Maureen Boyle is Absolute Perfection

Working with Maureen Boyle in my memoir workshop has been an amazing experience. Maureen has a heart of gold, and has so many tips for new writers trying to expand their knowledge in their careers. By teaching memoir, Maureen has opened my eyes to a new perspective on my own life and past encounters.

In this workshop, we have to reflect on certain experiences within our lives or other’s lives in a creative aspect. Memoir falls under the creative non-fiction category, and has much more creative leeway than chronological biographies. By taking this workshop with Maureen I am now able to portray my life in a more exciting and intriguing way to my audience.

JHISS: Day 1

The John Hewitt festival has been absolutely astounding! I am lucky enough to be in a workshop lead by Maureen Boyle, acclaimed poet and Malachi O’Doherty’s wife. Working with her on writing memoirs has been truly eye opening, and she has helped me examine my life and write it in ways I never thought possible. The writers at this festival are nothing short of amazing, and they have much more experience in the field of writing than I have. I hope to be as successful as these writers in my future, and going to this festival has made me realize the amount of achievements the world has in store for my career.

Your Ma’, My Ma’, Armagh: The City I Will Never Forget

Armagh has made such an impact on my overall worldview as well as my writing. While staying here I have done things I never thought possible: studying under the mentorship of Northern Ireland’s most acclaimed journalist, eating chowder with Frank Ormsby, and getting my first tattoo in Belfast are such a few of the experiences I’ve had during this month. Everything flew by so fast, I can’t believe it’s already been a month since we got here! I met some of the most amazing people that I’m glad to call my friends now, and I will never forget the beautiful times I had in Armagh.

Nathaniel McAuley

Working with Nathaniel McAuley was overall a very enlightening experience on creative writing. As a member of the journalism track I rarely get the opportunity to expand on my fiction writing, and during Nathaniel’s workshops I was able to do so. He knew how to teach without being bland, and had us constantly thinking about our work. Through the knowledge I gained during his workshops I figured out how to add characteristics that will stand out not only for my fictional characters, but for my sources in articles as well.

Audience Impact

Audience definitely has a major impact on writing styles. When writing an article, it is important to keep in mind how your audience will react to certain things. One of the biggest rules in journalism is to avoid harm. Although your writing can teeter towards a controversial tone, its is best to stray from offensive terms.

Keeping yourself unbiased is another way t keep your audience in mind. In order to keep yourself as a reputable journalist, straying from bias is very important. If your audience senses bias within your work, they will not trust your work and they will be less likely to reach your future work.

Keeping your audience in mind is very important when writing. After all, you are writing for an audience.

Character Plot: Adrien

Adrien Loyes is your average 15 year old small-town douche bag. When he’s not slumped on the couch of his grandmother’s trailer, he’s in detention. He’s always looking for a cheap laugh, and he’s in love with a girl that is way out of his league (Michelle). Adrien also lives in the shadow of his older sister, Carmen, who teaches at a local university and does volunteer work at the church. But one thing that makes him stand out from the rest of his classmates is that he’s the town’s biggest weed dealer. Through his pot delivery endeavors, he bumps into classmates, sells to their parents, and even a few teachers. Through his taboo career choice he learns more about the world than any schoolbook could teach him. One person who impacts his life the most is his high school janitor, Luke, who smokes weed to alleviate the pain and nausea from chemotherapy. As the school year winds down, Adrien begins to think about his life in a more serious manner and thinks about whether its worth it or not to continue his studies. He makes so much money selling pot that he wonders if putting himself in debt for college in the future is really worth the hassle. But when Luke dies, Adrien realizes how much Luke missed out on life by leaving high school, and decides to continue going to school in order to accomplish everything Luke wasn’t able to do.

Favorite Character

My favorite character in the plays we read was James Guerin from Kerrin’s play. James was very sly, and added comedic relief to a tense situation in his play. James is also sneaky and tends to trick his way out of the trouble that he puts himself in. Although he is very deceiving, James is still a very likable character because of his charismatic persona. Overall, I think James is unique from the rest of the characters in the play due to the fact that he has the aspects of both a protagonist and an antagonist.

Character Description: Dre

While sitting on the chair of the tattoo parlor of Addinktion, I met a small man with long dreadlocks and a full beard. This unique man had a high pitched voice that had a combination of and Irish and Hispanic accent. I later learned that this man, Dre, is actually from Colombia, and learned most of his English in America. I suppose the Irish accent rubbed off on him while living here and being married to his coworker, Maria. To settle the nerves of everyone waiting their tattooed fate, he plays stand-up comedy on the radio. Every time he heard Lewis Black’s raunchy jokes he would let out a high pitched giggle as he tattooed a chest-piece on another man.  I hope to bump into this lively Colombian man with the widest smile in the world again within the near future.

A Portrait of The Artist

One of the first scenes within A Portrait of The Artist is the Christmas dinner. The dinner very clearly represents the ways of Irish culture during this time. It is depicted that very political conversations take place during the holiday dinner. For example, the main character (Stephen) explains that while he is sitting at the dinner table, he hears his father speaking about his disdain for the Catholic Church entering Irish politics and Dante refuting his views, saying a Catholic man never criticizes the church. Dante further explains (as she pulls out a Bible) that it is important for everyone to follow the orders of the church and the priests, therefor making sense in her mind why the two should be put together. It should also be noted that the family said grace at the table before eating.

This scene shows the heavy influence of religion within the Irish family. Stephen was very confused as to why anyone would criticize the priest, since he is young and is very brainwashed by the Catholic Irish community. Religion is the main center of the family, and each individual’s views on religion are very contrasting. This shows how much tension and conflict there was in Ireland in regards to the ties between religion and government.

Resonance and Disonance

What resonated heavily within me was the beauty of the Navan Fort.  From the hilltop of the fort, you can see miles and miles from the distance. It was so full of peace and tranquility, and I had never felt so at one with the world. The area was so beautiful that its image is now forever embedded in my head. I still remember breathing in the crisp air as I looked off to the tall green grass surrounding me.


What hit me with extreme dissonance is the graffiti-filled wall that was right next to the children’s center. It just reminded me of the extreme disrespect juvenile delinquents across the world have for their younger generations. In such a beautiful town, these grotesque illustrations were scattered across the wall, ruining the beautiful murals of wildlife that were originally located there.