I like mud and rain and sand and sun.
I like cats and birds; I’d rather walk than run.
I prefer slow to fast; solitude to crowds,
natural to man-made; quiet to loud.
I prefer to go to bed early, than stay up late.
I like to close my eyes, dream, create.
Am I so very different? Because it seems to me,
that I threaten people and they run from me
or they want an apology, as if I am wrong
when perhaps it is that they’re all ducks and I am a swan.
Nóra Skehan 2016
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I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve,
It’s not a bad thing, I believe.
If I don’t show it, no one will see
how much there is to little old me.
I’m not all good, I’m not all bad,
I’m not always happy, I’m sometimes sad,
I’m often funny, I love to laugh,
I’m quite sensitive, sometimes I’m daft.
Sometimes I’m strong, and brave and bold.
Sometimes I’m weak, afraid and cold.
Sometimes I’m wooden, sometimes I’m stone,
I love company, I also love being alone.
A queen, a saint, a devil it’s true,
a sinner, a healer, wounded too.
I’m big, I’m messy, I’m tiny, I’m neat
and I bang my drum to my own beat.
Nóra Skehan – 2016.
Turning pottery into poetry . . .
I’ve been immersing myself in children’s books as I am polishing my own children’s fantasy: Bally Rua (Red Town) and I though I’d post a mini review in case anyone is looking for stocking filler ideas.
They’re not new but they’re new to me!
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Well, first of all it was a surprise to me that Skulduggery Pleasant is a character and not the street where this fantasy takes place –Eek! (What am I like?!)
He’s the one on the front cover. And he’s the good guy!
Irish writer Derek Landy, pens this hilarious well-written adventure about an ordinary girl who gets plunged into an extraordinary life. Good guys and bad guys fight magical wars throughout the streets of Dublin right under our very noses.
I want the rest of them for Christmas!!
Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
Another hilarious and well-written novel in which a young boy discovers that his cabbage eating, farting granny, is no way the boring fuddy duddy he thinks.
The Demon Notebook by Erica McGann
Terrific story where a group of young teenage girls have their wishes granted only to find that’s not quite what they wanted.
Be careful what you wish for . . .
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
An extraordinary book which I can’t recommend enough.
Nobody Owens sees dead people – Oh, I couldn’t wait to use that line! – but that’s its only similarity to Sixth Sense.
Nobody’s story is told over a period of 15 years, as he is raised by ghosts in a graveyard after the murder of his family. I know it sounds creepy, freaky, not a children’s story – but trust me!
It’s a story about growing up, love and the true meaning of family.
Having had a year where I have never worked as hard and reading was for the purpose of studying technique and style, I had very little time for pure pleasure reading and so I was so looking forward to my holidays where all my reading was going to be just that.
I picked my favourite writers – they feel like my best friends, although I have only had the honour of meeting Sir Terry Pratchett in person, oh he is so sorely missed.
Anyway I decided to do a mini review of my holiday reads for fun and it goes without saying that I absolutely recommend them all.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is a master story teller and this is no exception. A fantasy horror reminiscent of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – another master story teller.
A middle aged man revisits a neighbours farm when he returns home for a funeral and remembers the sinister fantastical events that he has somehow forgotten that took place over 40 years ago.
Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Genre : Fiction
Set in Dickensian London – this is not a Discworld novel. Dodger is a tosher – that is he makes his living combing the sewers for what people lose. One stormy night Dodger rescues a young woman from an attack by two thugs and his whole world is turned upside down.
Written in Pratchett’s inimitable magical style, the story weaves historical fact and characters with fiction. It is a tale full of wit, intelligence and heart.
The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride
Genre : Crime / Police Procedural
Another wonderful novel with the hard working and very unfortunate Detective Logan MacRae. Set in Scotland, this series is gritty, witty, realistic and full of heart.
A dead body, a missing drug dealer, a sergeant with a broken leg, and so Logan’s day begins with a double shift and it doesn’t get any better. There are chuckles and cringes galore with characters you will love or love to hate.
Well, I’m at the tweaking, polishing and perfecting stage of my thesis. It’s pleasure and pain in equal doses, having to go back over it again and again and again and again. Then I hit on a minor adjustment and bingo, I’ve got it!
As Mark says about his wood carving, it’s 60% carving, 40% sanding and polishing. I think writing is the same!
I was horrified to see how many times I use the word ‘but,’ so I’ve been trawling through my novel interspersing howevers and althoughs, shooting adverbs and trying to stop my characters from grinning all the time. They grin so much!! Ah, the pleasure and the pain. Soon I will be off on my summer holidays (yippee) and I hope I will have little to do to finalise when I get home except for getting my thesis bound and then begin the terrifying job of contacting potential publishers.
Eeeeeeee . . . . .
I am in the process of editing my novel. It’s “finished” and now I’m on the polishing and perfecting and self doubting stage! Everyone goes through it, examining each sentence, trying to make it the best possible most beautifully crafted sentence that flows and inspires – and fearing that you’ve failed miserably!!
So today I decided to do something different; a little goal visualisation. I designed my book cover just for fun to see what it would feel like to see my name in print. I’m not a computer techie so it’s rough but it feels good all the same . . .
It’s another beautiful day out there. It was 25 degrees Celsius at 8.30 this morning! If the clouds burn off it will be a scorcher.
It reminds me of a poem I wrote last year when we were on holidays in Cornwall.
The Perfect Day
Sitting on a cliff in Cornwall,
the suns searing heat
is tamed by the kiss
of a gentle breeze
and the sea’s hypnotic shushing,
“it’s okay, you’re okay,
everything is okay
in the world,
The grasshoppers are not busy,
they rattle an occasional ‘cha-cha’
just to let me know they are there.
white, pale blue, red admirals
alight gently on wild flowers
and dance and chase each other.
There are few seagulls here,
I miss their exuberant cry,
head back, gullet vibrating,
they release their Tarzan’s explosion,
joyously declaring their passion for life.
Nature’s town criers
shattering the peace
“All is quiet! All is quiet!”
A bird of prey hangs impossibly suspended,
in the blue sky.
She beats not a wing,
trusting the wind to hold her,
as she focuses all of her concentration,
on a potential meal.
Let me never come back as something small and furry
that I might have to fear her gaze.
She swoops and plummets to a sudden stop,
I quell the urge to cry out.
Again she hangs suspended,
in the air,
the wind occasionally ruffling her feathers.
Closer to dinner now,
her attention is on one single spot, unwavering.
Then again she swoops and drops out of view,
to reemerge on the other side of the cliff,
Dinner escaped or was rejected as too scanty
and my falcon has flown away.
She leaves me, awaiting her return.
The white waves break and roll to shore.
50 surfers try to tame them,
the bravest swimming farther and farther out,
to catch the longest, sweetest ride.
But it’s not Australia.
Wetsuit clad and buoyant surf withstanding,
I still fret for their safety,
though there is a lifeguard.
A gay painter has swept his brush
artistically here and there
to give character
to a clear sky.
And over there, three headlands away,
a cotton wool fluff.
A generous sprinkle of diamonds
adorn the waves
before they break to white foam.
The squeals of delight or shock
from the young surfers
are sufficiently far away from me
on this perfect day
on my bench
erected here on this beautiful cliff
to the memory of Rita and George Wright.
Copyright Nóra Skehan 2014
Okay, so today, on this very beautiful day, my website is going live! Whispering its way into the world. Let’s hope the weather is a good omen.
The sky is clear blue, not a single cloud. There is a breeze – just to keep cool, so it’s hot and cool and the same time, just what you want in a website!! And I shall strive to achieve that. I’m still learning, still wearing my L plates and stabilisers!!
Here I go . . . . oooooooohhhh