Sunday, November 06, 2016

12 Great Irish Canadian Books

Just discovered today that People of the Great Journey is on this list, thanks to CBC Books. See page here as for some reason there's no share to blogger: Chuffed to see myself in there with the likes of Emma Donoghue and Jane Urquhart, two writers I admire hugely. published the list twice, online and on Twitter, for St Patrick's Day March 2016 and Bloomsday June 2016. The latter had this lovely line: whether they're mining their family histories or creating worlds of their own, these 12 Irish Canadian writers would make Joyce proud. Hoping this might have encouraged some Canadian libraries to stock it? (My Public Lending Right statements have yet to show this book on the shelf while all my other books are!)Final question from the grammar police: should there not be a hyphen in the use of Irish-Canadian as an adjective describing books and writers?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

My Amazing Mum

Here's my amazing mother on youtube in a little clip made two years ago when she was 90. She took part in artist Grace Hall's thesis on older women and fashion. I've just completed my book about her heartbreaking death by cancer and the affect it had on my big family as we nursed her through her last journey this summer. She was as extraordinary facing the end of her life as she was in enjoying the full of it. I hope I have captured this well in my book called The Night Shifts, A Tale of Dying, Grief and Family Madness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Proud Mum!

Here's some of the photo shoot my daughter Finn completed today for her cookbook that will be published by Gill Books (@Gill_Books) next year. If you want to know more have a look at (@Fins_Fit_Food). Her recipes are yum. I should know. She cooks for me whenever she visits!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter. Wandering Ireland with my grief and this book, meeting crows along the way. So far a Faerie crow dress in a craft shop on the quay in Kinvarra, a crow on the beach in Bundoran, a crow sculpture in a magical woods. Will post photos of them when I land in next location. Will also be posting them on my Twitter @ormelling1. Now I'm off again after a wonderful visit with Donegal daughter. The road will take care of you, my writer friend Kate Thompson said. And she's right. Grief,the Tour has taken me hemp harvesting in Monaghan, walking the green road and two art exhibitions in Co.Galway, jumping in the Atlantic on Rossnowlaugh Strand ...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Yes, I've entered the 21st century at last, not only with an iphone but now a twitter account. I'm @ormelling1 no mates at the moment but let's see what happens. And bizarre as it may sound, the chief way I am dealing with family tragedy (ref my t'other blog) is obsessively following the UK Labour Party leadership debacle. Firmly on the side of Jeremy Corbyn, of course.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Disappointed with J.K. Rowling

I can't believe J.K. Rowling has joined the supporters of the anti-democratic parliamentary coup against the elected leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. Did she not do her research? Did she not look into the background of Mr Corbyn's opponent's voting patterns, including voting for a cap on welfare benefits? Did she accept the consistent and constant media bias against Mr Corbyn which has been clearly proven by the London School of Economics: Did she not consider Mr Corbyn's overwhelming support amongst the regular Labour party membership, the ordinary people who have suffered Tory austerity policy supported by the Labour Parliamentary Party who are trying to oust Mr Corbyn? Has she not considered the blatant and possibly illegal attempts by Labour's National Executive Committee to shut down democratic support of the embattled leader? Sad to think becoming a billionaire can change one's political leanings or one's concern for the poor, but sure looks like that is what has happened.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Reader Visit!

I love when my readers contact me and it's even more exciting when they arrive in Ireland and we get to meet. Here are Bronwyn and Emma over from Australia having coffee with me in my favourite café in the Albert's Walk, Bray. (It has shelves of books and the best Italian coffee in the country.) Like many of my readers, Bronwyn read my books when she was much younger and never forgot me. There was great chat and laughter and you would never have thought that any of us were strangers.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Books, Books, Books

I've been a very bad blogger, reading scads of books and nary a mention of one. Here's the list with quickie reviews: 1) Ender's Game - just plonked myself on the sofa and read the whole thing in a day. Couldn't stop, the story is so utterly compelling. I had seen the film and thought it rather good despite poor reviews; but, as usual, with the exception of Dr Zhivago (English translation, that is), the book is far better. Orson Scott Card is, of course, an author who should keep his mouth shut - see controversy on his anti-gay stance - but then we all probably should and most of us don't. I followed this book a month or two later with Children of the Mind, the last in the series. The Wicklow County library system doesn't have the other books so I had to extrapolate everything that happened in between the two. Managed all right. I am utterly baffled that Card can be such a deep thinker with such expansive views of the universe and then can be such a dick when it comes to human life on earth. 2) Eileen Gray: Her Work and Her World by Jennifer Goff - big fat tome on Ireland's most famous, brilliant and generally unknown designer. She was recognised in her own time - 1910s-1920s being her heyday, Paris being her venue - and then, like many great women before modern feminism, was forgotten by history (his story). She designed everything from chairs, screens and carpets to apartments and houses. Can't wait to see the collection of her work in Dublin soon. 3) Z, a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler - great read, though upsetting at times as you realise that Zelda would have done so much better in our time. You really hate Ernest Hemingway by the time you finish this one, though that wasn't hard for me as I had read a few of his books - see below - in honour of my Spanish sojourn last summer and soon realised what an overrated, misogynistic, pathetically macho man he was (Zelda's opinion, too, apparently). The saddest thing about this book, however, is the author's note at the back which states that both Scott and Zelda's biographers & critics are divided into two camps, each blaming the one for the downfall of the other. That Zelda was bipolar is now generally accepted and that Scott suffered from alcoholism is also uncontested. Why blame either of these creative, exciting, ultimately doomed artists when the fault lies squarely at the door of two diseases - mental illness and alcoholism? Funny how our society just still doesn't get it, despite all we know of both these afflictions. Most tragic of all, he died of a heart attack at 44, no doubt brought on by alcohol abuse, and she died in a fire in her sanatorium. 3) The Sun Also Rises never in the history of boredom was anyone ever so bored by the boring. And why is it that novelists who happen to be women are always being castigated for writing "Mary Sue's" (the term says it all and yeah, I'm referring to me) when men do it all the time but no one objects, e.g. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce. This is "bare" writing not "spare." As for Death in the Afternoon YAWN except for the poor bulls.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Virtual Chronicles of Faerie

These gorgeous images were created by Mary Pat Lynch aka Aoife Lorefield for the online metaverse Second Life.(The Faerie build was a temporary creation, so no longer there.) She also read from The Hunter's Moon for a blog called the Seanchai Library. The Seanchai is having its eighth anniversary and has set up a number of special readings and events to celebrate. You can check it out here:

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Song for the Hunter's Moon


One of those magical moments that gives you goosebumps: I was working away on the screenplay of The Hunter's Moon with  RTE Lyric FM playing in the background when I slowly grew aware of fey exquisite music and two beautiful female voices. Then came the words the Hunter's Moon was bleeding red the night you left our thorny bed. "Blood Moon" is a strange thrilling fairy tale of a song by Irish duo Saint Sister. Have a listen!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Little Bit of Irish History from 1916 to 2016

There it was hanging on the Ha'Penny Bridge over the River Liffey yesterday for the 80,000 anti-austerity marchers - and everyone else in Dublin - to see. A message from the past, from James Connolly, one of the leaders of the Irish Rebellion in 1916. In many ways it is as relevant today as it was during WWII as Ireland groans under the burden of the German-led European Union's insistence that the Irish people pay for the malfeasance of the Irish and German banks who crashed our economy. An election is coming up next week and nobody knows for certain how it will play out. But one thing is clear. A lot of people in Ireland are totally fed up with the ruling elites of both Ireland and Europe.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Disappointing Don DeLillo

Let's be clear, I adore this writer. I have read just about everything he has written and, until this book, I have never been disappointed. And it's not that this one isn't compelling - I'm still slogging through it - but I am actually SHOCK HORROR bored at times and I have SHOCK HORROR skipped pages. At the same time, there are sections that have had me laughing out loud which has not happened with his other books. Brilliant comedic writing. But in so many passages he seems to be aping Joyce, showing off his brilliance with prose to no meaningful purpose, and wasting my precious reading time. This was written in the 1990s. Was he already that famous that his editor wouldn't touch him? I'm a few weeks with him now when normally I read him in a few days. That says it all.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Don De Lillo, Haruki Murakami and Mary Lawson

Just completed De Lillo's Falling Man. I've been reading this author for years, along with Murakami whose Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage I finished two weeks ago. Both of these authors write in a very similar way about their countries, America and Japan respectively. Their characters are always somewhat psychotic or at least thoroughly alienated and reading these men is like wandering through a strange dream landscape that is mildly disturbing while utterly compelling. One can only wonder what kind of conversations they have. Would love to know. And now for something completely different we have Mary Lawson, a newish Canadian author I've just discovered to my absolute DELIGHT. She started writing in her 50s and doesn't belt them out like the aforementioned men so her enthralled fans just have to wait. Write faster, woman! Only joking. Unbeknownst till too late, I started with the third of her Crow Lake 'trilogy' The Road Ends, But really the books stand alone even though characters wander through the three stories, rather like Kieslowski's Three Colours film trilogy. But oh how I love her writing and her characters and her stories! I was already homesick for Canada with the new Prime Minister Trudeau but Lawson's descriptions of winters in small town Canada made me yearn to return.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Angelina Jolie's By the Sea

I took two nights to watch this, not because I found it difficult or boring but because I wanted to savour it. Very like reading a novel. It's slow and subtle, elegant and beautifully shot. Hemingway would have liked it, I think, the spare dialogue and the intensity of the characters. More European than American, it's the kind of film Charlotte Rampling usually stars in. The American critics have savaged it en masse. They like to run in packs, like ravening wolves, but are rarely right when it comes to something beyond conventional fashion, something different. Something extraordinary. I predict By the Sea will be reassessed in years to come