I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

A Thousand Greek Salads


See that chair there by the pool? Yep, you guessed it. That's where I'm going to plonk myself down tomorrow and then forget about the world. This is on one of the Greek Islands we are flying to today. I have four weeks off. Have I made you go green with envy? Don't worry, I'll probably cook in the heatwave that's sweeping the region.

OK, I have checked ... and there is still some space in my suitcase. If you are small and don't mind cramped spaces, you are welcome to come. We're leaving in 30 minutes. Not enough time to pack? Darn. Miss Muffin is very disappointed that I didn't allocate the space to her (what does she expect with all the white hair that she leaves floating around the place!) Our lovely lovely lovely neighbour is looking after Miss Muffin while we're away.

I'm taking quite a few books and really hope to be able to get through them all. I'll also try to draft a few poems and generally try to think of ways to save the planet. I also want to do the healthy eating thing ... which will probably mean nothing but a thousand greek salads!

Ciao ciao. I'm back at the end of August.

Mysterious Venice


I've just had a wonderful week away, staying with my partner's Italian relatives near Venice. Oh the food! The language! Mama mia, I've put on a kilo! I read nothing. I wrote nothing. I relaxed and cleared my head. Everything was slow. It was 35 degrees or higher most days, so a shady place was like heaven.

Yes, I did buy one of those famous masks; mine is a bright red one, which looks great on the piano. It was my second visit to Venice, but it felt as if I were seeing everything for the very first time. Here are some of the more than 300 photos that I took:

We went to Venice via Switzerland, which we visit often, and passed through the villages around Italy's Lake Como. The night in Varenna, pictured here, was magic.

There was also time to check out Verona, as in Romeo and Juliet's Verona. This is supposed to be the balcony.

But don't worry, I'm not one of the thousands who've left love notes at the entrance to "Juliet's house".

After the holidays, at the end of August, I plan to bring the best Venice photos together and make another video presentation, complete with original piano music. My Ireland photos are also lined up for similar treatment. The piano compositions are almost finished.

The Gongs Have Been Pinned !

The results are out! Get over to The Shameless Lions Writing Circle to see who won what in my poetry contest/beauty pageant!

There are some surprises. There are some double winners. There are differences and similarities between the jury prizes and members' choice awards. Regulars of this blog have been recognised. There are some great poems and pics of lions, in case you hadn't noticed already.

It's been a load of fun. There's nothing like hearing a good roar over poetry and prose. Thanks to all those who voted.

Now I'm off to Italy for a week (via Switzerland)! Mama mia!

A Pause For A Poem


the dog walkers

the hard bucks have never been so easy to reap.
thank you, mam, he’ll be OK in my little pride,
his hair so nicely coiffed, his cutesy wee paws

never been scraped. we can take ten in one hand,
don’t worry; they love making new acquaintances.
they do fall over one another but they really do

enjoy it. two hours for 100 big ones, multiplied
by nine. yes, we take them into the city’s best
parks; they’ll be laughing, walking off all that

energy, watching the birds in the trees. we just
hope you don’t spot us tying them to a pole; they
can sometimes make a right fuss. but we know you

won’t object to an obligatory break: only two or
seven shots, honest. yes, we will take good care
of them; we're the best damn dog walkers in town

© Copyright, 2007. Seamus Kearney.

Agggghhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!

I can probably kiss goodbye any chance I might have had of getting somewhere in the Bridport Prize. (Did I even have a chance, given that thousands and thousands of people enter?)

I feel like chopping off my fingers. Am I the only person who sends off a manuscript - after checking, rechecking and checking again - only to find a typo when it's too late?

I am better at editing this blog.

It is so annoying. An "o" became an "e" and I didn't see it with my tired, computer-weary eyes. I did numerous automatic spell-checks during the editing, but failed to do it after making some last-minute "quick, easy changes".

So, one word in my short story is not an actual word in the English language.

Will a judge let me off for one little typo, or will they toss the story in the bin, no matter how good the rest of it may be?

Agggggghhhhhhhhhh. It is so annoying that a story I was actually quite happy with has been betrayed by one little letter.

My only hope is that the judges also have tired, computer-weary eyes.

It Began With Her Obsession For Fridge Magnets ...


I just love this image, which I snapped during my recent trip to Aix-en-Provence. We all have our little obsessions, don't we? Is there anyone who doesn't collect strange things, worship something, become so focused on something that it addles the brain? I'm sorry, but we are obsessed by words. Rather, we are obsessed by capturing words on a page ... even if it's a computer page. We are no different to this person who moved their obsession from the fridge to the car. There. Don't go thinking we're far removed from this photo.

* * *

I saw an outdoor concert last night that I will never forget. Philip Glass played the piano under heavy rain, with thunder and lightning all around. Well, he was covered by the roof of the stage. We were out on the stone seats of a Roman amphitheatre, one of numerous sites around Lyon where Roman ruins have been preserved. We were given plastic raincoat-type covers and a piece of rubber to sit on. The rain didn't stop. It got heavier and heavier. We got soaked. But somehow it all added to the atmosphere. The brilliant music mixed in amazingly well with the sheets of rain. A wave of water that had built up on the roof crashed down just behind Glass but he didn't blink. The amphitheatre was packed. Everyone was brave. It was a concert that many of us will never forget. I play a little bit of Glass' music on the piano. I must now try to track down the sheet music for some of those other sublime songs I heard tonight. Closing from the Glassworks album is stunning.

Excuse me now while I dry myself down! I'm also going to count how many magnets I have on the fridge!