Part-time Creating

Producing and distributing a professional ‘product’ takes time and effort (or a lot of spare money!).

One of the issues asociated with being a niche, part-time creator therefore, is that competing priorities generally constrict you from achieving the things you want to achieve (in the time you want to achieve them). Add in family, other work and life-altering events (Covid-19, earthquakes,etc. etc.) and the opportunity for creative output decreases even further.

Since I first started producing my own products through Irish Imbas (since 2014, I think ), I’ve been regularly frustarted at having to shut down my creative projects in response to other priorities – sometimes for years (and , yes, people are still hassling me about getting the next Beara out!). Unfortunately, that’s the cost of maintaining control over your own work while you’re still involved in another career and immersed in other circumstances. Still, like any creator, you can grow your portfolio over the years and eventually end up with a body of work you can be proud of.

This year. I’ll finally see the fruition of three projects I’ve been working on (on a part time basis) for over two years. Liath Lauchra: The Seeking is already complete, Dark Dawn/Camhaoir Fuilsmeartha is coming out in May 2021 and Liath Lauchra: The Metal Men should be avalilable a few months later.

There really is no greater satsifaction for a creator than that.

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This was all triggered from a Facebook “memory” from four years back:

THE COMPLETION OF TWO PROJECTS, THE START OF ANOTHER
The first batch of hardcopies for FIONN: The Adversary arrived this morning. Fifteen copies and they’re already gone, mostly committed to people who’ve helped with the production, editing, reviewing etc. I think I have a single copy left which is remaining here on the home shelf.

Even after all these years, there’s still a great thrill and satisfaction in seeing all your intellectual work captured and consolidated into physical form. Digital copies are fine but I still prefer the tactile experience of flipping pages and the tangible weight of a book in my hand when I’m reading. [Full article at: Completion of Two Projects]

Dark Dawn/Camhaoir Fuilsmeartha coming in May 2021

Sometimes it’s best to kill a man fast.

Other times it makes sense to take it slow, to work the movements and the killing strokes in advance.

This is such a time.”

Ireland: First/Second Century

In the isolated valley of Gleann Ceoch, a dying warrior is assigned to defend the isolated settlement of Ráth Bládhma (future home of Fionn mac Cumhaill) from an incursion of enemy scouts.

This experimental format story in Irish and English will be released in May 2021 – final date yet to be confirmed.

INTERPRETING SECRETS, SIGHS AND SEX

It’s always fascinating to learn how other people have interpreted something you’ve created, particularly when it’s something as complex as a novel. I’m still a bit surprised at times when a reviewer comments on my books and adds an interpretation that I really didn’t have in mind when I was writing the story.
 
Facebook reminded me of a review I’d read on Beara: Dark Legends (which came out on Tintean Magazine) last year and, again, as I was reading through it, the reviewer’s interpretation/ experience seemed remarkably different (at times) to the one I’d imagined a reader would have.
 
That’s no real biggie, of course. The reality is that different people experience different things from the same art form. Thousands, if not millions of people can study a painting and see something completely different based on their own life experiences. The same is certainly true with respect to a story you tell them.
 
Years ago I wrote a short story entitled ‘Sex with Sarah’ which was basically about the moral corruption endemic in large government departments. Yes, there was some sexual content in there of course (actually, a lot) but, essentially as a mechanism to reflect that corruption (and, God, yes, I can be up myself sometimes!). For years (Years!) afterwards, people who’d read it would come up to me asking who Sarah (of the title) was. Most knew I’d worked in that sector for a while and recognised a lot of what I’d written.
 
All the same, it always struck me as quite funny that so few people were focused on the key message I was trying to get across. Most seemed more interested in getting Sarah’s contact details.

I love my editor, Madame Palamino Blackwing

I love my editor Madame Palamino Blackwing but her presence on a different island and a preference for hand-written edits can occasionally pose a problem.

Four weeks ago, I emailed her a new Liath Luachra short story which she quickly edited and sent back by mail. Unfortunately, the roads in New Zealand’s south island were blocked with snow for several days. When the edits finally arrived in Wellington there was a storm and my postbox was flooded (seriously!). I ended up having to dry fifteen sodden sheets of paper in front of the fire.

I’m just glad she writes with pencil and not ink.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.

But she’s a brilliant feckin editor!

I’m assuming no-one else has this problem.

 

Deadlines and Deadlines

There are now eight days left until the closing date for the Celtic Mythology Short Story Competition. While we’re waiting, we’ve been busy preparing the draft cover for the final collection (obviously based on the original poster image – see below) and attempting to plan out the formatting.

3D Book Preview

The latter is actually something of an impossibility in that we still don’t know the range and style of the stories with any certainty. I suspect there’ll be feverish mutterings as we attempt to add the background mythology facts for each of the stories chosen. I must admit it’s something of a struggle to resist having a peek at the submissions but I’m forcing myself to hold off. It’s not really possible to judge a number of different works properly unless you look at them all at the same time and do your best to judge on an equal basis.

In terms of numbers, at this stage, we’ve received just under twenty-five entries which is a pretty low number – but we’re not particularly fussed. It’s only natural for any new writing community to grow and gain credibility slowly and we’re still within budget. It’s also nice in that – unlike many of the major international competitions (which I stopped entering many years ago) – the odds of actually winning one of the prizes are substantially more realistic.

In any case, don’t forget the deadline for entries is midnight 10 December 2015.

Meanwhile, for those of you in Wellington, we’re delivering our Secrets of Celtic Mythology seminar in the mezzanine of the central library at 6:00 on 11 December. This will be the first seminar I’ve run in a while so I’m a bit nervous and hoping to God the technology holds together.

Wish me luck!