As someone who likes traditions and loves voting its no surprise that Im a huge Eurovision fan. This year, I have been lucky enough to team up with Adrian Kavanagh in order to produce 'The 2013 Eurovision Handbook'. As many of you will know Adrian is one of the best statistical minds there is and his research on Eurovision is just amazing stuff.
Let me get one thing straight before I start. You know that phrase, “it’s not you… it’s me”?
Well I’m fairly sure it’s you!
I used to have so much fun with you. You were a place for great craic, plenty of banter and discussion about stuff I knew little about. I was ok with that, it was an education. I followed lots of people for lots of reasons and created my lists so I could look at writers and family and Christians etc separately if I wanted to.
I’ve spent a lot of time building my profile in your world. I’m no Nicki Minaj (on many levels) but 3000 followers is not nothing – and me trying to establish myself as some sort of writer, it’s a good place to be in.
I’ve met some clever people along the way, with differing views about differing subjects. Sometimes I was brave enough to chip in, other times I’d just sit and watch it go by.
I remember the first time I saw #vinb. I thought the world had gone mad. I watched the programme a couple of times and quickly realised it wasn’t for me. But the hashtag was enough anyway. At first it was entertaining to see folk set their hair on fire about stuff. Then I noticed #rtept, #marian, #miriam and #twip, and it seemed some folk only appeared on Twitter when these hashtags were burning bright.
Something changed a few months ago and suddenly you weren’t so much fun anymore. A couple of topics rose to the surface and you became a place where I had to put up or shut up. Differing opinions were no longer welcome. The minority voice which in economic and social subjects was championed, was now told to be silent.
The senator, the professor, the clergymen, the I.I. director and most of that ilk get hauled over the coals every time they open their mouths. Insulted, criticised, mocked and hung out to dry. On the rare occasion someone gets a slap on the wrist for mocking, the wagons are circled… “poor you – how could anyone be so mean….?”
Eh, yeah… that was my question, but about you – not to you.
I tried to be brave and stepped in a few times, but I was out of my depth. I watch as the overzealous fringe of Christian opinion is regularly dragged through your streets RT’d and RT’d again so everyone can have a good laugh.
In that last few days I’ve watched the RTs stack up of the clip of the New Zealand MP and his hilarious account of some of the contact he’s had from people who disagreed with him. He had the whole of the chamber in stitches laughing as he described some of the comments, he did a clever science experiment & used a Bible verse to seal the deal (completely out of context, but hey the Christians do it; so what?!). It was like an episode of Mock the Week, or is it ‘mock the weak’?
I suppose I could just unfollow a load of people, or re-jig my lists. Grab one of my gay friends who I love (and who love me back) and ask them to assure you that I’m not homophobic. Explain how love for family, childlessness, & love for life are as much reasons for my prolife stance as any Bible verse I may wave at you. But Twitter, you steal my voice, you silence me. I sit at an empty blog post, finger poised over the keyboard and I can’t speak. I swore only a year ago that I’d never let that happen again.
When I finally realised I was a writer and said it out loud for the first time, I was determined never to let anyone convince me other wise. I was going to say what I wanted to say. But you put a stop to that. Or maybe I just let you.
Either way, you stifle me. You smother me. You make me cry. And if you were a boyfriend…. any true friend of mine would be asking me why I haven’t dumped you a long time ago.
The annoying thing is that you’re exactly like that crazy boyfriend I used to have – I’m finding it really hard to let you go, even though I know you’re bad for me and things are about to get a whole lot worse.
@auntyamo needs a break from you. Let’s see if I can live without you for a while.
I’ll miss you – a bit.
P.S Thanks to all the Tweeters who noticed my recent comments about leaving and were nice enough to say ‘don’t go’. If you really can’t live without me follow @amowriting But it’s a politics free zone. God knows I need it!
Because I come from Argentina and I come from the same city as Pope Francis, I have found that people like to ask me what I think of him or share with me articles or interviews, and I am grateful for that. I had never heard of Jorge Bergoglio before as I haven't lived in Buenos Aires now for 29 years.
So I’ll be spending every day writing on my fiction blog Ficticious Amo and reading the chosen book for the Dublin One City One Book which is Strumpet City.
Do pop over to Ficticious Amo if you miss me won’t you…
On Good Friday evening I was at our church service. I had one of those experiences that you hear people talk about… I’ve heard this song a million times but today one of the lines jumped out at me.
We were singing the hymn ‘My Song is Love Unknown’, written by Samuel Crossman (1623-1683). It’s been recorded by a number of people but I particularly love Keith and Kristyn Getty’s version of it. She has a beautiful voice.
So there I was, singing away – not like Kristyn Getty – the first verse says this…
My song is love unknown
my Saviour’s love for me
Love to the loveless giv’n, that they might lovely be…
and like I say, I’ve heard and sung it so many times; but I couldn’t sing anymore cos it struck me that I’ve always wanted to be lovely.
It is a vain wish, but I’ve always wanted to be beautiful.
As you probably know, I have many gorgeous nieces. There is a vague family resemblance to one or two of them, but I share an identical crooked tooth with one of them. Recently she pointed at mine and said, “Did you give that to me?” I was proud to say that I did and I’m delighted to have even the tiniest resemblance to this gorgeous girl.
Now before you give me all your, “Ah Amo you ARE lovely, would you stop!” (which I presume, well… hope, you’re all geared up for ) I’m not saying I think I’m plug ugly. I just have this immature wish to be gorge!
The song stopped me in my tracks because it’s another thing that has been accomplished by the love of Christ, shown in His death and resurrection of Christ.
It has made us lovely.
My crooked tooth is only one on a long, very very long list of imperfections.
But on this Easter Day I am reminded that I am loved; and lovely.
I was never a great one for preserving stuff for Sunday best. If I bought something new , I didn’t want to wait until Sunday to wear it; I wanted to wear it leaving the shop. I think my mother despaired of me a lot of the time cos she felt I’d no respect for my stuff; or myself. As a child I often had to be told to go back upstairs to clean my nails again and when I was a teen dressed in sloppy black clothes and equally sloppy make up, she just used to sigh and shake her head. I’d wear raggedy old jeans with my brand new top and she’d say, “would you not keep that top for something special?!” It never occurred to me…
Good things had to be kept for good days. The ’Sunday best’ concept comes from the same idea. In days when people spent their days up to their eyeballs in coal dust, farmland muck and terry towling nappies to wash, many people only had one set of ‘good’ clothes and they were for Sunday; when no one ‘worked’ and most folk went to church.
Another thing that used to drive my mam mad was when I wore ‘good’ clothes to do messy work. If I was forced to clean the car, help in the garden, tidy my room or even wash the dishes (none of these things were ever done willingly), her first comment was always, “would you not change out of those clothes first?!” So not only had I to do stuff I didn’t want to, but I had to do it wearing clothes I didn’t want to wear.
Can you see what a nightmare I was to live with….? (WAS? )
And weren’t we all taught not to spoil anything good to clean up a mess? If the washing machine floods all over the floor we don’t run for the new fluffy white towels that we bought last week. We get the old ones that we don’t mind parting with. We don’t get a brand new 100% cotton sheet from the hotpress and put it over the sofa while we paint the ceiling. We go rummaging til we find an old worn one with a hole in it that we were planning to throw out any way.
It’s Good Friday and Christians around the world use this day to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. There was no way around it, sin had to be atoned for. The Old Testament (OT) shows how God’s creation was spoiled and from that moment He was working out His plan to redeem mankind. The OT is long and complicated in many ways but really it’s the story of a journey. The people of God learning the pure and perfect requirements of a Holy God and spending most of their time doing the opposite of what they were told to do. All the time God kept sending people to say, “No, not that way… THIS way.”
The message of the prophets was a continual call for repentance. But for the people of God, repenting in their own strength was a bit like using old, raggedy towels trying to clean up the mess. Every time it seemed clean again. There’d be another spillage and another clean up was needed.
Then God did something strange but beautiful. He took the best thing he had and laid it down to clean up the mess. Like a snow-white towel on a filthy wet flooded floor, Jesus took all the mess and dirt upon himself. He was buried in a tomb covered in the manky dross of the world – past, present and future. And as if that wasn’t fantastic enough… three days later he came back out of the tomb and he was snow-white again.
Give it some thought this weekend! I know the world doesn’t look like there’s anything ‘snow white’ at the moment. But I’d urge you to lift your eyes and look up. Look at the Cross. Look at Jesus and consider how God used the best that He had to clean up a mess.
He held nothing back because He loves you.
Did you hear that?
He loves you!
Happy Easter x
Last night I had another in a long list of #proudaunty moments. My nephew Bobby played the lead role in The Now and Then Production Company’s (N&T) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He was joined by a fantastic cast and crew in St. Mary’s Priory, Tallaght, Dublin.
I was on the same stage 14 years ago in a performance of The Song of Mark and a lot of the folk on stage last night, were there with me back in the day. So as well as a great night of entertainment, it was a bit of a reunion. None of us have changed a bit by the way… ahem *coughs
The 11 brothers were a total hoot, the 4 narrators were fabulous – amazing voices, the orchestra, pit singers and cute-as-a-button children’s choir produced wonderful music and the dancing was just great!
But as well as the ‘big production’, N&T want to bring gospel stories to life. Last night was also about the message within the story of Joseph. Scorned and duped by his brothers, pursued by an unfaithful woman, punished unjustly and jailed. Then, when everything was restored and Joseph’s brothers were grovelling at his feet (as Joseph’s dreams had predicted years earlier…) this was his response.“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Genesis 50:19-21 NIV
I had a really busy day today. I spent a lot of it in the car which gives great time for thinking. And I thought about the message of Joseph – how horrible circumstances inflicted upon us by others can be used by God to bring about great things.
It’s not always easy to believe or put into practise so it’s great to be reminded that “for those who love God all things work to gether for good.” Romans 8:28 ESV
Huge congratulations to everyone involved. It’s great to see The Now and Then Production Company back on the stage. If you’re looking for more information you can check out their blog and their Facebook group.
For I know I shall find my own peace of mind, for I have been promised a land of my own.