It’s a Long way to Tipperary . . . But Further To Dingle.

Last weekend saw me running a workshop from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon on the beautiful, craggy coast of Dingle. I maintain that I ran the course with the usual airy grace one would expect from someone with my sunny disposition. Dingle Pic for BlogBut the eleven wordsmiths doing the course assured me it was more akin to a creative boot camp, groaning as they clutched their aching brains (better them than me, I say). We agreed to differ. They produced some excellent work over the three days and came up with some fantastic ideas. I hope each came away from it inspired to write their opus . . . and not severely disillusioned with the fickle and lunatic-strewn world of children’s publishing.

On Wednesday and Thursday I was in Tipperary, doing a session in the library in Nenagh and a school in Roscrea on the first day and then a school in Borrisokane (sounds like an Irish 1960’s horror actor, doesn’t it?) and the spanking new library in Templemore on the second day. The kids were good craic and the staff in all four venues were friendly and welcoming. In Templemore, I also purchased some of the best grapes I have ever tasted (not in the library obviously, I bought those in a shop).

On Monday, I’ll be spectating at a conference on the importance of the arts to society, attended by big noises such as Director of the Arts Council and the Minister for Transport. It’s entitled ‘Féach’ (the Irish for ‘Look’, for all you non-Irish bods), although given the way the arts are about to have all their money taken off them, ‘Oh Feck’ might be more appropriate.

On Thursday, I’ll be in Dundrum and Stillorgan Libraries where I’ll be doing my usual to audiences who hopefully haven’t heard my tired old jokes before – there have to be a few people still left out there.

Work has sort of ground to a halt, as it so often does during Children’s Book Festival (I can get tired just THINKING about October sometimes), but I’m getting bits done here and there. Writing ‘The Vile Desire to Scream’, editing the first two books in the ‘The Top Secret Can’t-Tell-You-Or-I’d-Have-To-Kill-You Project’ (need a shorter name for that) and will soon start editing and illustrating ‘Mad Grandad’s Doppelganger’. I’m working on a couple of new articles too.

On Friday (tomorrow) I’ll be voting on the Lisbon Treaty. If you’re too young to vote, you’re lucky – enjoy your youth. But bear in mind that someday people your age will be in charge. Some of them will be complete prats, but others will be okay. I’m sure you’d like to have a say in who takes charge and what they do.

If you don’t care about the Lisbon Treaty because it bores or confuses you, I can’t really blame you – the arguments certainly confound me. If you can vote, you should, whichever side you take. I’m voting yes because the treaty will make the EU more democratic, it means more of the politicians’ decisions will have to be made out in the open and it keeps a growing Europe workable. That’s all I have to say about that, because it’s politics and it bores most young people to death (which is a problem if they’re going to be taking over, isn’t it?).

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