Month: October 2014

How The Irish Invented Hallowe’en

An interesting read for Halloween!

Evie Gaughan

medium_8109508047  Of course Hallowe’en was invented by the Irish.  We are the finest purveyors of myth, magic and skullduggery on the planet, so when it comes to a festival full of trickery and mischief, you can bet we were behind it.

Samhain, as it is referred to as gaeilge (loosely translated as the end of summer), is like a Celtic New Years Eve, celebrating the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one.  Traditionally, it was a time to celebrate the harvest and come together for a big hooley (as we say here).  All the hard agricultural work was done and now it was time to literally enjoy the fruits of everyone’s hard labour.  Large fires were lit as a symbol of light during the coming darkness, and every hearth had to be extinguished on that day and re-lit from the flames of the bonfire.

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It’s alright not to feel ok

Inspirational writing from an inspirational woman!

Evie Gaughan

To mark World Mental Health Day, I am releasing a revised eBookProne to Panic cover

edition of my non-fiction title, Prone To Panic.

It all began back in 2005 when I published my book with iUniverse.  Scratch that.  It all began in 2002 when I started experiencing panic attacks and my life took some weird and wonderful turns that inspired me to follow my dreams and write a book.  I felt passionate about sharing my experiences and trying to help other people who found themselves in a similar situation, so I gathered all of the advice, knowledge and tips that I had accumulated over the years and wrote Prone To Panic.

I have since gone on to become a full-time writer and published two novels, The Cross Of Santiago and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.  When I was recently given the opportunity to regain the distribution rights for the…

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WestWords Perfect Pair 03.10.2014

Some autumnal verse today with poet Elizabeth Jennings. Born in Boston in 1926, Jennings is known for her lyric poetry, through which she explores suffering, relationships, loneliness and religious faith. Her devotion to poetry yielded over twenty books during her life. The nostalgia of the season here in:

By Elizabeth Jennings

Now watch this autumn that arrives
In smells. All looks like summer still;
Colours are quite unchanged, the air
On green and white serenely thrives.
Heavy the trees with growth and full
The fields. Flowers flourish everywhere.

Proust who collected time within
A child’s cake would understand
The ambiguity of this –
Summer still raging while a thin
Column of smoke stirs from the land
Proving that autumn gropes for us.

But every season is a kind
Of rich nostalgia. We give names –
Autumn and summer, winter, spring –
As though to unfasten from the mind
Our moods and give them outward forms.
We want the certain, solid thing.

But I am carried back against
My will into a childhood where
Autumn is bonfires, marble, smoke;
I lean against my window fenced
From evocations in the air.
When I said autumn, autumn broke.

National Poetry Day UK 02.10.2014 #thinkofapoem

National Poetry Day(UK) #thinkofapoem – In memory of my darling Keema who loved poetry, classical music, the sea, forests, rivers, running through dry leaves and after squeeky balls, eating snow, stones and sausages (but not banana’s) and who sadly passed away two weeks ago on the 18th September, just after her 13th birthday. I miss her.

By Pablo Neruda
(trans. By Alfred Yankauer)

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.
Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.
Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.
No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.
Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.
Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.
There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.
So now he’s gone and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.

WestWords Perfect Pair 01.10.2014

Popular Scottish poet Norman MacCaig was born in Edinburgh in 1910 and divided his time between the city and the Scottish highlands. He spent much of his life as a primary-school teacher and became a reader in poetry in 1970, at the University of Stirling. He published his first poetry collection, Far Cry, in 1943, followed by The Inward Eye in 1946 and Riding Lights in 1955. He was awarded the Queens Gold Medal For Poetry in 1985. MacCaig’s work was notably humorous and although he never lost this, much of his very late work, following the death of his wife in 1990, is more sombre in tone. For anyone who has lost someone here is:

By Norman MacCaig

Everywhere she dies. Everywhere I go she dies.
No sunrise, no city square, no lurking beautiful mountain
but has her death in it.
The silence of her dying sounds through
the carousel of language, it’s a web
on which laughter stitches itself. How can my hand
clasp another’s when between them
is that thick death, that intolerable distance?

She grieves for my grief. Dying, she tells me
that bird dives from the sun, that fish
leaps into it. No crocus is carved more gently
than the way her dying
shapes my mind. But I hear, too,
the other words, black words that make the sound
of soundlessness, that name the nowhere
she is continuously going into.
Ever since she died
she can’t stop dying. She makes me
her elegy. I am a walking masterpiece,
a true fiction
of the ugliness of death.
I am her sad music.