Short Stories and Long Lies launched by Minister for the Arts

 

 

Minister Jimmy Deenihan launches Book in Tinahely

 

Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, was in Tinahely on Saturday May 12, 2012 to launch a collection of short stories and poetry by a local writing group. Called Short Stories and Long lies, the book was written by five local writers; Alison McGuire, Tara Quirke, Thomas Clare, Robert Duffy and Jillian Godsil. The launch was held in the Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely.

Minister Deenihan launched the book and said: “Tinahley is renowned as a centre for culture and artistic activity and it is great to see new and existing authors coming together to publish lively collections such this one. The village already boasts a thriving arts centre and here at Riverside Art Gallery we have another great venue promoting the arts.

“Creative writing can be a lonely pursuit and the presence of a writing group can be very supportive. I would like to congratulate all five authors on their work and ultimate production of this interesting book.”

The launch was held in the new Art Gallery. Entertainment was provided by three young harpists, local sisters Miriam and Bernadette Lambert along with their first cousin Brid Lambert. Refreshments were provided by D’Lish Café also in the same building and wines by local grocers Walkers in nearing Shillelagh and Candys from Carnew.

The book may be purchased online for €10 at http://www.lulu.com/shop/the-snug-at-730-writing-group/short-stories-long-lies/paperback/product-20099977.html

Or by contacting Jillian@practicepr.ie

http://www.wicklowpeople.ie/lifestyle/words-are-all-i-have-3099048.html Write up in Wicklow People

http://vimeo.com/42696631 Click here for the video

http://www.carlow-nationalist.ie/tabId/392/itemId/14554/New-chapter-opens-up-for-local-writing-group.aspx Write up in Carlow Nationalist

Raheengraney House – an Historic Story from the Future (fiction)

It is the year of the Green Gods 3011 and I am named Seth. I am in my final year of Home Schooling: next year I will join my brothers on the Mars Satellite for a three year rotation. The rotations are getting longer as we run out of oxygen here on earth. The planting decrees came too late and only small bubbles of breathable gases are still found on earth, Ireland being one such bubble.

As it our custom when we leave a planet, we must write a leave taking. My tutors have explained that each leave taking should be viewed as a final, standalone account. Just in case we have a final, final conflict, and yes the irony is not lost on me. People once wrote on parchment, then on paper and the printing press seemed to create a lasting legacy. But of course parchment can turn to dust and books can be burnt or lost in floods. Then people believed that what was written on the internet would live for ever, but this too turned out to be false. If you have no computers, there is no internet and data cannot remain suspended forever, and for many years this was the case. When the machines were turned back on, what had been written was lost. Lost into the ether, or was it the Ethernet! (sorry, this is a late twentieth century pun which I may explain later)

Anyway, this is my first time to write an account of my time. I have reached maturity at 16 years and will shortly move to Mars where I shall take on the responsibility of an adult and live the life of an adult. So I write this for my legacy, my children, even my returning, older self. I shall try and write everything I feel of importance, in case being on another planet will make me forget what happened here. I write so that maybe, even if parchments dust and books burn and internet ceases, my account will survive. A copy will be lodged under my skin and this too may be retrieved, providing I survive or someone cares enough to pull it from my dead body. Hey, this is morbid thinking. I am writing for my future self who may wish to look back into my present youth. I do not think of failure.

So my life so far.

I have enjoyed living in quadrant Wicklow345 for my junior years. I arrived here from Norway with three other cadets and we have been billeted in a facility called Raheegraney House. As this house was built on the top of a hill, it escaped the great floods that covered much of Wicklow back in 2876. These followed the final conflict between what were once called nations. Nations have been dis-named and disallowed since. We are all only earthians, those of us that remain on earth. And when I join my brothers in Mars, I shall become a marthian. We are now named for where we live and not from where we come from. And as we move in rotations, these means a healthy person can be from most of the stars and planets in this galaxy. There is no more war.

I am excited to move to the Mars satellite but I am not looking forward to the journey. We shall be put to sleep and not woken until destination, a journey of some fifteen months. That is the optimum balance between space lag and rocket speeds. Fifteen months seems a long time to lose to sleep, but I will be able to learn a new language as I rest and also I have pre booked history learning covering the previous millennia. I am a keen student of history. While I sleep, my brain at least will be busy learning. The newer technologies mean too my body will be moved via electrical impulses, otherwise I would wake as a near corpse, with wasted muscles and feeble body. The early pioneers suffered terribly in their space exploration in the middle of the last millennium. They were not given a choice like laboratory rats from an even more distance past. While I lament their treatment, I am thankful space travel is now relatively easy, if still time consuming.

I have been watching vintage television; this was an entertainment tool within a single element, a box or screen. The programmes made are now stored on the ancient history channels which I love. Their views of space were dictated by men with pointy ears and they could teleport people onto planets. As if!

I enjoyed my time in quadrant Wicklow345. The area not covered by water is relatively small, but the house is friendly and cosy. I shared the top room with my three fellow cadets from Norway. I did some research while I was stationed there. The early history, over a thousand years ago is hard to trace. Very little remains as all papers were burnt, shredded or used to provide warmth during the final conflict. The conflict happened too fast and coupled with the natural disasters that rocked the earth, people could not save themselves let along any belongings. This is a good thing for we are not allowed to own possessions any more. The house where we are billeted was once a private home. I cannot believe that one family lived here, that only one family owned it. Now it is home to more than 50 people in total, when you include the outbuildings. It is also a centre for learning which means I had some real tutors rather than just automated teaching guides.

What I discovered about the house was very interesting. It is very old, more than a thousand years old in fact. It was built back in the late 1700s for one family who lived there until the mid 1900s. It was then owned by a local farmer for some years before being sold to a family who moved from Dublin. Dublin was once the main metropolis for Ireland until it was flooded. You can still seem the tops of some of the main buildings poking up through the water. Unlike other cities,Dublin did not have many very high buildings and there is little to see, or to catch on a vessel, which is the opposite of other places. For example, it is used to lethal to travel across where the flooding above North America at one stage because of the sky scrapers. We lost many exploration vessels in the early days before the new oceans were mapped. Of course, our navigation has powered on tremendously since too. Now, any remaining outshoots have either been topped or warning cones erected. It is scary to look down through the water and see the outlines of masonry below. Many millions of people were trapped in the floods and after the conflict, their bodies bobbed like scum at a beach. Now, an occasional shifting of plates or slow collapse of buildings under water, means bodies are released to the surface, just bones of course now. But sometimes a doll or some plastic artifact pops up, looking the same as it did some 200 years ago.

Anyway, back to my billet. This house was famous in its own right, and not just as a survivor of the local flooding. One thousand years ago, exactly to this year, the then owners divorced. Divorce means separate from a married state and was a very painful experience. Marriage was the main cause or precursor to divorce. Both historic situations seem to have been managed by couples at their volition and it appeared people ping-ponged between these two legal contracts, but not often very happily, while at the same time incurring great and unnecessary expense. I am not quite sure why it cost so much money, but I think lawyers may have had something to do with it. Lawyers are banned from our world, only mediators remain.

Now of course, we are programmed to be compatible with our mates, and when we move rotations, sometimes our help mates are switched, especially if there are sound physical and geographical reasons to do so. It makes for variety and we don’t do love any more. Love and hate were blamed as the two big reasons for the earth failing in the last millennium.

As I understand it, a thousand years ago, people fell in love and got married. But sometimes it didn’t work and rather than just re programme to a new mate, people fell out of love and into hate and got divorced. There were just too many emotions, which we have also largely banned too. It makes for a calmer world and we will survive this way.

Anyway, back to my story. The couple divorced and he went to live in the UK. This used to be a country next to Ireland but sheer volume of people trapped on the island during the conflict meant it capsized and most of them were lost.  It was a very smelly part of the ocean for about 50 years as the bodies decayed on the surface. New prevailing currents meant the dead populace floated over to where Europe used to be. This was lucky, else the few green patches in Ireland would have ended up as rotting dumps and we would have lost a valuable source of oxygen for earthly billets.

The woman who was divorced and who remained in my billet, Raheengraney House, in Ireland attempted to sell the house. She used a digital format, a precursor to our current ultimate reality, called the internet to find a buyer. She became a global sensation but despite finding a buyer, she was locked into a deadly financial bind. In those days people used money to buy things and organisations called banks held the money. They said what the people could and could not do. In fact, people did not own the money at all. It was all owned by the banks. But these banks had a stranglehold on the people at that time. Of course, with the abolition of money, banks have long since gone, but they were a parasitic curse inflicted on ordinary people.

I have since discovered, the woman went on to win the lottery. This we still have of course, but in those days it only delivered money. She bought back the house and lived there to a great old age of 96. She wrote several novels, her first becoming accredited reading for state schools until they banned cursing. It is still used as a social document in some teaching establishments. It is called Running out of Road but when I tried to read it, the banned text (mostly cursing I understand although some sex also) meant I could not read one in twenty lines. The bits I could read made me laugh though. Did I mention sex? That is also banned although I know some rogue cadets have been caught trying it. They were given emotion blockers and send on early to the Venus Satellite, and despite its name Venue is not a good satellite to spend time on. Anyway, the woman had a great time writing all about cursing and sex. She became quite famous for that too I think. She had a happy ending which I like, although happy endings are largely frowned upon from mainstream reading materials. She married once more, won many awards and even had her own television programme – on those box entertainment toys.

I only subscribe to one lottery – we don’t do money anymore – but the New You Lottery offers a new cloned body which I can claim at any time. They are very expensive to produce and so only a couple of clones are created each year. If I win my lottery I aim to replace and remodel myself at age 46. This will be the perfect time and I will also trade in my old help mate for a new one, around a twenty year old should be perfect.  They say some things do not change.

© Jillian Godsil 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Many Colours of Yellow

There are things that cannot be mended, cannot be fixed, cannot be found. We try all the time to find the reason, call the name, find the cure. But sometimes it just does not exist. And all the brown paper and glue cannot make it right again.

We tumbled down that hill and our bruises are as real and yellow as canaries or sunflowers or daffodils. They are also the colour of chardonnay, the colour of perfume, the colour of a glass of Powers Gold Label.

Canaries sing down the mines, sing in their cages. Daffs and sunflowers spread their pollen like poison, etching misty fingers in an indelible path. But bruises will fade, pass away, leaving only a trace on the skin.

Jaundice will do its part too. And carrots, apparently. Even weak sunshine will leave its yellow shadow on some.

Yellow used to be such a pretty colour in our youth, but as we age it has become the colour of urine

When we are broken, we cannot dream any more. This can be called a state of yellow. The yellow belly of defeat.

And how do we mend? This is also the colour of yellow. The bright sunshine streaming in through the window. The first creep of yellow in the field in spring to the burnished yellow of the ripe rapeseed crop. Blinding yellow as we drive through the countryside, fastened on all sides with luminous crops.

Filaments of yellow hang in the light bulb. Suspended above our head, or gently waving in a summer’s evening, above and warming while we swing on the porch. We barely notice it, but it’s there all the while.

Yellow is also the colour of melting butter on toast. Especially the first toast after  childbirth: the first most delicious of all foods to the new parent. Each time is better than the last, each expectation better than the first. Oh, the mother of six children must love that toast and butter, better and better.

At the end of the day, colours are what we think of them. They cannot exist alone. But we indulge and instill our emotions so they take on our hue, cast and colour. I am a yellow person. Not for some imagined weakness on my part, on their part, but for the possibility. The possibility that I might glow in the dark, mellow in the yellow, burnish in the afternoon.

I may be broken, unfixed and lost. But I still may yet burn with a yellow glow, pour through a window with intensity or feast upon a new day with gleaming eyes. I may be yellow but I have hope. I have hope, canary hope.

 

© Jillian Godsil 2012

 

Letting Go and Binding Fast – A Poem for my Children

 

The umbilical cord

Stretches as far as the eye cannot see

And beyond that which the mind cannot imagine.

 

It has infinite elastic and give,

Timeless reach and understanding

For things and worlds that I cannot hope to comprehend.

As my parents before me turned their lives upside down

And accepted on trust the new worlds I gave them

So too I reach out and hold my children’s new truths,

new livings, new infinites.

 

There is very little old in the new

Snippets and snatches of times before

But most is new forged, new gotten, begotten

And the old is mostly forgotten.

 

Save for the combined tug tied up in the sinewy cord

A tug that pulls back even as it gives forward

An army of mothers have passed it along

And it loops and pools over generations, through families and out of sight

A sinewy thread that binds as it loosens, tugs as it gives

Holding and giving and letting go.

 

© Jillian Godsil 2012

I’d almost forgotten what it was like…(fiction)

…to feel warm sand between my toes. Of course, the last time I’d enjoyed a sun holiday was when my children were very young. Fast forward through recession, divorce and financial ruin and it had been almost twenty years. And now I weighed in at almost 26 stone. I may well have lost a few pounds, pun pun, along the way but I had bulked up on my weight. My obese body was a bulwark again the world, that horrible shivering miserable mess that lay in wait for me. With food there was no answering back, no reproachful looks, no tearful conversations. Just plain satisfaction and I could call the shots.

Of course, while it was wonderful to feel the sand between my toes, I could not see them. My large breasts and rolling belly obscured all views of what might lie below. Unless I sat well back in the sun lounge and pushed my toes out, only then could I see the tips of my fat toes and feet. ‘Oh hello toes’ I said. ‘Enjoying the sun and the sand?’

The other problem with being obese was burning. There was more skin than ever, skin stretched tight over mountainous rolls and all of it very pink and vulnerable. I wore large tops but I also stayed under the umbrella, so the only part of me in the sun was my feet – as I edged them outside the protection of the umbrella, just for a moment to feel the sun, before pulling them in again. The sand was warm regardless.

I had traveled with Roger. A patient man, a man who enjoyed my company and to a degree my size. I was never quite sure if he found the mark but he enjoyed himself amongst my folds. It is said that as god made them, he matched them. Husband number one was less than my match but Roger more than made up for my skinny years.

They say in every fat person there is a skinny person trying to escape. I totally disagree. There is no skinny person inside of me, not any more. I regret that stick thin freak, all bone and sinew and muscle. I worked so hard to maintain my skinny figure and it gained me naught. Letting go was the most liberating feeling ever. With every cake, hot dog and takeaway I ate I could feel the pounds pile on and the happiness grow.

Of course, my grown up boys find it strange. All their young years I was the skinny naggy whiny mother who watched them eat but pushed her own food around the plate. I have replaced sarcasm with kindness and forced enjoyment with genuine pleasure. In this size obsessed world, I know they are embarrassed at my voluptuousness, well obesity if I am honest, but they like me more now. I don’t shout – how can I, my mouth is too often full of food! I don’t give out now – who am I to comment on how they lead their lives. And while they tolerate Roger, who is kind, I can send blushes of the deepest red to their faces if I mention our sex. Though why is it more embarrassing to think of their overweight mother doing it with Roger than to think of their father with his skinny wife number two, I don’t know.

I’d almost forgotten many things before I met Roger. He is a slim man and slightly shorter than me too. I am bigger than him lying down and standing up. He does not shout, or complain or give out or talk out. He is gentle but I worry sometimes if he is strong enough. If I fell, would he be able to heft me up? If I rolled over on him at night, might I suffocate him? This holiday is a real triumph of faith over fat. From squeezing into the airplane and walking up and down those rickety airline steps, to finding a swimsuit to fit (we didn’t) but I was not sure I wanted to swim anyway. I have threatened to go skinny dipping instead to the huge embarrassment of my boys and the side splitting laughter of Roger.  I may yet, when it is cooler, remove my tent-like top and skirt, and descend majestically, as a large ship moves with grace, and sail down the beach and into the water. If I tried this at dusk, no one would see me but Roger. It is early in the season and guests are rare on the beach.

I’d almost forgotten what it was like to feel the sand between my toes, but I’d never known what it was like to swim naked in the sea. Ah, there is a first time for everything, even for me.

 

© Jillian Godsil 2012