Reflections of Month

  Where do I begin, or END as the month comes to close?

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The beauty of Ireland and our home Armagh around us, is difficult to leave. The people here in Ireland, so welcoming. The food (I gained 5 pds) TASTY and FRESH!

The lessons learned in writing were valuable and I will be using them for ever more. Nessa was amazing, in spotting just a word here or tweak to make your poem work and sound better. Her list making and editing will definitely help my works.



JHISS-show experience

Acting in the show was an awesome experience. I was nervously excited to perform as a reader/actor. I am glad I got the chance to do this. I would say it’s been a growth. The crowd was great and they seemed to enjoy our acting and our plays. I can’t help but feel relieved. My character, the old soldier was a trip to play and I heard people laugh, which made me feel like we were connecting with our audience. Marion and Sam, I owe some of that to you. Thanks girls!

It was a great opportunity to play and sing my song to see if an audience liked it.  The song was a response to John O’Connor’s story about giving a locket to his first and only love. Then wondering if she ever thought of him. He never found another woman he loved.

Then to find out that Fionnuala Gough his niece was there at the show was over-whelming. She was so kind and said the song moved her. She said there are more stories that O’Connor wrote around this time about that Christmas and she’s going to get them to me.  I made a friend and that is awesome!

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to my poetry class. The teacher is inspiring us with more techniques to get us writing. 

JHISS events are inspiring 

The events are varied at the JHISS. I’ve attended Jo Baker’s Fiction reading of A Country Road; and purchased Longbourne. I want to go back to her first hit, so to speak. Her second A Country Road is about Samuel Beckett’s time trapped in France during the Second World War. That sounded interesting too. It’s about hardship of not having enough to eat and having to be on the run from Nazi’s. A good read was given, that made me want to buy her books. 

I went to Sinead Morrissey’s & Sarah Howe’s poetry readings. Sarah’s was about finding her Chinese mother’s roots. She is half Chinese and her mother was abandoned by her mother. It was sad and heart wrenching. 

Then Sinead’s poems were comedic yet serious at the same time. Her humor and sharp tongue were amazing. She read about the building of the titanic and it’s birthing. It was never Christened. I didn’t know that. Sinead can read so many lines by memory and in the same breath it’s amazing to hear and watch her. Lastly, All for the Dead Man’s Penny was a musically acted adventure through time in two time periods and two stories. It was amazing how the Actor/Poet made the two stories work together towards ending at the same time. Even though they were two separate stories, one about a King and Queen of the Island of Lonliness and the other story about here Grandfather and Grandmother. A true story of her Catholic Grandfather receiving the Dead Man’s Penny. During Dean Man’s Penny a violin accompanist was used for seguey’s, breaks and leading into new parts. 

Tonight I went to see the Music Act of Duke Special; a pianist that writes not only music but musical theatre pieces. He’s very casual and down to earth. I enjoyed his Music from a bygone era, brought back to life. Part Billy Joel, part Scott Joplin-Ragtime was the feeling I got listening to his music. I enjoyed him. 

There were more shows I saw and none disappointed me. Totally amazing reads and I’m so much more into the Irish Art’s now, than I was before I came. My husband and I are talking about coming here, but with my entourage I don’t know if it will be possible. I’m going to miss Armagh. 😦  the week is flying.  The JHISS is a great venue.

Armagh and Armagh Project’s effect on me and my Art. 

Before the Armagh Program, I was stuck in a writing rut. I had written Poetry and song  for many years. I just let it flow. Then slowly I began to feel nothing. I got into a dry spot where I had nothing to say. I was not motivated to write anything. I was in College writing the required papers, nothing else.  

     The location of Armagh is peaceful and quiet. Not to mention my family of 5 isn’t with me.  Usually I work in spurts of time and I never get to have so much time to myself. I’ve had the setting of Ireland and the stories of its culture motivate me. Along with the Armagh faculty teaching us about theater and prose. We have been very busy. The lessons have been worth it. I cant thank Terri, Kim, Nessa, Malachi and Nathaniel enough. I also want to thank the John Hewitt International Summer School.  

I have been able to write several songs that Im going to work on recording. I’ve  written poetry, memoir and stories. I am nervous about acting in a play, but I’m going to embrace it. 

All of this in a few weeks.  Not to mention a spectacular Countryside.

Social Activism and Community

Writing music involves both social activism and community, as it does in playwriting, Visual Arts, or any artform. The Arts are the perfect platform for a voice of awareness to make those less aware hear that voice. Whether it be the black lives matter movement in activism which is certainly deeply rooted in community, and affects concern thereof. As well as other causes,  abuse of women, children and as in Ireland supressed cultures that need our Artistic voices to speak out.  

Nathaniel McAuley

Nathaniel has an Aura of purple and red around him for sure. He is exuberant and magnetic in personality. He is an entertaining teacher as well. Most importantly, Nathaniel is very skilled in the depth of Creative Writing. Whether it be theater, poems, or stories. His lessons on the importance of character development, back story and concentration of the plot were outstanding.

Note that I wrote about him with his first name, instead of referring to McAuley. That’s because he ended with a hug, not just a hand shake.

Audience-How does audience, or does audience, impact your writing work?

Oh most definitely. If the audience doesn’t understand what your saying, why your saying it and who your speaking to; it will affect their comprehension of what your  trying to say to the audience.

For instance, in Ireland there are words the Irish understand, the craic which to Americans mean either a drug, or the space between your butt cheeks. In Ireland you say …it’s the craic, or a craic if it’s a great humorous issue, thing, joke or time.  The Irish say bum, word that most Americans aren’t familiar with. To American’s it’s butt.

Then the same can be said for Americans’ understanding certain terms that the Irish or any other foreign culture say. Americans may not have familiarity with a foreigner’s vocabulary. Even though we could all speak the same language; there are differences. 

So the language of an audience is first at the forefront. Then what is happening politically in the country. An audience must have an understanding of current events of the society they live in if the play is set there.  Or, if in a foreign country, the knowledge of a foreign countries issues to be able to comprehend it.  Since a lot of plays focus on social issues and culture.

Some cultures have different dress codes as well. To some cultures the American style of dress is too casual. Or we show too much skin. Look to the Middle East for instance. To them our way of dress is vulgar and we definitely don’t understand their reasons for remaining covered.





Todo-of Planet Zedstar


Todo is 17; he looks like a green skinned Boy George on steroids. He has strong features with well styled black hair and perfect arched eyebrows. He has a muscular build and is tall, very tall 6’6” making it necessary to duck under doorways at times. He is extremely good looking

Todo is a Planet Scout and Energy Specialist; as his father was before him. He doesn’t like the job and has no choice of being inducted in this job field. He is from a long line of Planet Scouts.

Planet Zedstar, aka Zed, is a planet on the edge of the solar system. It hasn’t been found by Earths’ scientists as of yet. However there is one Earth girl that is studying Astronomy and has stumbled upon Planet Zedstar..

Todo is lazy and forgets his medication all the time. The medication takes away sexual urges to reproduce. So today he is extra edgy. He is required by law to take his medication. If the medical staff find out, he will get prison time.

The people of Zed can produce with a mate or or by themselves.. When it’s required to fill in the population with more people they get a card. The card allows them to choose either to mate or to have a child on their own. In the past years there has been a moratorium against reproducing as there are enough people.

In fact, there is a problem on hand, the planet is dying. The sun is burning out. Due to this factor, Todo is being commissioned to travel to Earth to scout out it’s Sun. To find out if there is enough Solar left in Earth’s sun to transport the energy back through a black hole Todo can create, to Zed.

Todo’s father Meif is a former Planet scout. He’s also very fit and tall with green skin as well. His features aren’t as perfect as Todo’s now, but it’s obvious he was once good looking himself. Meif confronts him in the kitchen. “So today’s the big day, eh Todo?” “Yeah I guess” says Todo. “Well you sound damned excited Todo” says Meif. “I’d think you be more committed as you know we all are depending on you today” Meif says. He goes on…”I wish I had the opportunity you’re getting today” I was always on call waiting for the past 75 years and now, I’m retiring with no success behind me. I never got sent to any other Solar system, my entire career. All you can say is …yeah I guess?

Todo can’t leave fast enough, “Well, see you Meif”. On planet Zed, it’s very formal. The people don’t use sir names like Dad, Mom, Mum, Pop etc. It’s just your given name. No nick names are used either.

Todo gets into his hovercraft, he combs his hair back and puts on shades, his craft is a vehicle that looks like a cross over between a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a stealth fighter plane (but smaller). Todo drives to the Space station for Astronaut’s the complex is a base camp that is very futuristic made of stainless steel metal. It has lights that change depending on the military status of alert. Red for high alert, yellow, warning or caution and green “normal status”. It’s very futuristic looking space station and official flags hang everywhere. He gets perturbed because someone is parked in “his” spot. He kicks over their space vehicle. It crumbles on one side. Then Todo drives up to the front and parks in his father’s marked space. Thinking, humorously he says..”well, he won’t be in today”.

Todo goes into the board room where all the space station head honchos are waiting. He is confronted by the team, who proceed to read him his orders. He is half listening and digging under his knee high boots. His superiors speak as if he’s not there about his behavior.

The. Captain of the station Simot says “if he isn’t going to listen, maybe we just need to throw him in the brig for now.” The Second lieutenant Fellan says “unfortunately, the back up Astronaut is sick at the moment, which makes him not eligible for travel interstellar. Since we don’t have time to train anyone else and his father is too old to stand Black hole travel”; “we’re stuck”.

Captain Simot rubs his chin and then addresses Todo. Todo doesn’t hear him. Finally Simot yells, “Damn it Todo, wake the hell up and let’s remember what’s at stake here, will you?”Todo shifts in his seat until he’s facing the Captain. “Ok”. The Captain then screams, grabs Todo by his collar looking ridiculous as he is about 8 inches shorter than Todo. “Todo, seriously! Do you not understand the fate of our planet?” Todo, “Yep, sure do, no problem. I got this, you need to relax!”

The scene pans to the hole in the floor, with a deep swirling black hole, it’s unreal and surrealistic. Todo is strapped into a chair that looks like an ejector seat of an airplane. His ride is very bumpy and shakes and his image shakes in and out of view with his image looking like spatter paint. Just before he lands on Earth, his image comes quickly instantly into one piece. This happens in an instant. He lands naked, in the middle of the ocean and instantly Gil’s emerge on his neck and his feet turn into fins. He swims ashore.

A Character I like

I actually like the Clurichauns in the play Merriment of the Clurichaun’s; they are my favorite character pair.  They are a set of urchins and trouble makers at first. Funny and harmless they employ drinking with their victim that they inevitably kill. Haneously putting their victim in a wine barrel to later enjoy in drink.

Unfortunately, my character McCullen is the victim. I should hate them, but I can’t they’re funny.

A Belfast Character I met

The character I met is a stuntman and extra for the show Game of Thrones (GOT), Damian is a fantastic tour director of the set locations for the GOT tours. The reason he’s a tour director is because he has to supplement his income in between the show somehow. What better way than to keep his interest up in working for GOT than by telling the fans of the show all about GOT in detail. He showed us around all of the beautiful scenery and locations where they filmed and are going to film. He even showed us a Castle that he knew they’ve been scouting out the location and thinking about for future episodes. 

He knows a lot of the cast personally and is even a drinking buddy with some of them. He was able to call a buddy in Stranford, that is the trainer of the Direwolves. This trainer met us in Stranford and we met the dogs that pose as Direwolves from the show. He said he likes to include that as an extra treat but not to promise it to friends that may decide to take the tour in the future. 

Along with this fantastic extra, was the fact that one of Damion’s stunt talents was fencing. He showed us some techniques for making it looked like you got stabbed, or stab someone. This hut is located right next to a Castle named Dundrum Castle. Since our weather was cooperative, he took us to the Castle as an extra. In the back of the bus he pulled out costumes that we got to try on. We walked up the hill to the sword maker’s hut. Then we posed for pictures with the swords and props that this extra had. 

One other highlight of the tour was taking a ferry over to Stranford, a beautiful picturesque waterfront village. We ate at the Cuan Restaurant. A beautiful restaurant owned for 25 years by a lovely couple, that introduced themselves and asked if we enjoyed our meal. Which was comparable to a gourmet dinner back home in Maryland, in presentation, but not in price. I have the card for the fellow, but if you make plans his name is Damion and he does the Winterfell Tour out of Belfast.