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