Bandon is again hosting its Arts festival this weekend - 4 years in a row.
I had toyed with the idea of going to the Short story workshop with Phillip
O'Ceallaigh (Rooney Prize winner).
Its described as 'explore the different ways a story can be written up,
examine how it finds its form,
how it might be cut,
or how the narrative can be approached from a more fertile angle' and then
I thought to myself this could be really exciting.
Cost of the workshop €30 from 10am to 1pm.
Not so expensive if it delivers on all it promises -
HOWEVER (and this was the first thing that stopped me)
participants in the workshop are expected to bring a copy of
'Sharp sticks, driven nails' edited by POC and 'the pleasant light of day'
POC's last collection of stories.
Hmmmmmm. Nothing wrong with a bit of self promotion but COME ON!
These two books come together for the princely sum of €20.
Total cost of the workshop to me €50.
In other word beyond my price range.
Then I read a review of his last collection of short stories 'notes from a
turkish whore house'.
The reviewer said POC never misses an opportunity to point out the
bleakness of life even in nature the birds in the trees aren't just having
the odd squawk or battle over territory they are raping one another (this
is not the exact quote but you get the drift).
At this point I thought 'Wait a minute, hold the fort, was I going to pay
€50 to be told how bad things are really if only I would open my eyes and
No way Jose!
Then the fair and reasonable side of my brain got in on the act and said maybe this review you read is written by some sad and mean old hag and you should actually take the time to read some of this man's work yourself. So I did. I read 'My secret War' and its bleak and sparse and scary as a story. As a piece of writing its clear precise talented etc.
I'll go see some of the many other good things on offer this weekend.
And I'll write about them here and see what you think.
But I am disappointed that the workshop didn't work out. Phillip O'Ceallaig is a talented writer No one is arguing that.
I want my writing to help people escape the mundane drabness of reality not highlight it and drive it home with a six inch nail through their heads.