O’Connell Street.

Parked at the Lilac Centre. No point fucking around with all that weird on street parking shit. Always that feeling that there’s some fat clamper hiding behind a tree waiting for you to park one inch too far across his imaginary line, and he won’t let you go for any less than a month’s rent. Did a fast u-turn at the Dealz and spun towards the car park fast. Stopped to let a blind man cross at the entrance and then got the ticket and drove up two flights and parked between a Range Rover and a Merc. Good company for the 1.4 Petrol from Mayo, with the Galway registration and 300 thousand miles on her 15 year old engine. Went for the lifts, burnt the floor number into my head, floor one, floor one, cos I knew I’d forget it later and spend half the day wandering around the wrong level suspecting car theft and awkward phone calls to guards and a haype of forms to fill out and no way home.

Emerged at Cassidy travel, people everywhere, souls purgatorial drifting through the commercial river. There was a place selling a can of coke and a pizza for 6 something but I kept going. Out onto Parnell Street, passed Chapters and around by O’Connell Street. People like lost stars in the cosmos, floating around, waiting for buses, people, something. Spotted an all you can eat buffet for 12.99 and made a mental note to attack it later. Passed out the GPO where Liam Neeson tried to blow it up one time and decided to go to Easons. Haven’t darkened their door for about 20 years. They take over 52% from the price of a book just to stock it on their walls so I was in a sorta boycott mode. Then again, I could be missing something crucial, some access to great literature unavailable anywhere else. I had an image of a warm shop, with some kind of government chairs where you could read, research, enjoy the smell of papyrus and dear coffee from an overpriced machine.

There was a woman smoking on the steps on the way in, white shirt, black leather pants, curly raven hair, maybe some picture of a film she saw one time and here she is now living it out in the big city. The doors came back with a cheap whoosh and I was in, underwhelmed and confused. Where’s all the big shtuff ambience? Isn’t this the flagship store? More like just another newsagent that sold books in fancy shelves. Not too sure where the 52% was going. Asked the security guard was I in the right one. He told me there was two more. One on Nasaau Street and another on St. Stephen’s Green. “But this is the biggest one…”


Gave it another whirl around and said fuck this. Back to the Chinese. It was busy with gluttons trying to look fancy, like they had culinary taste and experience, but they really just wanted the brown shlop with a fistful of chips and the ignorant fried rice. I paid your wan and got a plate and stocked up.Not sure what kinda mongrels they were cooking but twas dire stuff and I ate anyway. Nearly time to get the car now aswell. What floor did I say again…1 or 2…..?

Notes on Rejection.

Rejection of your writing is the the best thing that can happen. It says you’re doing something correct. Something right. When people reject something they are afraid of it. They don’t know what it is, they don’t understand what it’s about, and they don’t have the courage to follow through and find out. The majority of publishers/agents want a sure thing. They want something perfect, relevant to the current market, something that will sell, has been unseen and has come from a compliant, malleable writer. They want to make money. They’d like to see your book stacked alongside thousands of bookshelves in bookshops all over the country – and know they are getting 40 percent of each copy sold. Sleeping well in their beds in the sure knowledge that they will never break new ground, never write an original line, never have a reader sit on the edge of their seat or be devastated with fictional heartbreak. They know, deep down, that they are not creative people but have something else – they have the audacity to exploit those that do create. Somewhere along the line it became acceptable for writers to be regarded as quirky, anti-profit, scatterbrained losers that are looking for somebody organised and trustworthy to come and do all the business for them. Writers then began to buy into this idea and became dependent on the publishing industry to dictate their success or lack of it. We now have a situation where the status quo of traditional publishers is to be a bouncer at the creative door where only the mundane is let in – because that’s what sells. We can’t have the pubic confused. We can’t have the public excited. We must tell them what they already know. Add credence to the reality that already exists. There is no room for new boundaries, to bend language or test genre. No, that doesn’t sell, they say. It won’t sell, they say. It’s not the business we’re in, they say. And you are rejected because you are different, and you have something to say, and somebody ought to be hearing it. But you think the only way forward is blocked and their opinion has shot your confidence down and now the world is an artistically poorer place. Because you were rejected. But what you don’t realise is that rejection is acceptance. You are pushing the boundaries and they don’t know what to do. How to respond. What to say. They can’t handle you and they’re worried about their forty percent. If it wasn’t books they’re selling it would be something else – cars, food, computers. Doesn’t matter because they don’t care. It’s all a sale to them. A profit and a loss. That’s why they are confounded now. You are an unknown quantity. What will the bookshops say? The reviewers? The printers? Oh no, no thanks. But you are not for sale. You are not malleable. And you don’t have a choice. You are a vessel to the truth the world needs to hear.

Notes on dialogue.

Some nights, as the writer’s about to go to sleep, she hears a voice. Something random. A snippet, a tannoy announcement, a passing comment, an opinion from a radio presenter. It invades her thoughts loudly, briefly and unannounced and is then gone. As time goes on, the voices become more frequent. More direct. They form sentences. People she doesn’t recognise. At first it’s one, then two, then three people are talking. Conversing. Sometimes arguing. They don’t wait until night anymore. It’s day time now. At work, on the bus, in the car, walking down the street. They’re shouting to be heard. They have opinions on politics, culture, society. They have a past, desires, regrets and hopes. They have fears and wonders. She feels it all. The empathy. As they talk amongst themselves about that accident, that illness, that day their kids were born she listens, eavesdropping in her own mind, feeling the joy, and heartbreak and concern. On social occasions she suffers from disassociation, a low throb, apparent deafness. People talk and say things. They make comments, ask questions, probe her about her life but she can’t properly hear them. The plates clatter, but from a dulled distance. The lights are bright, but obscured by grey noise. Everything she touches feels like rubber. The words people say are proper words but don’t make proper sense. She can’t filter, assimilate the information, she can’t engage because she has the conversations going. And going. And going. At first, it’s a concern. A mental illness? A brain issue? But she doesn’t think so. It’s something else. Because it has a burn attached. A physical urge to do something with the information, the stories, the tales, the fascinating lives. It’s a delicious secret in some ways. This other world, these other people, this other universe where strangers meet to exorcise, to explore, to vent, pontificate, relieve the burden of their conscience. And then one day it’s too much, too loud, there is no room to think, no space to talk, no chance of work. She must do something, address this crowd and see what it is they want. And it soon becomes obvious. They want to be recorded, to be listened to and written down. To be put into context and order. They want their lives to have a meaning, a story to be told, a chapter of their existence allowed into the physical world. She begins with a line. The first line she hears. It seems the best place to start. As the room goes silent and the white noise of reality is blocked out she listens, and she hears it, and records.

*