Saturday, December 11, 2010

Facebook winning over Blog

It's very difficult to keep up blogging when you are on Facebook. The latter is so much more fun! But not that great for promoting your work, mind you. Very slow getting 'likes' on my Celtic Warrior Princess page.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Irish Economic Crisis Explained by Robots


Here is the Irish economic situation explained by two robots, which makes it funny to listen to but alas not funny to think about. But it ain't over yet, folks, as there is a possibility that a deal with an international grouping such as the IMF needs either Dáil approval or a referendum according to our Constitution. You have to wonder if our forefathers foresaw the kind of gombeen men who would be selling off our country in the future.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Celtic Warrior Princess on Facebook!

Thanks to my daughter Findabhair and Irish artist/illustrator James Brady, I've set up a Facebook page for The Celtic Warrior Princess. Do go look and click if you like! I've tried to post the link here but for some reason blogger won't let me (maybe some techno-head might be able to tell me the problem), but all you have to do is go to www.facebook.com and search "Celtic" you'll find it instantly. Meanwhile, I'm still in the editing process with the first book of the series, working with Canadian and American editors. Will keep you posted on news. (Image: (c) James Brady, Ireland)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cute Rabbit Tale

Ruth who minds my cat, Emma, when I'm away told me a great story last year about her floppy-eared buck rabbit who broke out of his hutch and did a runner into the fields surrounding her home. (She lives in the countryside with husband, daughters, horses, cats, dogs and many a stray animal who wanders her way. A truly wonderful woman.) She was devastated that the rabbit broke free as she was sure he couldn't survive in the wilds. Well, by spring time she started to spot the little floppy-eared wild rabbits here and there and even caught sight of himself from time to time. You can just imagine how those wild does (female rabbits) reacted when he entered their domain. "Omigod, would ye look at the ears on that, isn't he only gorgeous?" (And did you spot the two puns in my title?)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where The Wild Things Are

I didn't read this book as a child and I confess I didn't read it as an adult because I was jealous of Maurice Sendak's mega success (hah, adult child!). Finn came home last weekend and bought the DVD. Omigod, it's amazing. This is where art meets entertainment and fun meets depth. An incredible film which sends your mind off on all kinds of tangents even as you are feeling every emotion imaginable and feasting your eyes. It's ingenious the way these big muppet-things evince emotion and call them up in you. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For My German Readers






Here is the website of my dear friend Heike Klamp, one of two great roomies I met in Findhorn last year on Experience Week and with whom I went to Erraid, Findhorn's island community, this year. www.heikeklamp.de. Heike practises various types of complementary medicine - check out her website for more details - and does the most amazing foot massage you could ever dream of! (Photos taken from website)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Hiring Fair 2010

Thousands queued for an exhibition on emigration at the RDS this weekend. Canada, New Zealand and Australia were recruiting skilled workers such as nurses, HGV drivers, speech therapists, tradesmen, engineers and the like. Is this not heartbreaking? Once again we lose our best and our brightest to other countries, but this time it's not because of the economic embargo on Ireland by England which destroyed our economy in the early years of Irish independence. No, the destruction of our economy this time was caused by our own government - still in power! - and our bankers and developers - still unscathed! Shame on Ireland - the sow who eats her farrow as William Yeats once said - and most of all on the Fianna Fáil party and the bankers who have brought us to this.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Cementgate: Anglo Toxic Bank



















Well our country is full of wit even if our government is full of nitwits. Go here for hilarious remarks twitted when a protestor drove his cement mixer into the gates of the Dáil with the words "Anglo Toxic Bank" painted on it. Needless to say the incident was quickly dubbed Cementgate by some wag. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0929/breaking19.html. For those who don't know, the Anglo-Irish Bank is the failed bank which the taxpayers of Ireland have been forced to keep going so that its mega-rich and politicially friendly investors don't suffer. It was run - and run into the ground - by friends and supporters of the present governing Fianna Fáil party. Of course the driver of the truck was arrested, though none of the managers of the bank have been. Here are some of my favourite remarks:
1) So you get arrested if you crash a truck into the Dáil but not if you crash the entire economy?
2) Trucky ar lá (you have to be an Irish speaker to get this one)
3) Nice headline on Clare Herald website: "Mortar Attack on Leinster House"
4) Is it just me, or is there something exciting about an actual gate being involved?
5)Dáil rushes to release statement to public that no TDs were plastered.
Yes, we are laughing all the way to the bankruptcy. :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More about Westfall

If you'd like to know more about this incredible young woman (riding bareback and bridleless in the video below), log on to her website: http://www.westfallhorsemanship.com/. She's in her early twenties, pretty as a picture, full of beans, and one of the most amazing riders you will ever see. One of the things I really like about discovering people like Stacy is that she is living proof that writers like me who depict adventurous, courageous, strong and highly-skilled girl-heros are not just creating fantasy! We are depicting what young women can be and are.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stacy Westfall: Amaze-on

Writing away here, late at night, and had to do some quick research on riding bareback. (When you read People of the Great Journey one day you'll know why.) Look what I found. A thing of great beauty and magic. Keep watching. It really is amazing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Addicted to Asimov's Foundation

I remember reading Isaac Asimov's I, Robot at university but I wasn't a fan, no doubt due to his attitudes towards women (positively Neanderthal). I've never accepted the "culture at the time" excuse as there have been enlightened men in every era who were capable of overcoming the standard misogynistic prejudices of their peers, e.g. Pericles of Athens, the Prophet Mohammed, and JS Mill to name but a few. Anyhoo, I stumbled across a copy of Asimov's Foundation in a hostel in Glasgow and since I was dying to read something, I devoured it that evening. Would you believe, there isn't a single female character in the entire book? No wait, there's one - the nagging wife of a minor king. Astonishing to find such a limited mind set in such a great mind. Hilarious, too, all the future space men smoking cigarettes. Ah, the Fifties. Nonetheless, it was compulsive reading and I've been badgering my library since to locate the other books in the series. Someone must have complained about the women at some point as the later books begin to include major female characters, though most of them are still nauseatingly presented. I suspect I would have found the man himself insufferable. Still waiting to read the two prequels and the final Foundation and Earth, but I won't bother with the spin-offs by other sci fi writers. This genre is due a revival, methinks. It's been moribund for some time now.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sheep Shearing in Scotland




Not long back from a great adventure in one of my favourite countries - Scotland. I spent a week on the island of Erraid (will discuss its literary aspect over on my Book Blog). It's a private island which the Findhorn Foundation has been asked to caretake. A small community runs a farm and garden there and invites people to come for work visits. Here's their website: http://www.erraid.com/. I was in heaven as I took part in a sheep round-up - wandering all over the beautiful landscape of hills, bays and rocky cliffs - which ended with dosing and shearing. John did the big job of shearing all the sheep assisted by two other men while the women rolled up the fleeces and tied them in a big knot before storing them away in a plastic skip for shipping to Glasgow. We also swept away the excess wool from around John to keep his work space clear. We didn't finish till 8:30 pm but it was still light and the kitchen kept supper for us, hurrah! Being someone who played with toy farms instead of dolls as a child, I declare this the best day of my stay, but there were also wonderful times in the garden, around a bonfire, sharing delicious meals, and having the craic with my roomies, Heike and Gillian. More photos to come!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Garden Girl




Well, here I am working in my beloved walled garden in Jampa Ling. For a whole month I was the garden girl working under the aegis of the garden guru, Aisling, a truly gifted woman - professional gardener, trad musician, painter and mother. I've been gardening all my life in all kinds of places including Moose Tempura Organic Farm in the East Delta of British Columbia, as a WOOFER for the O'Dea's in the Burren, Co. Clare, as a resident in the Meitheal Community in Donegal and a visitor to Findhorn in Scotland, but never have I learned so much in such a short time. I shall return! These photos show me weaving onions and garlic in strings hanging from an old apple tree (very Thomas Hardy) and then hanging them up to dry in the tool shed. Ah, happiness is outdoor manual labour in a garden, the complete opposite of being locked away in a room working with your head and a PC!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Anti-Puppy Farm Bill Passed - Hurrah!

Update on that situation. The Labour Party recovered their moral backbone and supported this bill. I expect they got a lot of flack from their members - my mother included! - when they voted against the stag-hunting bill, which thankfully also passed. There are many ethical and upright dog breeders in this country but up to now there have also been puppy farms where the most horrific abuses occurred, e.g. bitches bred till they died, exhausted, and animals kept in appalling conditions. The ISPCA and the gardaí have always known who the perpetrators are but could no nothing about it. Now they can!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life in a Buddhist Community

I'm living and working in Jampa Ling, my beloved Buddhist Centre this month. If I were any happier I'd burst! Here's a typical day: rise at 6:30 to wash & dress for 7:00 a.m. meditation and morning puja (prayers and chanting), then breakfast at the big round table in the kitchen with the other residents - porridge or muesli or corn flakes, fresh fruit, toast and tea. Then off to work in the walled garden all morning doing all sorts of wonderful jobs including weaving this willow tunnel (will post pic of what it looks like now when I return - if you click on the picture you'll see it more clearly), shovelling manure onto the currant bushes, watering and feeding plants in poly tunnel, weeding, planting, picking berries (raspberries, strawberries, black/white/red currants), repotting plants etc. Sometimes I work alone and other times there are other residents, part-time guests or the community garden people with me. We get a tea break with treats at 11:00 a.m. (Buddhist Worker's Union), then a fabulous vegetarian dinner at 1:00 - my favourite was the spinach paneer (spinach from garden) and lentil dahl with brown rice. In the afternoon I write - up to Chapter 20 of People of the Great Journey, seventeen more chapters to go and I am finished! There's meditation or a teaching at 4:00 p.m., supper at 6:00 p.m. (soup & cheese & crackers), then evening White Tara puja at 7:00. I usually write after supper but I may have other duties such as making the yoghurt or tidy-up as well. I love living and working in community. The best part of all, of course, was that up to a few days ago, Panchen Otrul Rinpoche, our lama, was living in the house also and taking all his meals with us and talking around the table and generally being there for company and talks. It's not every day you get to do the dishes with a Panchen lama but I did!!!! I'll post more photos when I return. Hope you are all having a wonderful summer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Irish Labour Party Votes Against Animal Welfare

Well, the bill against stag hunting on horse was passed last night, no thanks to the Labour Party who always say they are against blood sports and Fine Gael who are a useless party anyway. It's the Labour Party I'm really furious with. Their office waffles on about the wording of the legislation which is pure sophistry as the ISPCA pleaded with them to support this bill as well as the control of dog breeding bill next week (sorry, my mistake in earlier post). Will they actually go that low and vote against a much needed bill to stop the cruel fact of unregulated puppy farming in this nation? If they do, that's it for me and any support for the Labour Party. Of course they are the opposition, but they've always prided themselves on moral stances and the high ground. This is not an issue that should be used to try to pull down or embarrass the government. That's just politicking on the back of unfortunate animals.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Puppy Farms in Ireland

The ISPCA has been fighting against them for years with little help or support from the general community. Ireland is the capital of puppy farming in Europe, with no regulations whatsoever. Of course there are reputable breeders who look after their animals and are responsible for good practice, but there are also a multitude of cruel, uncaring, unscrupulous businessmen who defy even the most basic standards of animal care. The ISPCA talks of animals living in desperate conditions. Raids are sometimes successful - based on undercover work - but it seems at other times the owners are tipped off. There is collusion to protect the business and not the law or the animals. Today the Green Party is presenting a bill against puppy farms and stag hunting. Already various politicians are standing up against it. This is a side of Ireland that I find truly despicable. Stay tuned for the final results. Hopefully the side of right and mercy will win. For more information see: www.ispca.ie.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Servants of Love

I made a joke about the 'church of the raw food' last year after attending a workshop on same. I found the food interesting but not particularly tasty or tempting except for the frozen banana 'ice cream.' (You just leave peeled bananas in your ice box until frozen, then mash them up. You can do it with a fork if you let them thaw a bit. They taste like fabulous ice cream but without the cream!) Anyhoo, now I've found the real church and the food is only incredible. Next time you are in County Wicklow, Ireland head down to Wicklow town and check out the café of the Servants of Love - http://www.theservantsoflove.com/. They are a co-ed order of monks and nuns living in community and dedicated to healthy living, raw food and the arts. That may sound New Age in the Celtic Christianity tradition, but I understand they are conservative Roman Catholic and seeking recognition from Rome (an unlikely prospect given Rome's level of open-mindedness these days, i.e. nil). But omigod - pardon the pun - the food is only divine. So many flavours on one plate including varous sprouted things like sprouted radish (hot), beetroot marinated in ginger and pumpkin seed mayo (bought a jar, it tasted so good). You have to try it to believe it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm a Blogging Disgrace!

Really, I've been mad busy and having fun and wandering about and doing this and that, I just haven't had time to blog! Wait till the winter comes. Then I'll be up for more chat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rest in natural great peace

Went searching for this on youtube as I love it so much. Beautiful poem read by Sogyal Rinpoche. It eases my poor exhausted mind, at times. I'm stunned by the photograph, actually. It looks like one of me taken by my sister Pat when we went hiking up Croaghaun on Achill Island! Wyrd. (Photo credit: 66greybeard)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

About my new series. Quick, go over to my Book Blog and see!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fairy Tree at Baronscourt


Last month, I went up north to Baronscourt, Co. Omagh, for my annual work with school children through the Pushkin Trust programme. The workshops included art and writing (that's me) as well as environmental talks and walks. One of the environmentalists showed me this amazing tree on the estate. It reveals its magical underworld for all to see! (Photo credit: Jess Webb)



And here are the tree fairies, dancing away!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Was up till 4:00 am finishing this book. While it's not something to cheer you up - a man and his son crossing a post-holocaustic America which has fallen into ruin, barbarism and cannibalism - it will make you appreciate the world you are living in right now! I'm still haunted by the image of a grey and dying planet and by the notion that men (as opposed to women) are guaranteed to descend into savagery as soon as civilised structures break down. The stuff of nightmares! Looking forward to viewing the film when it appears at The Mermaid Arts Centre here in Bray.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nothing to Say!

My apologies for not blogging these days but I am in quiet mode with little or nothing to say. I suppose it's a bit like leaving a field to lie fallow. Not to worry. As soon as the ideas start flowering again, I'll no doubt have plenty to say!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Getting Through the Winter

There were brief hints of spring there for a while but it's back to grey skies and cold rain with occasional falls of snow. (Coming home from a dance in the mountains on Saturday, it was a winter wonderland!) Best way to cheer oneself up: lighting fires, baking bread or muffins, and making homemade soup. Have done all three today and am about to get writing. Still working two books at the same time - one young adult, one adult - and YES I will have an announcement shortly. Two contracts are being finalised even as I speak. Watch this space.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Losar!




Just back from a great road trip with Finn and her Dad, in honour of Finn turning 20 next week (yee gods!) We went first to Monaghan to visit friends and then off to Cavan to Jampa Ling to celebrate Losar - Tibetan New Year. It began with smoke puja and throwing offerings into the fire and rice into the air, then prayers in the shrine room, then the usual feast as everyone brings food to share, then chat and cups of tea and Irish music and strolls around the grounds. A wonderful place. Here's more information if you are interested: http://www.jampaling.org/.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Life at the Abbey with Pema Chodron

I am reading Pema Chodron's amazing book When Things Fall Apart - "when things are shaky we are on the verge of something" - and was amazed and surprised to discover that she is the resident teacher of a Tibetan monastery in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia! I hope to go there for a residency one day even though they get up at 5:30 am to begin the day (!!!). It looks truly amazing. And I am caught by the notion of 'putting awakening at the centre of my life.'

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dark Night of the Soul

It has been a strange time for me and I am not yet out of it. Meanwhile Ireland has turned into Canada with cold and snow. Hope you all had a wonderful season of good cheer and wishing you the best for 2010.