Listowel Writers’ Week

The first time I went to Listowel Writers’ Week I felt like a seal who, after a year in the desert, had suddenly found the ocean. I flipped and twirled, giddy with excitement, going into pubs and restaurants alone, as EVERYWHERE I went there was someone to chat to about writing. I had my first dinner with a poet and his father, the second I had with a famous Russian poet (who I had never heard of, and whose name, I’m sorry, I still can’t remember). I didn’t worry about whether I was flirting with a man or if he were with me. We were talking, as equals, about a shared passion and that’s all there was to it.
My teacher, that year, was Martin Malone. He told me I had talent and if I persevered I would get published. Up until then I had written on my own, not believing myself to be a ‘real’ writer, but knowing that I had to do it anyway. His words kept me going.
Today is the opening of Writers’ Week and I would normally be driving down to Listowel, my car filled with notebooks, warm jackets and perhaps a boogie board to hit the local waves. But not this year. Tomorrow I am teaching my own Creative Writing classes in Dublin, however, before long, I plan to attend Writers’ Week again, and next time, if they’ll have me, I want to be one of the tutors!