For the 14th issue of Critical Bastards, in which contributors were asked to respond to the theme of 'hope', I wrote a short, image-driven prose piece that considers hope as dystopian ideology. Editor: Deborah Madden, Contributors: Donncha Donn Mac Cóil Frank Halsall Emma Haugh Barbara Knezevic Ingrid Lyons Fiona Ní Mhaoilir Julie Morrissy Fintan Neylan Jennie Taylor Frank Wasser A list of stockists is available here..
My audio piece disjointed star is included in issue 13 of Critical Bastards. Contributors were asked to respond to the concept of WORK, issues of creativity in everyday living and the usefulness of art, which were raised by 'A Fair Land', a public project in August 2016 in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Contributors: James Merrigan, Fiona Gannon, Renee Helena Browne, Rebecca Dunne & Eoghan McIntrye, Christodoulos Makris, Jonathan Mayhew, Michelle Hall, and Sue Rainsford..
My specially commissioned text "Slip" has been printed in The Fold's beautiful ninth issue. This issue was printed in conjunction with Rosebud, an exhibition at The Library Project, Dublin (Jan 2016). Curated by Alison Pilkington and Cora Cummins, the exhibition focused on notions of the personal and political manifesto and the power of the printed word..
Ada A-da How did he decide on such a name? Abrupt, but leaving its lilt in the air. And the mouth, in its aftermath, tugged at the corners. When spoken in anger it can cause a jerking in the neck. Other times the mouth hardly moves but its roof receives a quick, fleeting tap with the tip of the tongue, in that moment is careful and deft as a cat’s tail. Why this name, this sliding together of consonant particles? Of course, it may not be mine alone. I’m sure there are other girls, elsewhere, who turn upon hearing it called. Had I sharper memories of my time in the ground I might recall his voice come coursing toward me, through the loam, teaching me my name. In describing the summers here, with July grown thick in its middle, I rely on the sweetness of untended grass and the flat, even distribution of sunshine. I rely on, as inventory, the lemon light being cast on the garden’s back wall with a harshness that sees the shadows of the trees cast dark and deep. Yes, in summer’s height the shadows are as solid and alive as the bodies that throw them. I have come outside, into the morning heat. Latent in the air is the promise of tang and burn. I have come outside to warm my feet on the patio stones and to consider the drainpipe in the garden. It is a gullied, gutted hole. Nearby the lavender, grown in a heap, has had its scent worn away. I am fearful of the drain. I am fearful because no matter how long and dry the summer, on occasion a slug will emerge and creep on its snake-belly around the patio and seek entry into the house. I have hated slugs since I was a child. Once, when still very young, I rubbed one to ... Read more ».
When I was younger I was in the habit of buying very old and tattered books I knew I'd never read. I bought them because I liked the way they looked, and because the older they were the softer the binding was, and the more strongly the pages smelled of damp. I suppose I thought I was obtaining an object that had already been 'intellectualised', or already made romantic. Last March, I had to look up the word 'aporetic', and when I saw the definition I thought it a fairly lovely word for a fairly unpleasant thing. So I began writing a short piece called Aporia's Circle, a piece about a girl whose illiterate mother gives her a beautiful sounding name and whose life is marked by a contradiction: she loves her brother, who taught her how to read, all the more for his absence. When Emer and Tracy asked me to take part in this year's Foaming at the Mouth, I thought Aporia's Circle would work: it's a short piece driven by images, and it incorporates much of my research around erasure and textuality. But how to perform it, rather than read it? I thought about illustrations, about bringing with me a shelf's worth of books referenced in the story and whose presence would in some way see its content manifest. As an exercise, I decided to make an erasure work of a book I'd bought in Donegal in 2004. I'd never done this with a piece of writing other than my own, and was surprised as I went through the pages -- not reading them, but selecting words that struck me -- how readily the theme of Aporia's Circle presented itself: someone teaches a child how to read, and it changes the child's life. When I looked up the title of the book and saw that this was indeed its story, ... Read more ».
I'm delighted to be featured in this gorgeous screen-printed publication. The flash fiction piece, entitled August, is a localised exploration of the life of the mind and is set in my grandmother's garden. http://poddlepublications.com/.
This piece was originally published in issue 8 of Occupy Paper. My skin starts boiling early in the day. It has a hot, thumb pressing texture to it and makes me think of closed eyes and quick breaths and lemon juice. Things made stringent, made for healing. I have only a short time to write something down – there is a shudder building, launching with a muscular foot from a ledge my hip provides, and swimming with full kicks to enlarge and sit and wait. Behind breasts, behind lungs, and I am so unhappy and in such terrible form with my senses. They run to me with constant need – with dust floating, with breezes likes blankets; I would build them up like a dam to render before abandoning the sucking of stones and laying of one ankle over its pair. Sound first, my body would forget sound, an ocean’s worth of hush. Then taste, having licked walls of silence made my tongue, again in its socket, telling me it is all truly gone. No more touch, no cautious or accidental feeling, no jumps at the cold or judging a thing by its weight. Scent, gone, and with it nostalgia, sudden memories of sun cream and onions browning or rubbish waiting to be collected baking in another day of summer. And then sight, once I was poised to write, and then I would write and write every thought now given its frail moment alone. Time too I would have to remove, and space. Never mind I am now incapable of perceiving them still I know them to be impinging on my outline of a body. If the body could be taken too; such a long exhale, such a gentle expiry, like rolling onto one’s side and achieving what seems then the highest ... Read more ».
I cannot decide on the means by which this self-preserving past follows the subject to whom it belongs: is it as automatic as its preservation, or is there some sense by which it comes more openly to be owned. When a string trails off a wrist, it was tied tighter at first but is looser now. Is it possessed by the same open-concern of someone who saw you fall and follows you from a distance? Does the stitched jumper follow you, or just its gentle surplus, the space it took up in a room? And a garden you slept in, can you be enveloped still or is it the noise of leaves shaking that you feel slow-paced behind you? How long then, finally, can we say is granted a corner, in its sharpness? Or the arc of a ball thrown. How long are things left in themselves before this organic mutation arises in the self and the self comes to its new state of change for a fraction of knowing before overcome again. A droplet learning infinitely the indifferent impositions made on it by surface, weight and air. Rain could, if it shifted either way, leave a skin of itself straight down, caught on a line, if it would only make a decision and bear down on itself in either direction. Instead it seems to fall down as through a shoot, with a gap carefully maintained all ‘round. I don’t know why this long decision on its behalf is forever concerning me, because elsewhere I find there is no stray abstraction that might impede my thoughts of you – why shouldn’t a weight rise? It seems a simple gesture: of course it rises, and in rising, swells. This needn’t be grand, nor difficult. It simply rises, and in rising, swells, and in ... Read more ».
There are certain clothes that in wearing them I am ready to do different things. I have on an old woollen jumper that still smells of the sheep it nuded (it occurs to me now it has probably been washed only once, if at all) and when I wear it I can make a sketch and think to myself a few things about the human form, some twists anatomy makes so that an arm looks like a bunched scarf, or a leg the backside of a favourite leather couch that sags now in its middle but you would never throw away because it was there your whole growing up’s worth. You did your homework here and lost a small bit of your virginity here, small because before your ridged inside spread for that singular entry you heard who, on the stairs? Which sibling? And you pushed his half-inch out of you to go stand soundless in the hall and thought I do not care for him so much anyway, tonight with his low slung arms and that prickle like fur around your pelvic floor. How could you not fall someway t’ward such a thing in its pain coming forth like a tongue to push down on your apple-sized womb. And your ovaries too were shifted all for that movement of his arm against you, like a swing half-way swung after it’s been abandoned by jump or staggered leap, still carrying some gust from the child who rode it (or not a child, you yourself still sometimes swing at your grandmother’s house - the tire that no one ever took down) and you felt there his hairs thin as yours and thought could there be so much accident to a touch? Anyone would at that age lean into it using one foot to ... Read more »