This woman

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God I can talk. I don’t know how long I could talk for if I didn’t have to stop. I always have to stop. I am a woman. Most of the time I feel able for the days, but when I am possessed by my hormones the hard surface cracks and hot lava bubbles up and out of me, hissing and snapping all around.

March 9, 2022

The man outside my window

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My eldest son is petrified of rats. He has seen three in his eight years of existence, and each sighting is branded into his memory and painfully recollected; one in his friend's back garden, one underneath a crisp packet in the bin at his school, and one at the edge of a stream in a park in Dublin. He sleeps in an attic room in our house and he stays up for hours past his bedtime, imagining every little scratch or tap that he hears is a rat crawling up the wall.

January 18, 2022

Using

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In the lead up to Christmas, I was less busy than I’ve been in years. I found myself on social media more and more. It crept up on me. Five minutes turning into twenty minutes while waiting for the kettle to boil. A whole hour of Instagram posting over lunch. My phone, face up beside my plate at dinner. For a long time I had a rule with my husband T that we leave our phones downstairs at night but by mid December I was bringing mine to my bed to scroll myself to sleep. One night soon after this, T handed me a book while we lay in bed. 

January 7, 2022

Very near and very far

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Christmas is less than a week away and I’m aware that for a lot of people, slowing down for the holidays is not a pleasurable process. There can be a stalling, rather than a smooth steady slow to stop. It might be that you are finding lots of reasons to keep charging forwards, because the thought of looking back on this year is deeply unappealing. Maybe you don’t want to reflect on what’s behind you because you associate the year with stress and confusion, or worse, trauma and fear.

December 21, 2021

Conversations with myself

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I spend a lot of time trying to think of things I want to write about. Things that can be packaged into short articles with neat conclusions, that can fill a reader’s head with new ways of thinking. 

December 14, 2021

Joy around the corner

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I have a ‘things to do when I’m old’ list in my head. On this list is wine-tasting, birdwatching, knitting and my family tree. Also on the list is re-reading the classics, a refresher course in the Irish language, baking, and at the top of the list is gardening.

October 26, 2021

Wanting

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On the second Friday in London after giving up my radio job, I am restless. We have an early dinner at home so my oldest son can go to cubs. At 6.10pm I walk around the kitchen and say, “What now? What do we do?” “Just sit down and relax.”

October 6, 2021

Saturday

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She comes on apologising. Shuffling down the centre of the train, clutching two grey plastic bags stuffed with clothes. Her trousers hang precariously from the sharp edges of her hip bones, exposing several inches of boxer shorts. The skin on her face is pale and pockmarked with a varnished sheen.

June 23, 2021

How I wrote Mother Mother

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For those who might be curious about novel writing, here is an article about how I wrote Mother Mother. It details my whole process, from initial inspiration to taking a writing course to meeting agents and finding a publishing company, to my research trips to Belfast and the people I met along the way. Any questions or comments can be left at the end. Thank you, as always x

May 5, 2021

Fantasy

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Keys, card, lipstick, compact, phone in the bag. Trainers because you want to dance all night. Waist cinching trousers because for the first time in over a year you want to feel like you have definitive lines, a shape that you can stamp into the world, a way to make your mark.

March 26, 2021

Making Space

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I wrote a poem for my mother once. I was a teenager when I wrote it, inspired by a moment watching her from the back bedroom window of our house, as she worked in the garden below. It’s a dream-like memory now, all images are suffused through the words of the poem, but the memory of the feeling that came over me while I watched her is still sharp. It was a curious unsettling feeling, a shifting of sorts.

March 14, 2021

The Romance Audit

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When I was fifteen my German language class went on an exchange trip to Cologne. We stayed with separate families at night and in the days we hung out together taking classes and doing activities. On one of those days we went to a public swimming pool. Was it Valentine’s day?

February 14, 2021

Wrinkly Fingers

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After a long bath I rub cream into you. You are on the cusp of turning four and the last remnants of your babyish traits are fading away. Your limbs are stretching. The roundness of your belly and cheeks is receding. You say ‘oh my god’ now in a comically theatrical tone. You hold your hands up in front of your face as I do your legs. After being in the water the tips of your fingers are wrinkled and white. You make a small distressed sound as you notice them.

January 26, 2021

Expressive Eyes

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The first lockdown was a holiday from myself. The shock of trying to make things work meant there was no time for self indulgence. Clothes were purely functional. My make up bag stayed shut. When things calmed down a little in the middle of Summer I had my birthday and I spent some time looking in the mirror out of curiosity. As I studied my face, I noticed a new development.

January 7, 2021

Lagan Love

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Every year, around this time of year, I travel from my home in London to the most South Westerly tip of the Island of Ireland, Dingle, where I present the television show Other Voices.

December 23, 2020