Five Minute Friday – Rhythm

Here we go with this week’s Five Minute Friday
Five minutes of unedited, non stop writing on this week’s given theme ‘Rhythm’

I’m very strict when it comes to timing.
I don’t mean time keeping, I’m rubbish at that. No, I mean rhythm…

I teach singing and guitar and I’m always trying to drum it in to my pupils (pardon the pun) – the importance of keeping the beat. The whole thing falls apart if the beat isn’t right.

Rhythm… it’s all about the rhythm… No point in 12 quick beats and then nothing for a few seconds and them some more rushed timing. Steady, steady as she goes.

rhythm medium_3194792639At the moment I’m up to my eyes in writing deadlines. Which is hugely exciting for me. I don’t get paid to write – not yet anyway 🙂 but I’m ok with that. I love it. Have found my thing. But I have come to the conclusion that I have to get in to a rhythm. I can’t do nothing for a few days and then try to cobble stuff together.
If I’m gonna take this seriously well… I have to take it seriously.

I need to heed my own words and get into some steady timing, a regular flow, then who knows what fabulous lyrics and melody will follow?

Five Minute Friday

photo credit: pippoapg via photopin cc

Dear Twitter…

Dear Twitter

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.

A x

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! 

The Next Big Thing – celebrating my 100!


Welcome to my 100th wordpress blog post!
And I’m just 100 or so views from 10,000 so this is a momentous… erm… moment for me!
I was wondering what significant wisdom I could bring to you when I reached the century; and perfect timing – here is my The Next Big Thing post.

The Next Big Thing is an online blogging chain. It helps writers promote and introduce other writers and highlight whatever they are working on. There’s a list of questions to answer and then the writer of the moment picks others to pass the torch on to; or ‘tag them’ to use the technical term…

I’ve mainly seen authors do it and the blog posts have made great reading. I was not a little delighted to be  ‘tagged’ by Trish Nugent! Trish is one of my many Twitter connections that I haven’t actually met. If you use Twitter then you’ll know that there are some folk you chat to more than others. And some you get on with more than others! Trish is one of my Twitter friends that I would love to meet and drink coffee (or wine) with. We’re hoping it won’t take too long for that to happen 🙂

Trish is a part-time actress and writer, and a full-time wife and mum. She lives in Dublin and you can read her blog here.

So let’s get this show on the road!

My Next Big Thing Well to be honest the next big thing I need to write is my Masters Dissertation. I’m doing a Masters in Applied Theology with the Irish Bible Institute. Before I start a great literary work, or even a terrible one, I need to finish my M.A.
Other than that I have two blogs on the go. I guest post for a couple of places regularly and I also write a regular piece for VOX Magazine. My first article appeared in the Jan 2013 of WHOA Women magazine in the US and I’m hoping to have a regular spot there too. Details of all that stuff can be found here

What is the title of your book dissertation? Well the title is not worked out yet as dissertation titles can be a bit wordy, but it’s something along the lines of “The connection between the attitude to suffering and ‘spiritual development/maturity’ using the Apostle Peter as an example”

HOWEVER, If I were to write a book it might be called something like, “The Chocolate Conspiracy”

Where did the idea come from for the dissertation/book? The idea came from my own experience really. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I can’t have children. That is the issue that I wrestle with most in my Christian life. I have 27 nieces and nephews and no kids of my own.
I suppose it’s a search really to see if an increase in one’s spiritual maturity gives you a more ‘Jesus-like’ attitude to the sufferings of life. Mine, compared to others are very mild. But they are mine and I haven’t handled the sadness well over the years. I’m hoping that the research and writing of this paper will help me make my journey towards acceptance.

The idea for “The Chocolate Conspiracy” came from a biscuit tin. I was eating a biscuit, from said biscuit tin and I thought… I bet chocolate is actually good for us and that story is being repressed by a South American mafia with connections to Eastern European gangs… Voila! 🙂

What genre does your dissertation/book fall under?
Dissertation – Christian Spirituality
Book – Crime/thriller/nonsense

Give me the preciouuuuussssss!
Give me the preciouuuuussssss!

Which actors would you choose in a movie rendition of your book?
ok the dissertation is NOT going to be made into a film… but the book?

Well obviously I’ll be played by the guy who played Jabba the Hut.
My psychiatrist will be played by Colin Firth (love interest)
And all the baddies will be played by your woman who played the little dark curly-haired barmaid in Cheers. (There’s a ‘cloning’ subplot that I’m in danger of giving away here so I’ll stop.)

What is the one sentence synopsis for your dissertation/book?
Dissertation – “How did the Apostle Peter go from being the man who tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem and denied him – to the man who wrote 1Peter, such as 4v14 ‘rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.’?”

Book – The truth they didn’t want you to know… chocolate is good… lettuce isn’t!

How long did it take you to write a first draft?
I haven’t written a draft of either, but it’s all up here. *taps side of head
The dissertation (20,000 words) will hopefully be researched and written in 2013

What other books would you compare yours to within your genre?
War and Peace, Ulysses and The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Who or what inspired you to write this dissertation/book?
Dissertation – as I mentioned above, my own experience
Book – as I mentioned above, the biscuit tin. It spoke to me, called out to me in the night, followed me on Twitter… I couldn’t escape!

What else about your dissertation/book might piqué you readers’ interest?
Dissertation – If you’re not into theology, probably not much! But I do hope to answer the question!
Book – Hidden within the text will be a DaVinci type code that when found will actually be a bar code giving you 20% off your next purchase of chocolate HobNobs.
(Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability, all rights reserved, please get an adult to help you when using a scissors etc etc )

When and how will it be published?
Dissertation – well there’ll only be three copies. One for marking, one for the college library and one for my ego shelf. After that it’ll be a pdf!
Book – on papyrus, or that sugary paper you can eat!

OK!!! Enough of my nonsense – let me introduce you to my Three Musketeers
Helen Hamill
– IMHO this lady does not realise what a great writer she is! She has two blogs and her honesty and openness amazes me every time I read her stuff.
Helen was born and lives in Enniskillen. She is a trained teacher, musician and singer. She  holds the position of Director of Music with St Michael’s Church Choir. Her choir performed last year for Her Majesty the Queen, and have recently performed solo on BBC Songs of Praise.
She’s mam to 4 brilliant children and has been married to Jimmy for 24 years.
She tweets (a bit too often she says) @helenhamill
4 words to describe her… direct, honest, hardworking and driven.
She has two blogs, one about a medical condition she is battling her way through and one she co-writes with her 12-year-old son who is as he puts it “autistic and proud”!

Reclaim the Voice – now I don’t always agree with this guy. But I do love what he writes. He has made me laugh, shout at my computer screen in frustration, sit silently trying not to cry and think about things I’ve never thought of.
Here’s what he says about his blog… “This Blog, is a place, where words, thoughts, and feelings will exist, who the writer is, is not necessary, let the words speak for themselves, take them as you find them. Sometimes they will be passionate, political, poetic, however, above all,
hopefully provoking.” Take a look for yourself… 🙂

Carolann Copland – we met not long after I realised that I should be taking writing seriously. Although I haven’t read any of her writing, spending time at her Writing Centre and learning from her has been just fantastic.
Carolann is the founder of Carousel Creates; offering writing experiences to writers of all ages and lifestyles. She has a B.Ed in English and Drama and has been a teacher for thirteen years. Carolann has learned her writing craft under authors such as Siobhan Parkinson, Patricia O’ Reilly, Conor Kostick, Orna Ross, Niall Williams and Claire Hennessy.
She is a mother of three children aged nine to twenty-one.  Through mentoring writers of all ages; from all walks of life; Carolann is happiest when she is sharing her passion for writing.
Website: Blog:
Twitter: @carouselcreates


A Win-Win Weekend!

I won a signed copy of Louise’s book while I was there 🙂
Last weekend I went to a wonderful Weekend Writer’s Retreat in Carousel Creates. I met some great people including the lovely Louise Phillips, author of Red Ribbons.
I’d actually won the weekend. When booking a 1 Day Retreat, I entered the competition on the website. The challenge was to write a piece entitled ‘I am a Writer’ – 300 words or less. I knew I wanted to be one, but wasn’t sure that I could say that I was one…
So I wrote something quickly and entered the competition before I had time to change my mind… and it came 1st… yeay! Here it is 🙂

I am a Writer

I said if for the first time recently. It was actually in a fairly heated email exchange. I was trying to explain to my friend why my Facebook page was suddenly flooded with mentions of my blog and other stuff I’m working on. Typing fervently on autopilot I said “Maggie, I am a writer! That is what I do and it just happens that lately I’ve had more opportunities and I’ve wanted to share that…. !

Reading back before hitting the Send button I was shocked at that phrase. “I am a writer” I couldn’t believe I’d said it out loud. I’ve been wanting to for so long. But there’s a voice in my head, telling me how presumptuous I am to even think it.

When I meet new people I introduce myself in terms of my work, my husband and my faith. I never put ‘writer’ into that initial summary of who I am. Eventually talk of my blog will come out, or I’ll start to talk about my MA studies and what I hope to do afterwards. Once someone actually said…
“You’re not Annmarie Miles who writes for Vox are you?”
Yes that’s me… quite happy for you to say it, but I couldn’t possibly…

So who decides when a bloggette, a woman with a head full of stories, a gal who can run you up a song as quick as a sandwich, a complicated missis with the desire to make folk laugh but not be laughed at…. who decides when she can call herself a writer?

Maybe I can give myself permission to say it out loud. I just need to practise saying it in the mirror. I need to get used to the sound of my own voice uttering those words.


I want to wriiiiiiiite!
From November 1st I’m going from full time to part time in my job. So I’m going to have a lot more time. I feel the need to take this writing stuff seriously. Watch this space…
 (Please note: you’ll probably be ages watching this space before anything happens – feel free to go off for a coffee or something. The space will most likely still be here when you get back :D)

Group Therapy

It was with a spring in my step that I made my way to one of our local pubs here in Kilcullen to join the newly reformed Kilcullen Writer’s Group. I just happened to spot a mention of it on the The Diary and thought… I’ll have some of that thank you!

At the recent Culture Night event held in the town, members of the original group had been inspired to restart it. Perfect timing for me – and very considerate of them to hold it just a short walk from my house 🙂

There were 5 of us (with an extra 2/3 promising to come to the next one). All women and all with different writing experiences and styles. It was so nice to chat with folk who ‘get it’! This is still relatively new for me and already I feel I’ve bored anyone who’s not into the writing thing! We discussed inspiration, disappointment, what we read, writer envy, pen & paper v computer, courses & retreats, and we all read something we’d written.

To type or to scribble?!

We talked for about two hours and laughed for most of it. Already there’s an excursion on the cards and even the possibility of getting involved in Kilcullen’s contribution to The Gathering festivities…

It was all very encouraging & inspiring and just what I need as I contemplate some big changes coming my way – more on that anon.

Suffice to say, I’ve found the perfect therapy group. I go along, confidently stand up and say “Hello I’m Annmarie”, (nod at responses.. Hi Annmarie) “and yes… I am a writer”. And the great thing group is… I don’t even have to quit my addiction!

What a Day!

Well folks my Grafton Media Blog Awards Ireland journey has ended for this year – as I haven’t made the finals. Big thanks to the organisers who have been working very hard. And they’re not finished yet! Congratulations and best of luck to all the finalists! Keep an eye on #bloggm for further updates.

Despite the disappointment, yesterday was a fantastic day. I spent it at a Carousel Creates Writer’s Retreat. It’s a fabulous place in the most idyllic setting. The views are as promised, inspiring.  I met a small group of writers, all at different ages and stages of life and writing. It was great to chat and learn from others. There was plenty of coffee, lovely food and a walk up towards (but not all the way to) the Hell Fire Club. (For those not familiar with the HFC, its an old building with some interesting history, perched on Montpelier Hill in the Dublin /Wicklow mountains – google at will ;))

One of the beautiful views I could see as I was writing and thinking about writing 😀

The main aim of the day was to get some serious writing done. So although we walked, talked and ate, we spent most of out time typing/writing away. I had asked on FB and Tw for suggestions for titles of short pieces to write in the morning session. I wanted to see how well I could ‘write on demand’. I’m used to being able to pick my own titles… So of the long list I ended up with, I picked 4.

This is normal life, it’s not easy – suggested by Trish Nugent
The hardest thing I ever had to do – suggested by Karen Mulreid
There’s a mouse in the house – suggested by errrr, can’t remember (or find it on FB/Tw)
The Redemption of Knicker Elastic – suggested by Rhoda Doyle Yeomans

There’s some voting on FB as to which one goes up first… add a comment if you want to pick one. There were plenty more and I’ve added them to my pot of ideas for the future. 🙂

I had decided that in the afternoon, I was going to spend time thinking about the ‘humour’ side of stuff I write and try to work out if it’s something I can do ‘on demand’ or something I can only do spontaneously when I’m in a good mood. But a conversation at lunch changed all that. We started to talk about Moone Boy; how Chris O’Dowd had written this story based on his childhood, but not totally autobiographical.

Me and my niece around 1978 I think…

That got me thinking about a biography based on my dad’s life rather than a real life biography. But then with so many in the family it would take me years to get the ok for each chapter 😉 Then I thought… well someone else then! Who’s life can I write about that I won’t have to get the ok for? Oh… yeah… me..! So I spent the afternoon randomly scribbling the first few thoughts on a story based on my own childhood. I took memories that I have and merged them with a bit of made-up stuff. I genuinely don’t know if I have a talent for fiction but I think this is worth giving a go. Who know… I may end up with classic… Moone Girl maybe? I might even drum up the courage to post a section of it on the fiction blog… someday!

I ended yesterday with a host of new ideas. It was a great salve to the ouch of not getting into the finals. So… I shall write on 😉

Put up your dukes! I’m fighting for my writes!

I’ve no idea what to blog about this week! Actually that’s not true, I’ve plenty of ideas  – just this evening I was comtemplating  writing a short biography on someone I only met about a month ago! I’ve had to put it off though, he’s not sure he’s up for being my ‘blog fodder! 😀 #youknowwhoyouare!

It’s not that I can’t think of anything to write about, it’s just that I’ve been reading all these articles about blogging and not blogging and why you blog and how to blog and what to blog and what not to blog and blog views and readers and followers and unfollowers…. and whaaaaaat? Is it that complicated? I’m not sure if I know how to blog now! 😦

Since I decided to enter the Grafton Media Blog Awards Ireland my nerves have been in shreds. The stress, the tension, what if I don’t make the shortlist? What if I DO make the short list? What if all I’ve done is bring people to the blog only for them to rubbish me? What if I AM rubbish? That’s it I’m rubbish… I can’t write! I’m deleting this blog… and the other one… and everything else I’ve ever written. And here… throw that laptop in the bin… NO burn it! BURN IT ALL!!!!

Those voices that cause the above mental anguish are very loud and very persistent. You know them don’t you? The ones that tell you how rubbish you are at the thing you dare to hope to be good at. And as time goes on it’s getting worse. So much so that each subject I’ve contemplated blogging on this week has been swatted like a fly on a Louisiana porch.
It started like this…

Maybe I’ll write about that fantastic gig I went to last Friday
“No one would read that!”
Sorry??? who said that?
“You did! You said it yourself, you know well no one would read it. You love music but you’re no expert. And who’s gonna want to hear your opinion on music anyway?”
oh.. eh.. well yeah… true I suppose. I could write a post about the weather – a funny one.
“You’re not funny.”
Huh? What?! I AM funny, amn’t I?
“Come on, if you were funny you wouldn’t have added ‘amn’t I?’ Anyway, the weather is old news. You couldn’t possibly say anything that hasn’t been said that would make ANYONE laugh.  Just don’t blog”
Whaddywhawha? Why not?
“There’s no point, just don’t bother”
Oh… ok then :/

The increase in the desire to and love for writing is directly connected with the increase in the power of the voices. Now you know I believe in God but I’m not saying this is some sort of spiritual attack. However, I do believe there is a Devil out there who’d love to destroy me, but most of the time he’s happy enough to annoy me and make me doubt myself. But whether it is external evils, or my own inner ones… it feels like there’s a battle going on.

And it’s a fight I’m willing to take on. This is something I want to do and get better at.
It doesn’t matter if at this stage I’m merely ‘ok’ at all this, or not even as good as that. I can learn and practise and learn some more. And get better.

And in the mean time… bring it on! I’m going to keep up the fight. And I’ve got some ‘suggestion swatting’ of my own to be doing! Starting with the negative ones!

Amo’s Believe it or Not!

I’ve decided to dabble in fiction! Yes, the truth it seems is not enough for me now. I’ve developed an itch to try my hand at a bit of story telling. I know… hard to believe!

(this stuff writes itself really…)

One of the more nagging things about the Christian life for me is the ‘insistance’ of truth. Now I don’t mean the ‘I’m right and your wrong’ type stuff. That’s a whole other rubik’s cube of delight :/ No I mean that the individual should live a life that is true. No telling lies. Accepting a situation as it is. Loving people as they are. Believing that God is real and present. There’s plenty of room for dreaming and envisioning what could be, but it’s vital to have honesty in the ‘now’. It took a long time to get used to that because I daydreamed a lot as a kid.

I didn’t have imaginery friends. I pretended that real people I knew, liked me more than they actually did, or thought I was cool, or wanted to hang out with me or go out with me.

I used to imagine complciated scenarios where I’d be rescued by famous people. I’ll only tell you this one and you’re NOT to laugh! But… I had a fully scripted imaginery scenario (on repeat in my head) that the drummer from Frankie Goes to Hollywood (yes the ugly guy with the perm and the tash) ran to my rescue at a Frankie concert (which I never went to) cos some other fans were trying to steal from me. I got a VIP pass to the after party which had lots of St. Ledger (it was all I drank at the time!) and crisps!

Yes my friends, the inside of my head did and continues to hold a menagerie of nonsense!

Anyway… welcome to Ficticious Amo! It is my new blog where I will make stuff up. I’ve only posted a couple of things. I’ve a couple others that are entered into comps so they can’t go up yet. I will add more soon.

Would love love love, some suggestions, scenarios – funny or otherwise to get me rolling with this stuff.

I did spend a short time wondering if ‘making stuff up’ was going to be good for me. But then I thought hang on, if it sheds a few pounds it’s GOT TO be good for me! All I have to do is choose the weight I WANT to be and make sure to post it in the right blog 🙂

But you know the ironic thing about all this… there are people who thought I was WAY cool and I never noticed. I only found out a few years ago that one of my nieces took ‘Annmarie’ as her confirmation name  cos of how cool I was. I’ve spoken to people who would have loved to hang around but me but didn’t cos they thought I was too popular and ‘zany’ to want them to talk to me.

I spoke to one guy who is STILL single cos he chickened out of asking me out at a school disco and hasn’t fancied anyone else since!

I made that last bit up by the way! This fiction stuff is a doddle! 🙂