Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene

Archive for the ‘preparations’

One aftermath of Listowel Writers’ Week

June 03, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, events, organisers, participants, poet, preparations, starting up

There can be no one aftermath.

I sat upstairs in the English Market this afternoon, going back through my “Moleskine notebook (lined).

I used a green highlighting pen. Put names in hand-drawn boxes, and circles around intentions. Every time I carry through something I planned, I give myself a big tick (fulfilling my bottomless love of positive feedback).

I put the date on every page, the place I was, the time…

Now it looks like a live animal.

I’d forgotten how rich the notebook became during Writers’ Week. There are drawings and prose contributed by others – people willing to take up my book and mark the page.

I was incredibly excited going to Listowel.

I was incredibly tired leaving for home. The journey to and the road home are part of my LWW09 experience.

First Moleskine entry reads

Listowel Arms Hotel @ 1450 on Wed. 27 May.

  • Booked in to the hotel (put name on list) for 2010
  • The family manage the hotel between them.
  • Met George Rowley & James McGrath sitting in bar.
  • George’s story of mental illness [all in his book]
  • Met Colm Toibin, told him of blog – he listened, I shook his hand.

The last entry [43 pages, 4 days & 4 hours later] reads:

M Sweeney – reading with…

The End.

For me now, the challenge is to walk the space between being an archivist (valuing the Moleskine as a document of record) and an artist (stretching, moulding & sculpting the Moleskine, so that it reaches out to the imagination of others).

I’m a hoarder and long-winded. I talk&write and write&talk and sense&listen.

I wonder how others are processing the experience?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people who read this immediately write a comment & share insight into the joy of ending

- flashing on the inward eye… (pardon me William Wordsworth)

Imagining the conversation between Brian McMahon & J B Keane …

June 02, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: historical, Imagining, organisers, preparations, storytelling, theatrical plays

[In the bar of J B Keane’s pub, Listowel, Kerry, Ireland, winter 1969)

Brian: John?

J B : Yes Brian. Will you take one for the road?

Brian: Go on, hit me. I’ve been thinking John…

J B : I’m sorry for your trouble Brian. Is that head of your’s throbbing again?

Brian: John, we have no Hell’s Angels in Listowel, no Black Panthers either.

J B : Tis drawing Brian. I like to let it sit until the dark has settled in.

Brian: You pull a great pint for such a young man John, as we all know. But what are we putting back?

J B : Into the youth? Is it the futute of the young people or the ancients that you’re thinking of?

Brian: Tis time we put down a foundation John. We’ll not be here for long. As they say in Paris, the youth deserve the earth left to them cleansed with the best their writers can deliver from tombstones.

J B : No wonder your head’s aglow. I see light in those eyes.

Brian: Let’s see if we can gather a fair crowd John. A fair crowd in Listowel. And get them all talking, all exciting, all doing their own thing. Let’s see if we can show them the Kerry way to revolution. Words John, imagination from the soul, for the soul. with the soul. I have a dream John, that one day there’ll be a fair in Listowel, and twon’t be cattle starring and drovers selling. It’ll be girls and fellas driving their writing into new places. I have a dream John that’ll go out from this parish, watered by the streams of the hinterland. I dream John, therefore I am, in Listowel on a damp dark night.

J B : I’m with you. If you’re going on the long road, and putting in writers to this pub, so that we can listen, and fill the town with the music of stories, I’ll walk the road with you. We’ll have one for the road together.

Mary Keane: Yee better hurry up boys.

Brian: You’re right Mary, we better hurry up. John, I hear the twittering of birds, a face-book of voices, your tube of toothpaste refilled, even the inter-netting of artist’s from Listowel with the wanderers from abroad this parish.

J B : Jaysus, that’s virtually a feast.

Brian: Yes John, a feast for sore eyes. They’ll be up fierce late in Listowel that week. Let’s make a “writers’ week”, and make a meal of it.

J B : Be Jaysus Brian, you’re some dreamer for a teacher.

Mary Keane: Good night Brian, safe home.

Brian: Good night to you both.

J B : Tis indeed Brian.

Goodmorning from Lynch’s Bakery & Coffee Shop, downtown Listowel

May 29, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, organisers, preparations

At 1034, after excellent Americano and meeting of the ‘central committee’ for the project, I sit alone.

You are never alone. I have time for company. Space for thought. And fingers to tap.

By my side, my trusty Moleskine, the memory of living without internal memory. There are times I feel I’ve outsourced my memory to a little black pocked-sized book, the type used by Picasso & Bruce Chadwin.

What’s Listowel really like?

Blogging from Listowel Writers’ Week – live on opening night

May 27, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: preparations

I’m here and locked out of the main room.

No way in because the room is already full. Proceedings kick off at 8pm, over 30 minutes time.

There is a throng. A babble, not a rabble. I think many people have not been admitted to the ballroom of the hotel.

But I have a grand seat, in front of a TV screen, with audio speaker. I’m in an armchair. All the atmosphere is behind my back. Ah I see people going into another room off the lobby.

You get no privileges in Listowel. The organisers didn’t whisk me past the huge queue. They were prepared to sell me three tickets for the whole festival for 200 euros – not much of a discount given that you can buy 2 for 140 euros. But, who cares? We’re not looking for any favours.

I have photographs to put up but it would take me too long to post them to Flickr and then take them from there into the blog – so tomorrow morning I’ll enhance the wordy pieces with pictures.

There are flocks galore. Few bohemian types. I could do with a pint to keep me company because I sit alone in the lobby with people streaming past.

If there is anyone reading this on your iphone, please come up to me.

Lots of what I’d call young people…

Added later:

After the opening ceremony, there was music in the hotel lobby:

Testing – audio blogging

May 26, 2009 By: jeremy Category: audio podcast, preparations

Don’t panic. This is just another demonstration – embedding an audioboo file (a boo) into the blog.

How to attract an audience to your blog: key points from Listowel Writers’ Week blog

May 25, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, preparations, starting up

Here’s what to do:

(1) Publish content: first, you need to show your audience that you are serious & intend to sustain the enterprise.

(2) Decide on the quality of your content, and improve it every day.

(3) Make your blog easy to find: you need a ‘social networking expert for this.

(4) Send an email to everyone you know telling them about your blog.

(5) Set up a Facebook Group that supports your focus or cause.

(6) Add extra functionality to the blog behind the ‘front -end’ as you go along.

(7) Go to your local BNI networking meeting. Publicise your blog to the best networkers in the community: let them be your champions.

What other tips would you offer to someone who’s thinking about launching a new blog?

What’s it like in Listowel? 8.5 days to go…

May 19, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, journalism, organisers, preparations, Street drama, tutors

Yesterday I drove over from Glanmire.

Out the Mallow road, turned left around the sugar factory onto the R576 through Kanturk, Newmarket, Rockchapel, Kilkinlea and Abbeyfeale. By the R555 with rain all the way into Listowel.

I found parking in the square, 1 euro per hour (bring coins), and scampered for the warmth of the Listowel Arms Hotel.

In terms of Writers’ Week, it would be hard to exaggerate the significance of this hotel. It’s the nerve centre. Yesterday, there were people in the bar at 1130. I had Americano & scone with butter & jam. Kerry prices.

Wrote a few words in my Moleskine notebook:

Two women sit on the long seat. Five women and two men sit in a circle. One woman sits alone, her back to the corner. A couple of men sit at their own table. The carpet is brown. Fruit scone comes with Dawn butter from Kerry Foods, Industrial Estate, Tallagh. Robertson’s Strawberry jam in a plastic pack. The walls are chattering, sound re-bounding.”

Jeremy Gould and his son Thomas arrived for our first meeting.

I was excited and a bit nervous, hoping I wouldn’t put him off chucking in his skills to this project.

Together we ‘rappored’. Thomas played on dad’s Iphone. Jeremy may have emigrated to Listowel recently but he has years of visiting behind him and his wife’s people are Kerry.

We went visiting the festival office.

Moire Logue and Eilish joined us for lunch. We got on great.

Out into the rain with us next. We did the main streets, photographing venues,

Venues for Writers Week

Venues for Writers' Week

and even saw Billy Keane doing an interviewwalk with a man holding an RTE mic.

Billy Keane RTE interviewwalking

Billy Keane RTE interviewwalking

Monday is 1/2 day in Listowel. Brenda Woulfe wasn’t in when we called to the bookshop.

Festival Venue

Festival Venue

Left a message to say we’d called.

Saw a big crowd of schoolboys being escorted to John B Keane’s pub by their teacher.

Into the pub with your teacher

Into the pub with your teacher

Imagine that! No teacher ever took me to a pub.

Networking tools were discussed…

Lots of discussion about how to use all the social networking tools to best effect on this blog. I’m no technophile, but not a technophobe either. The thing I took away was the idea of putting a hashtag [#listww09] into Twitter tweets and Facebook updates. Maybe I should put them into blogposts too?

I remember how the sun shone in 2007, those glorious days at Writers’ Week. If yesterday is anything to go by, bring your wellies & brollies…

It was the search for broadband that made me nervious.

I have visions of writing stuff that gets lost because of systemfail. So I interviewed the receptionist in the hotel.

She showed me the only public place from which I could connect. When I went testing, my system crashed and I lost my post which I hadn’t saved. That’ll learn me. The walls of the ballroom are 4 feet thick, so no wireless signal there. We’ll need a ‘dongle’.

There are two internet cafes in town.

Community I.T. Access, 58 Church Street is open 9-5, Mon-Fri only: 3 euro per hour and he’d be prepared to negotiate a special daily rate. Lovely & warm, clean & tidy, more like an office than a cafe.

I have a photo of the other place which I’ll give details of later.

Internet cafe terms

Internet cafe terms

The thrill of the day was getting Mary Kenny’s piece and putting it up from Listowel…

It came by email. She kept her promise. It’s a lovely piece of writing. Hopefully we’ll have many more pieces from workshop leaders.

I’ll put photos up later.

A Rece in Listowel tomorrow

May 17, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: organisers, preparations, starting up

I’m driving over to Listowel on Monday.

The main reason is to meet up with a collaborator. But there are lots of other reasons to make the journey from Cork…

  • I’d like to check out the broadband coverage in Listowel
  • Sit in the bar of the Listowel Arms hotel
  • Visit Woulfe’s bookshop
  • Photograph all the Writers’ Week festival venues
  • Record a video interview and post it on the blog
  • Meet some of the organisers of the festival

If there’s anything you’d like me to do, let me know via a comment. I hope to pick it up when I land.

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