06 December 2018


In the world of literature, winning a prize can propel that masterpiece into a flurry of activity and recognition. Books that may have been overlooked entirely, are now jumping hot off the shelves. I was looking at the short listed books on the Man Booker Prize list over the years since 1969 when it was first instituted. I was astounded by how few of the names of winners I recognized: Hilary Mantel, who won twice, John Banville, Yann Martel, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Salmon Rushdie who went on to win the Booker of Bookers for the best of the best awarded in an anniversary year.

I was astounded when I first learned that publishers pay to get their books on the lists of prize contenders. I had thought the process was pure. But nothing is ever that pure, is it? Someone has to run the prize process and so there are costs involved. But to have to pay to be considered is somehow distasteful. Like bribery.

04 December 2018

Cats, books, reality and Edward Gorey

Fascinating read in this week's New Yorker magazine about Edward Gorey whose books I loved when I lived in NY.  I was truly amazed to learn how much I had in common with him. Books and cats are both really important to me. I have 5 cats at the moment and thousands of books that I cannot part with. I also often wonder if this world we live in is real or sort of a rendition of Twilight Zone. Are we mechanical beings created for the enjoyment of some extraterrestrial being? I have often thought how strange humans are in construction. To learn that someone else seems to think similarly is alarming, as it might be true after all.


16 October 2018

My muse was a feminist

I just recently came across this quote from Joseph Conrad, possibly my great great uncle, whose work I adore and whose style I am studying in earnest as I take on a literary challenge. Thanks dear Uncle Joe. Your family considered itself Polish living in Ukraine. Mine lived in the next village over and considered itself Ukrainian living in Poland. In either case, I am happy to adopt you as my muse as I embark on this new challenge, a historical fiction story about my family's migration during WWII. I hope I can live up to your example.

Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.

- Joseph Conrad

12 October 2018

Historical fiction

fig. 1
Vic O’Connor
Human art
Yesterday, out of the gloomy grayness, I started writing my mother's story again. Called 'The Unwilling Immigrant', it's the story of wartime migration. This time, I am writing it from scratch as a historical fiction piece. I didn't know I was going to start writing. I just did. Surprise, surprise. And Joseph Conrad is declared my muse.

'All roads are long which lead to one's heart's desire.'

- Joseph Conrad

Meanwhile, tomorrow morning I will attend a workshop supported by the Arts Council called A Poem in a Morning with Alice Kinsella at the Linenhall in Castlebar. I will perhaps finally learn what poetry is and whether some of what I've been writing is indeed considered poetry. 

19 August 2018

Writer's block

I can't believe I haven't written since May. I've written articles for publication and my blog about sailing, but I haven't had much to say about being a writer. I must have writer's block.

19 May 2018

MTV's Daria

She sounds an awful lot like me in high school. I loved that show. My husband thinks it was modeled after me. 

I don't have low self esteem ... I have low esteem for everyone else.