So, I’ve been at it again. Not blogging. Writing. And the result is a new one-act drama for radio called “Manic Monday” which can now be listened to on podcast here:
I hope you enjoy the play, because OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE ALL GOING TO GO AND LISTEN TO IT RIGHT NOW. Sorry, was I shouting there? I didn’t realise.
This play is very special to me for several reasons. Firstly, it’s the first straight invention-to-execution one-act drama I’ve written.
Secondly, it was brilliantly executed by the director, actors and sound engineer of the Sliabh Aughty Drama Group (I’m not going to tell you how to pronounce Sliabh Aughty, because it’s too much fun to imagine my non-Irish friends trying), who brought so much magic out of those initially lifeless pages I ended up forgetting I wrote it. They even made it look like all the magic and nuance was intentional on my part, which is a total bonus.
The third reason this play is special is a sad one. And impossible to get your head around. A large part of the magic of this play is due to a standout, shining performance by a young actor by the name of Lasairfhíona Kennedy, who plays the character of Triona. Lasairfhíona passed away last weekend, on the day the play was aired on radio.
I have no doubts whatsoever that anyone who hears her performance will immediately recognise it as something special. When I first heard it I was stunned, because I felt like I’d written it for her without even knowing who she was, or that she’d be cast in the role. It’s a definitive and pivotal performance and the fact that this young actor is now lost to us is a tragedy beyond the proportions of either reality or drama.
On a more prosaic note – although I’m conscious there isn’t even a poetic way to move from the sorrow of Lasairfhíona’s passing – I think it’s clear at this point that my blogging has suffered for my writing. I’m beginning to suspect that this is the way it was always supposed to be, for a few different reasons.
If Your Blog Is The Only Thing You’re Writing…
I had a light-hearted meta conversation with my blog last year, explaining to it that certain things were going to get in the way of my attention.
One was the day job, which continues to pay a mortgage that my writing does not. But I’d do a disservice to the day job to relegate it to the wastelands of sheer financial necessity. I like my day job. It’s interesting. It’s a good job in a good organisation, and I like to think I’m good at it. Not to mention the fact that if I was depending on writing for both a reason to get up in the morning and financial stability, I’d be a bloody basket case.
The other main reason that my blog hasn’t been getting attention is because I’ve been writing.
I’ve been revisiting first drafts of novels, some unfinished, some needing refinishing. I’ve been writing brand new radio plays, converting comic sketches into others, and developing long-shelved screenplay treatments into what will hopefully eventually resemble actual screenplays. At one point following a series of what must have been a series of fever dreams combined with locked-down insanity and perhaps some mild poisoning I even wrote a song, but don’t worry, nobody will ever hear that. Ever. EVER.
Oops. Shouting again. Sorry.
Proof I Listen To Advice (no, really)
Meta comedy aside, at some point you have to stop writing about writing, and write.
I remember listening to an author at a literary festival some years back who spoke about enjoying very big success in building an author platform online, and gaining a huge following, only to realise that at the end of the day, none of it mattered.
Because only the book matters, and unless you’re a bona fide internet celebrity with a million followers on Instagram, no agent is ever going to care about anything other than the book being submitted to them. If that doesn’t grab their attention, no blog will.
I think there’s an exception for memoirists, where a blog post or one-off article printed in a newspaper has the ability to go viral and attract the attention of an agent or publisher who will then commission more of the same thing. Possibly an entire book of it. But for those of us writing fiction, the story is the thing. And personally, the more I blogged, the less I wrote.
The Bit Where I Come To A Conclusion
Of course, long-term visitors to this parish will know that I flip-flop more than the opposition when it comes to big pronouncements, opinions, and creative life choices.
By next month, I could well tell you that blogging is the only route to productivity let alone creativity. And that I’m writing a memoir that will contain every dodgy thought I’ve had ever about every person I know. And that I’m taking up running.
But this month, I’m thinking about the fact that for some time, all my energies were directed into writing a radio play which one of the most talented young actors I’ve ever come across wanted to do, even though she was ill. And that words I wrote on a page contributed to a voice and talent being put on record forever. And that means more to me than I can say.