Monday, June 15, 2009

Force 12 Report & 'Ordinary Miracle Roadshow Tour'

I am back in Achill after a fabulous weekend at The Force 12 Writers festival in Belmullet. The weekend seems to go from strength to strength. It was very smoothly and professionally directed by Pat Cotter. I enjoyed all the readings of participating writers which were of a very high standard and are a credit to the country. I attended two excellent workshops; the first a poetry workshop with poet, Paula Meehan - excellent! And a Short Story workshop with Clare Wigfall which was very inspirational. Both ran excellent sessions and made us work to produce material that we can now work on further.
I was very impressed by Billy Ramsell's reading - a performance poet to watch! Also, it was fabulous to meet, and hear, the reading of Theo Dorgan - such a friendly, approachable writer who is a credit to his profession; he is also a good sailor: I snapped up his collection of poetry 'What this Earth Cost Us' which compiles the poems of his first two out of print collections at a bargain price of 12 euros. His inscription for me was - 'For Mark, in anticipation of the new work, with all good wishes, Theo.' What a lovely guy.
Mayo poet, John Corless, launched his first poetry collection at teach John Joe's on the Mullet peninsula. His reading was hilarious, full of wit and satire with a practised delivery that was faultless. I wish him every success. he has certainly earned it. John is a very friendly and approachable guy, as well.
In addition, I met a very nice, very creative, man who is currently exhibiting paintings at Aras Inis Gluaire Arts Centre in Belmullet. I suppose 'multi-talented artist', or 'creative genius', might be the most accurate way of describing Michael (Mike) Absalom. As well as the fabulous exhibition of his current abstract paintings, I was impressed when he read his poetry - Mike has had a long and varied career as an artist including Performance Poetry, and the best I can do is to direct you to his website so that you can appreciate his enormous multi-medium talents for yourself. I hope to see him in Achill, shortly.
I stayed at The Sea Rod Inn at Doohoma; somewhere I had not visited before but was recommended to me. It is owned and run by Mick and Bernie. I was very well looked after and would recommend a stay for anyone travelling in that area of County Mayo. It's a nice quiet spot overlooking the beautiful waters of Blacksod Bay with views to the mountains of Achill island. What more could you want. I could almost see my house across the water. Ahhh...
There was a rake of friends there at the Festival and we all caught up on each others news and views, and a good time was had by all; especially with all the fabulous food we were plied with for free, courtesy of Mayo County Council. How do they do it? Wild salmon; crabs claws; prawns; strawberry pavlova; apple pie; curry and chips, ... as much as you can eat - tables overflowing with fine cuisine. Fair play to them; if they ever need to make a small charge I shan't complain.
And so it is that I am now preparing for my next venue reading on 'The Ordinary Miracle Roadshow Tour' which, through this Summer, will take me to most of the libraries in County Mayo. I intend to thoroughly enjoy myself, and look forward to meeting some of you. My next reading will take place at 8pm this Friday, 19th June, at Ballina library, here in County Mayo.
Next week I am reading closer to home, at Achill Sound library on Achill island, at 8pm on Wednesday, 24th June. Hoping to see some of you on the tour.
The Italian Lonely Planet On-Line guide to Achill Island, and, kindly requested to use some of my images. I was very pleased to be asked. I shall do everything I can to go on promoting this beautiful part of Ireland in both images and verse.
So, all in all, it has been a great week, and I look forward to a nice drive on Friday up through that lovely country by Pontoon,Lough Conn and Lough Cullin; and on up to Killala to call on a good friend of mine before my reading at Ballina library.
A huge thanks again to all the staff at the Arts Office at Mayo County Council, Castlebar, for organising an excellent festival.
Oh, I almost forgot - the photo is called 'Bronze'.
Have a good week.

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