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This week I at­tended my first ever cre­ative writ­ing class. Hid­den in the depths of jour­nal­ists’ souls are de­jected wannabe writ­ers with dreams of best- sell­ing nov­els. Or so I hear. There are myths and le­gends about the ones that make it in the real world. “You know ( in­sert best- sell­ing au­thor’s name)? He used to work here; I ac­tu­ally sat be­side him for a while. Some­times we talked about books we’d write over Cully and Sully mi­crowave soups.”

My course is three weeks’ long so it prob­a­bly won’t be my di­rect path to star­dom. My class­mates in­clude a poet, a school prin­ci­pal and a PhD in English lit­er­a­ture. It’s not just jour­nal­ists with tor­tured souls. Late at night, we meet in a brightly- lit class­room, and sit in a semi- cir­cle on small un­com­fort­able plas­tic chairs. We wear name tags. We read ex­cerpts from old books. We talk about what stops us from writ­ing. Feel­ings come up a lot. It’s cathar­tic.

The pro­fes­sor sug­gests we start keep­ing di­aries. Not the “Dear Di­ary, to­day I had a ham sand­wich” type; jour­nals of in­ter­est­ing things seen or heard. Fa­cial ex­pres­sions, lit­tle chunks of con­ver­sa­tion from the Dart. The way a leaf looks in a pud­dle.

I kept di­aries un­til the age of 22. Very few leaves made an ap­pear­ance, but there were plenty of Dart con­ver­sa­tions. Those di­aries are the most em­bar­rass­ing things I own. I’d save them in a fire but I’d fold my­self in­side out if any­one read them. I was so sin­cere. I was so an­noy­ing. Ev­ery sec­ond page is a dec­la­ra­tion of love (“It’s real this time, when you know you just know”). I was very brave (“I’m go­ing to tell him that I love him, it doesn’t mat­ter if he doesn’t feel the same af­ter a week”). I was very stupid (“I’ve de­cided money doesn’t ac­tu­ally mat­ter to me”). I wish I was still like that.

Imag­ine how many pages are gath­er­ing dust in homes. All those feel­ings grow­ing old and yel­low. My class­mates and I will con­tinue to meet once the course is over. Once a week I will put down my phone, pick up a pen­cil ( re­mem­ber those?) and add fresh pages to the pile. I’m ac­tu­ally quite look­ing for­ward to the un­com­fort­able chairs and chats about feel­ings. Do you have sug­ges­tions for what Do­minique should try next? Email your ideas to dm­c­mul­lan@ irish­times. com Mag­a­zine Novem­ber 4, 2017 Have you ever looked at a cook­book or menu and thought: this is just tak­ing things too far? Push fur­ther still into the realms of the fan­tas­ti­cal, and you’ll find The Do­mes­tic God­less.

The trio of artists ( Stephen Bran­des, Mick O’Shea – pic­tured – and Irene Mur­phy) take fussy food with an ir­rev­er­ent pinch of salt.

Their recipes in­clude Sea Urchin Pot Noo­dle, Carpac­cio of Gi­ant African Land Snail, Hot Dog Ice Cream, and Sea Let­tuce Vodka.

A mem­o­rable feast saw a 30 me­tre canal of sewage duct­ing serv­ing dishes in­spired by mem­o­ries of mis­er­able sum­mer hol­i­days. Get a taste at Craw­ford Gallery un­til Novem­ber 25th, and book for spe­cial food events at craw­fordgallery. ie. Their new “cook­book” will also be avail­able from the gallery, ¤ 25. the­do­mes­tic­god­less. com If you’re or­gan­is­ing a Christ­mas get to­gether but you’re not mad about silly jumpers and boozy din­ners then this might be for you. The Crate are host­ing work­shops around Dublin through­out Novem­ber and De­cem­ber where you cre­ate your own wreath, while en­joy­ing a glass of bub­bles. Think less plas­tic ivy and tacky baubles and more fresh eu­ca­lyp­tus and dis­creet sparkle. In keep­ing with The Crate’s wild­flower style aes­thetic, you’ll dec­o­rate nat­u­ral wil­low wreaths with au­tum­nal fo­liage, mak­ing a piece to keep for­ever. Work­shops ¤ 60 per per­son. the­crate. ie

Do­minique McMul­lan

Gemma Tip­ton

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