bring up winning again, I'm still on a high. I never brag tell people I know about my success because from a young age I have been good at most things I put my mind too and people have never wanted to hear me happy about doing well when they haven't done well. So, you know, it's nice to share.

17 October 2010

Harvest




















Pumpkins potatoes
harvested in wicker with
cucumbers tomatoes

Sunday Scribblings

16 October 2010

Cuisle Again Again

DD being the responsible adult was sure to tell me when I got home that Cuisle called. Not! They did, the night before the award ceremony, with this message: "Aoife won an award."
Oh yes, but what award in particular, she wouldn't say. Was it a highly commended in my category, or third?
No.



Can you read that? It says: Cuisle Young Poet of the Year 2010. Young. Poet. Of. The. Year. That is correct, I won the top award in the competition, not my age category. Out of all the poets aged under eighteen, I won overall.
I suppose you are wondering what poem I used and unfortunately me publishing it here could ruin its success in any other competitions I might enter in the future, so I can't let you see it. However, it is called 'Creation and Evolution' and is about a painter and his painting of a pale blue dot.
Anyway, before you ask, I did know I had won something when I posted yesterday but I thought it would  be entertaining to let you think, as I did, that I didn't get a thing only to find out I actually had. Of course I was not expecting to be able to tell you such absolutely outstanding  news!
I just want to say three more things. Firstly, what is wrong with the Irish sense of time? In the poetry festival booklet it said that the ceremony was on at twelve and at eleven, in two different places. WTF? DD and I were late because of that. Which made the award all the more surprising.
Secondly, I wanted to thank the organisers and judges for giving all of us young Irish poets a chance to win awards and share our writing. Brilliantly played.
Finally, I wanted to congratulate PonyGirl for also getting an award. She got the same award I received last year so if she follows in my footsteps you heard it here first! Also she was the youngest age in her category and she was in a bit of a witting funk when she wrote the particular poem. Excellent job!

Cuisle Again



I posted about Cuisle about twelve days ago, if you recall. I pretty much gave up hope. Last year they called the Thursday before the Saturday it took place. When first Wednesday and then Thursday passed with no call, I was extremely disappointed. Considering this poem was at least three times better than the last one in my eyes, it would be only right for them to award it at least the same prize right?
Well, c'est la vie. When I got home there was no message, no prize, no anything... Oh well.



This was post-dated from yesterday night. I will be posting again soon. Enjoy the weekend.

15 October 2010

Doesn't Need a Title

I was going to add this into my last post, but I felt it deserved a post of its own. Due to recent unimaginable drama with both my friends and extended family, I have not been keeping up with things. I have more than an inkling blogging has not been affected as much as say, homework, though.
When I say unimaginable I am referring solely to the extended family thing, the friends thing is...frustrating, saddening, and disappointing, but not abnormal.

Exiled Writers: A Sob Story

Many writers have written their greatest work sitting at a desk at home or at their office, or even in a café.  Some of the greatest however, have written while in exile, far from their cosy desk at home.
For example, Dante. And Aristotle. And also Victor Hugo and Leo Tolstoy.

I was emailed a link by the owner of this site telling me that the readers of my blog could possibly be interested in this article about 5 Famous Exiled Writers (and other articles). I was interested in the article and thought I would share it. Mainly because the email was extremely nice and neither pleading nor threatening and demanding. I get how it is to want more readers for your site and every little helps, so the link for that article is below.

5 Famous Writers That Lived in Exile

Favourite Pen Friday #5


I also own the counterpart in gold, but after a trip though the wash, it hadn't recovered enough to be on par with this one, or even among the ten.

13 October 2010

12 October 2010

Pain


Close your eyes, have no fear
the thorns of life can't touch you here
breathe deep, breathe long
silver birch whitens there
the creaking wooden rocking chair
breathe deep and breathe long
don't worry, it will soon be gone

Carry on Tuesday

11 October 2010

Spring Tides























These illustrate a phenomena known as spring tides. Around the new moon and full moon when the Sun, Moon and Earth form a line (a condition known as syzygy) the tidal force due to the Sun reinforces that due to the Moon. The tide's range is then at its maximum: this is called the spring tide. In English, that means a much higher high tide and much lower low tide. The opposite of this, that is when the tide's range is at its minimum, is a neap tide.

An interesting animation to further explain this is available here.

08 October 2010

Friends




















I always thought that one perfect friend would be great. You know, one who shares every interest. It seemed that lots of people had them, and had had them since they were very young. But I guess having lots of friends who each have something in common with you isn't so bad.
I used to want a friend to share every interest but the truth is I have too many varied interests, I think, for it to be likely someone with the same to show up. They might exist somewhere, or have existed sometime, or will exist, but me finding them is unlikely.
So I have lots of friends with different interests and some share more than others. Still, it is most disappointing when someone you admire does not enjoy the same admirable thing that you do. If that makes sense?

Favourite Pen Friday #4

















This pen was purchased by MM for DD last Christmas. At that time, she was working in Athlone, and that is where the particular shop and artisan are located. The pen is made of Irish bog oak, bog wood being wood that was preserved under the ground of the Irish bogs for thousand of years (from 2,000 up to 9,000 years). It is normally pine, oak or yew. The conditions of the bog change the colour of the wood to red brown (pine) jet black (oak) or dark brown (yew). It is commonly found while digging for turf in the bogs, and many artists use it in their work. It has a wonderful sheen when softly polished.

05 October 2010

Why I Don't Edit



















Someone commented a while ago on one of my poems about how the meter of the last line was longer than the rest and so stood out in a bad way, just giving advice on how to edit it. The thing is, I don't edit things I post on my blog. There are few reasons why. It is not that I am insulting my readers and saying you don't deserve the best, it is that you are important to me.
Say someone spends years learning the violin, painfully screeching out each note, causing their family to clap their hands over their ears and run and slam doors to block it. They play the same song over and over. And over. And over. They finally get it right and at their recital they play it. Their family has heard the song so many times they hum it in their sleep, they have resolved to never ever buy their kids another violin, and they have a special drawer for earplugs.
Even for that, who applauds the loudest at the end of the song?

Do you see?

Also, I think blogging is a stream of consciousness. It is different to other media. Just like Twitter has a "science," so does blogging. Most bloggers are honest creative people. I am just being honest by sharing things straight from my head, without editing them.
The truth is, I don't edit. At all. Anything. And I know it is silly and ignorant and stupid but here's the thing...So many people have told me writing is good, that it deserves praise, that I believe them. Truthfully, when I look back at some of my writing it seems so horrid that I think it would have been better not to write it at all. So I listen to those people and think it is good. I send it off almost as soon as I am done writing it. Then it has no chance to slowly change over time to something horrid in my eyes, because someone indifferent has already said it is good. It is like a safeguard, not editing.
I do edit some. As I write, if things sound off I fix them, if a word is wrong, I change it. It is not that I don't edit full stop, just that I don't do that thing where you put in  drawer for two weeks and "come at it with fresh eyes."
I know it's stupid.

04 October 2010

Chrysalis

Caterpillars climb our white exterior walls like they are horizontal and stay motionless for days or a second. When they move on, we see a pile of small yellow eggs that stick for twenty rains and hatch whenever we aren't looking. Sometimes the eggs are broken and eaten by a fat black spider, or just don't hatch at all.
A caterpillar lay by our door for days, and never moved. Now there is a green form, where it sleeps. Sometime it will emerge, ordinary as waking from a nap. But this time it will have wings.


Do you find it odd that the chrysalis is so uniform? Each raised bump and ridge is a duplicate of its siblings'. The shape itself is odd, like a bug at rest with furled wing. But each bump and ridge must have a purpose, must fit one toe, or a leg, else why would they exist? It is perfectly efficient, nothing wasted and no space or ornament there if unrequired.
Either God was a genius who created every single thing on earth, in our solar system, everywhere, perfectly efficiently, first try, in seven days...or...evolution smoothed some bumps and raised others so the caterpillar would fit perfectly, uniformly, in its infancy and adulthood, exactly into a chrysalis that it was born with the knowledge of how to construct.

03 October 2010

Cuisle


Last year I expressed remorse for placing in a poetry competition with a low-quality poem. This year I have pulled out all the stops and written a poem I love, and I really hope to win. I am the top age in my category and I like this poem where I hated the last "commendable" one, so I am fairly confident.
I am not the only one of my contempories to do so: PonyGirl has also entered. I am hoping we both get something so we can see each other there...
This competition is Cuisle, if you remember I posted a lot about it and Killarney. We are not going to Killarney the same day as we did last year, so it should be less rushed.
I will post about it if I get anything. Here's hoping :)

01 October 2010

Favourite Pen Friday #3

Well there goes me saying I hadn't mentioned ten consecutive weeeks of Favourite Pen Fridays, because I did. Ah, well, here, after much ado, is Favourite Pen Friday Number Three, and I daren't count how many weeks late.
Still, better late than never in most cases save CPR, so...


These must be the cheapest pens in the series, costing just 4 cents each, but they are not missing in quality the same proportion they lack in price. I haven't found the ink to run out any faster than other pens, they certainly aren't ugly, though they may not be beautiful. They have no branding on them, and they are colour-coded. Sure, if you have a pen fetish they won't be up to standard with your Cross or artisan produced (see next week :) ) work, but they suffice for a writing utensil if what matters is the writing, not the medium in which it comes from the mind to the physical world of the page.
I have noticed they sometimes need a little prompting to write, but lots of pens do.