LETTERS FROM HOME…


There it was…lying unobtrusively on the mat.

Slightly damaged from the rainsoaked step and its hasty wrench from the postie’s bag.

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I was delighted, enthralled, and immediately taken back to the child I once was. The Irish postmark, the unfamiliar stamp, the Gaelic post office franking, ….managing to grab it from the jaws of my overzealous pooch and replace it with some worthless advertising flyer, I clutched it in one hand as I poured my first cup of morning caffiene – my writing fuel – with the free hand. Wondrously, I wondered what lay within as it was definitely thicker than simply a paper letter, and also more substantial than a mere early Christmas card.  Of course it wouldn’t be the well chosen rosary beads nan used to send me,  – irridescent hues of curved stone, beautifully encased in a small glass box; or the REAL shamrock I would receive on St Patricks day with a message written in a hand so like the one on the envelope today.

I felt ridiculously exhiliarated as I had not recieved any mail from ‘home’ in a very long time. I knew it was from my sister as I recognised the writing. I was wrong about which sister though.

How could she time it so perfectly? so beautifully apt and on cue?

In the early hours of this morning I had been lying awake – nothing new – thinking about my family. Thinking of her in particular and the last time we had met, 3 years ago now. A picture from 4 years previously had flashed up on the dreaded timeline and punched a paper hole in my stomach. She had visited me and my children then after the death of my father. Not her father. Her Uncle.

Seeing the picture so unexpectedly online alarmingly spewed forth a torrent of emotions I had held back again for some time. We all smile in the picture but you can taste the sadness of that great man leaving us around that time. I know she was doing her eldest sister duty and care to check on us all and it meant the world to me at the time. I have always been a little in awe of her and that doesn’t change because I’m now much older, if not any wiser.

Two years later, I took the same children to see her as a surprise for her 6oth birthday in Ireland. I remember how excited the kids were – despite being young adults now, and how really good it felt to go away as a family – although minus one – and visit family too. I remember seeing my beautiful sister, hardly ravaged by time and all the tragedies, enter the room and stunned, then breathless, then laughing, then crying as her grandchildren ran toward her and hugged her and her family and friends surrounded her.

I was so, so happy to be included in something so wonderful and for my children to witness it too.  I really felt AT home.

Last night my younger sister text me to say they had landed in Liverpool.

More tragedy.

A far less joyful homecoming.

My heart ached, as it has been since the event, aching for my family, my brother, his wife and beautiful twins. Aching for another loss. Another pointless tragic waste in our family tapestry. More lives and hearts torn apart, more parts of the tapestry of our family removed.

I also ached because I am not there. I am here. Because I feel I can’t be there.

Yet I can hear the echoes of my father’s voice telling me to stop wasting even more time.

Yet tomorrow I will think as much as I have been thinking all this time.

Tomorrow I will light a candle and I will sit in silence, Colin, and I – who never prays – will pray for your Soul.

And I will agree with all the platitudes, the cliches, the well wishing words of all.

That you are at peace now, that you are with your brother, so tragically lost exactly one year ago too, that you will be looked after by many of our family who went ahead of you and especially by your dad’s best friend, also lost the same time last year.

Yet my heart will break. For all I can see all these past weeks are my brother’s eyes.

His deep dark eyes already filled with pain and disbelief,  a head full of questions and whys and wherefores from last year’s heartbreaking events.

All I can feel, have felt, is his heartbreak, his strong determined will crumbling, his beliefs, if any left, chipped and ruined.

Not being able to be there. Not being able to comfort him and his family like they so lovingly did for me 4 years ago when I lost my dad. Not his dad.  Remembering words at the time that my father would like him to look out for me now.

But I haven’t looked out for you babe. I promise to try harder.

RIP Colin.

brown paper envelope on table

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My Freelance Life


Awake since the early hours – nothing new – and suddenly realising as I look ahead across my day – how truly freelance my entire Life has become!

Freelance writer

Freelance tutor

Freelance House Dweller

Freelance Mother

Freelance Lover

Freelance Daughter/sister/aunt.

Even a freelance dog owner!

I am reminded of Dido – My Life is for Rent – nothing I have is truly mine!

Yet how did I get here? Well, for once in my life it was by design not sheer fluke.

Halfway through NaNoWriMo – see my tentative start 2 weeks ago – and I am suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of the final 30,000 words I am committed to and also the epiphany after years of moodling over this novel that there are so many damn HOLES.

I always said it would be faction – fiction and fact combined, but now I am really understanding the depths of blending the line between the two. If I dress it up with speech and other fictional adornments will it remain true to the essence I wished for? If I do not use artistic licence I have already seen that it comes off dry and lacklustre. Yet it’s proving so very difficult to repaint a story I have known, have lived with all my life and now that I finally commit its truth to paper I find myself wishing I had opted for pure fiction. Which surprises me!

Perhaps its the picking open of old wounds, the smattering of emotions that I had not fully delved into like this, the deep hurt that is released when I am in my Character’s minds as past events unravel. The reality of their lives. The nerve of me to enter their world and dare to reinvent their sorrow. Almost like therapy, it is far harder than book one.  Yet book one was only possible because of book two. Its ok …at least I know what I mean. Book two caused the events of book one and yet although I solely own them I feel less ownership of the events that actually happened to me – to us ALL in book two.

I have written this blog post in two parts – 16th and now 24th – I have done very little writing between so am really not sure I will reach my goal. Holed up this entire weekend to push it along. I also went along to my 3rd writers club – a new one – on the 20th and it totally re-inspired me. I found myself writing on cue to the task provided in the club that night, along with 10 other writers, and managed to produce some work of which I am slightly proud. It also allowed me to integrate and externalize the sad events of the past two weeks – the internal feelings and thoughts manifested onto the page into a concrete being – and intriguingly the same thing that seemed to halt my writing reignited it.

Uncannily, the given theme of being underwater was exactly linked. Thus the inspirational tool I needed.

I hope all of you committed to NaNoWriMo this month are doing well – we CAN crack this!

 

Please check me and my writing progress out on instagram – YvieSheaHourihane

Happy Writing moments to you all!

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Getting Geared up for NaNoWriMo #octoprep


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So here I am, long aware that stencilled in my diary amidst work commitments and social promises is the NaNoWriMo start date of November 1st 2018

Earlier, flicking lazily through Instagram, I realise there is now a newly added diary entry of Octoberprep! Mmmm, methinks this did not exist and is also a rather naughty pre addition to what is supposed to be a full 30 days of writing to reach a set amount of words by the end of November. To the unintiated National Novel Writing Month in November gives one a kick up the rear end to get our acts in gear and get writing and finishing that novel. While I want to lament that its unfair to prep a novel you should write in only 30 days…I have to confess my copious notes and character visualisations, my endless plotting and structuring, my playing with various beginnings but I hasten to add, not endings – is surely of the same ilk?

Yet I began years ago I counter in my defence….ah, therein lies the rub. The long awaited novel gets dusted off but its premises and original plot rejuvenated ready for The Big Write. My aspirations then to sit languorously at a neat desk – or was it neatly at a languorous desk – to bang out, churn out, spurn out, force out, 3000 words a day may in fact materialise after all.

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The main planning of course needs to be the desperately required endless cups of coffee, and simultaneously someone with endless patience to keep providing them to my hunched. oblivious to reality figure, to fuel and oil my ceaseless thoughts, stroke or should that be stoke? my brain into further creativity.

Publishing my short story in April with 2 more to add to the trilogy plus a small volume of poetry, entering a local competition and attending to my other blogs makes me sound prolific. Sadly untrue. Those were the culmination of thoughts etched into ink long ago and then botched together when it finally hit me I could indeed selfpublish and that my long held notes and ideas did indeed actually have a structure to slot into. A structure that had eluded me for many years, yet once I stopped thinking too hard appeared to me confident in its knowledge it would work.

The novel is a whole other Entity. It breathes of its own accord and haunts me in shadows, beset by memories and indecision, shrouded in mystery and a very opaque ending preceded by a long drawn out journey.

Lets hope it can breathe Life into itself over November.

Good luck to all else involved!

 

Note to self@2.am the following morning ….its actually called Preptober ….oops 🙂

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Social, social, personal, essential.


Realising you have not written a SINGLE syllable since May!

 

I knew I had been AWOL but not THAT long! I can give myself a litany of excuses – work to earn a crust – you know the REAL work you have to do – family – travel – ya di ya di ya….but seriously all I know I have really done is avoid the written word and in the process denied my very Soul again!

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So many avenues to pursue and so keen to build up my readers – reading tonight on how to improve that I feel I have done almost all the tips to date.  I read avidly on here and follow any that take my breath away or inspire or excite. I realise publishing sporadically is not helping my cause and passion. Oh, to write daily at a neat little desk, within a proscribed time and fulfill the need without Life intervening. But…that is just not ME! This 2am sprint with laptop propped on my duvet and legs akimbo, while relishing the total  uninterrupted silence that only the dead of night can provide – Yep that’s me!

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While I neglect one blog, I nurture or even create another! While I am obsessed with too many accounts on Insta I leave Twitter sobbing for attention. Dalliances with Pinterest suffice for short bursts and please do not even investigate the myriad of work accounts I NEED to update…Linked In, et al.  Perhaps therein lies my flaw….too many, too scattered, too disparate?

Yet all were born – even the ones still left to germinate and blossom forth – from a long held ambition, nay, a dream – to house all my pandora’s box of ideas and interests in one unit, one space, one building. If not physically and tangibly then why not within the pages of a website/blog from the realms of my chaotic mind. A vestibule of virtuality for each, a window to glance in and share, a compartment for other thoughts. If The Seanachai can never be my cherished coffee spot/bookshop with space for spiritual workshops, education, book signings, tarot, self help, writers and booklovers meetings and travel talks then why not host a virtual rendezvous.

There is so much more to do, to add, to combine. Not least to learn how to emulate the glossy pages and technical naunces of some amazing pages I have visited and coveted only tonight! Mostly to adorn these pages with my many and diverse interests and ideas. A place for me to go, to sojourn and loiter.

Should any of you join me regularly, so much the better.

My virtual coffee shop door will always remain welcoming and ajar….

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Heal Your Life


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A good weekend spent with a lovely friend – who gave me a timely reminder of the book

title above.  Having not read my copy for some considerable time I have now unearthed it once more and realising its truth yet again.

Suffering from severe throat and larynx problems for years I remind myself that trying to heal is a conscious decision that you WILL be heard, that your symptoms can only be allayed by refusing to stay mute, to be silenced. Yes, the chart that lists your particular ailment and offers an affirmation to overcome it and a diagnosis of the reasons your body has manifested your mind via some physical outcome is an analogy.

Yet it still rings true. And after months of being perfectly fine the last few weeks have now cancelled out my self remedies and my hoarse, unworkable, inflexible and very painful larynx issues have resurfaced.

With a vengeance.

So thank you, Louise Hay, for revisiting me with your wisdom.

I am well aware of my need to escape the last few weeks, of my need to suppress my true thoughts, of my shock at events thus rendering me speechless again, at the chaos of my tangled thoughts affecting my sense of Self and in turn my speech ability.

The tool of my trade once again tarnished.

A few months ago I asked you to visit me again after A Visit From Mother.

Little did I know a revisit would be so sharp, so vivid, so real and so shocking.

The lady I described in March had my full compassion and willingness to understand.

The lady in ICU the last few weeks had my entire attention and dismay, hurt and anger, pain and disbelief.

How and why could someone still so active and vivacious be here, inert, slipping away in her clinical bed before our very eyes?

When had her health dissapated before us without any of us realising how frail and weak she had become?

Because she is The Matriarch. She always has been. She holds it all, us all, together. What a sharp poignant reminder we have all had of that fact.

The toneless doctor, advising us, Well she IS 81… we can do no more…..

Seeing the effects of days of drugs, seeing her incoherent and out of control was surreal in itself. Always controlled, and very much presentable, who was this wild eyed woman in this bed, vulnerable and susceptible to the hands of the medical staff…or God.

And I havent talked about God in a very, very long while indeed.

So it hits me, all of us, as it did last year when she lost her partner, did this year for me when this lone version of her visited me in March, and does now with a full, staggering impact that just will not subside. We cannot lose her yet.

Did she hear us? Did she know?

Refusing to sleep again, so afraid of sinking back into the deep oblivion of her recent coma state that lost her weeks of Life, and purged her memory. Sitting beside her day after long day until she awoke, a different woman who ‘fell asleep’, talking to her, reassuring her. Staying beside the ward in a kindly proffered room and ladelling full respect onto the ICU staff who fought tirelessly to save her.

Save her they did. Yet more than that.

This strong, sassy, elegant woman saved herself. Her strength of Spirit shone through. After her ‘condemning’ the doctor in question avoided our eyes, our questions as this amazing woman astounded all by pulling slowly but very surely through. Laughter at her demands, her jokes, her admissions of hating lying so still and resting despite her trauma – the staff grew to love her on the ward and were sad to see her go when, finally and thankfully, she was deemed well enough to leave ICU five weeks on and join the respiratory or heart ward.

And now, in the blink of an eye she is home! I have lost most of the end of the summer and all of September into mid October. Yet she is home. Not listening to a word of our advice, finding it impossible to rest or sit still, but deeply aware that she must. All this exactly one year on from losing her dear partner. It would have been so easy to have given up, given in, to have turned away from a life now lonely, days now long, hopes and plans now dashed.

Her family. She tells me her children, our children – her grandchildren and her great grandchildren have begged her to stay. In their hearts, minds, souls. So much life, love and laughter left in her yet. So many more memories to make.

Welcome home strong, sassy, indomitable Mother.

 

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