Sunday, 18 March 2012

school library









Some pupils started a campaign to rise the interest in our school library. Have a look!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

book presentation in Neresheim


We presented our book at Bücher Scherer in Neresheim. It was a great success!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Artbooks







An art-project at Werkmeister-Gymnasium Neresheim: books hanging from the ceiling.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Official Book Presentation at Brussels




La presentación oficial del libro Cuadernos del Mar- E-Read tuvo lugar en la Oficina de Cantabria en Bruselas

Este acto permitió conocer de manera directa a parte de los artífices del trabajo, dentro del marco de actividades que con motivo del Día del Libro y del Día de Europa se celebran en la región y en Europa.

Los responsables del proyecto, junto a los ganadores del concurso literario y de dibujo- Marta García y Rocio Solares- , incidieron en el valor europeo del proyecto presentándolo el pasado 5 de mayo en la Oficina de Cantabria. Fernando Abascal- Director de la publicación, Javier Martínez Coordinador del proyecto, Carmen Fernández- Directora del IES La Marina, así como la Directora de la Oficina de Cantabria en Bruselas, Inma Valencia y la Directora del Instituto Cervantes en Bruselas, María A. González estuvieron presentes en la mesa de Bruselas dando a conocer el resultado final, un libro único con múltiples colaboradores fruto de un proyecto único en Cantabria y en Europa. En el acto se leyeron unas palabras remitidas por la Comisaria Europea de Educación: Androulla Vassiiliou celebrando la importancia de este tipo de iniciativas y congratulando al proyecto por el trabajo realizado.


Monday, 18 April 2011

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Institutos de Cantabria, Alemania e Irlanda colaboran en un Proyecto Europeo sobre la lectura.

Institutos de Cantabria, Alemania e Irlanda colaboran en un Proyecto Europeo sobre la lectura.

Jueves, 14 de Abril de 2011 08:41


El IES La Marina de Bezana coordina el Proyecto Comenius, que tiene por objetivo favorecer la dimensión europea de la Educación

El IES La Marina de Bezana coordina el Proyecto Comenius, que tiene por objetivo favorecer la dimensión europea de la Educación

La Asociación Escolar Comenius E-read, el IES La Marina de Santa Cruz de Bezana ha venido desarrollando durante los dos últimos cursos diversas actividades en colaboración con institutos de Alemania e Irlanda. Con la intención de difundir el trabajo realizado, se han organizado diversos encuentros y reuniones con los responsables de los distintos departamentos en materia educativa y cultural de las principales instituciones de nuestra región. Coordinadas desde el propio centro, estas actuaciones han formado parte de las variadas iniciativas relativas al tema del fomento de la lectura y escritura llevadas a cabo en los distintos centros europeos.

Redes de trabajo internacional:

En este proyecto, E- Read (Del Euroblog al Eurolibro), en el que participan los centros educativos de Irlanda (Carndonagh Community School) y Alemania (Werkmeister Gymnasium) y coordinado desde España a través del IES La Marina, se han trabajado conjuntamente ámbitos de tanto relieve como la competencia lingüística y digital, la competencia lectora, el funcionamiento de las bibliotecas escolares así como otros múltiples aspectos conforme a los intereses e iniciativas de profesores, alumnado y familias de los centros colaboradores. Las aportaciones las han realizado miembros de las comunidades educativas a través de un “Blog compartido de trabajo” (http://comenius-e-read.blogspot.com/), a cuya ventana se han ido asomando diversas propuestas de explotación didáctica, sugerencias y recomendaciones de libros y autores de cada país, encuentros con escritores, informaciones de corte literario y cultural, historias, relatos, ensayos y poesía. Con cerca de 200 entradas, el blog ha sido la principal fuente de contenidos del número siete de Cuadernos del Mar, una publicación del IES La Marina que, en esta ocasión, por su dimensión europea se ha editado en cuatro idiomas con la intención de incidir en el aprendizaje de lenguas y fomentar la sensibilización hacia otras culturas.

Un libro para leer muchos más:

Fruto de esta colaboración, ha sido la elaboración de un libro entre los tres institutos citados, cuyo principal eje temático es la lectura, los libros y las bibliotecas. El volumen, en el que han participado más de 150 personas, entre profesorado, alumnado, familias y otros colaboradores de los países participantes en el proyecto, gira en torno al tema del libro, la lectura, los lectores y las bibliotecas, con el objetivo esencial de fomentar el hábito lector y la escritura.

Cuadernos del Mar E-Read cuenta con una peculiar estructura que da cabida a todos los géneros y estilos. La “Proa” de este metafórico barco cuenta con destacadas intervenciones de los responsables de las instituciones que han colaborado en el proyecto. “La Pipa del Capitán” nos introduce en algunas de las reflexiones de destacadas firmas de la literatura actual. La sección “Travesías” recoge originales creaciones y relatos de diversos colaboradores. “Sala de Máquinas” está dedicada al análisis y al ensayo. “El Camarote de los Libros” nos presenta recomendaciones literarias y crítica conforme a los gustos e intereses. Por su parte, “Babor y Estribor” recoge algunas de los aspectos más destacados de la cultura del libro. El trabajo, finalmente, se cierra con la sección “Popa”.

Presentación del Proyecto Europeo:

El libro que aquí les presentamos cuenta con multitud de colaboraciones, cerca de ciento cincuenta, de los distintos países y presenta una edición en papel, con más de trescientas páginas, y otra digital. Entre dichas colaboraciones destacaríamos las de consagrados autores como Pérez-Reverte, Roddy Doyle, Heidemarie Brosche o el propio Ministro de Educación y escritor Ángel Gabilondo. Todas las intervenciones se centran en “la lectura como forma de enhebrar Europa”, ya que la dimensión europea se pretende lograr a través de múltiples redes de participación, siendo una de ellas el fomento de la cultura, la lectura y el hábito lector.

La presentación oficial del libro tendrá lugar en el propio Instituto, de manera que todo el alumnado pueda conocer de manera directa a los artífices del trabajo, así como en la Biblioteca Central de Cantabria el próximo 15 de abril, dentro del marco de actividades que con motivo del Día del Libro se celebrarán en la región. Posteriormente, los responsables del proyecto, junto a los ganadores del concurso literario y de dibujo, pretenden incidir en el valor europeo del proyecto presentándolo en mayo en la Oficina de Cantabria en Bruselas. Para mayor información, les invitamos a visitar la Web del proyecto: http://comenius-e-read.blogspot.com/ y http://instituto.ieslamarina.org/comenius/eread.htm

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

BOOK- New item

Book presentation in Spain

An interesting persona adopted by Larkin!
A STUDY OF READING HABITS BY PHILIP LARKIN
When getting my nose in a book
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth ruining my eyes
To know I could still keep cool,
And deal out the old right hook
To dirty dogs twice my size.
 
Later, with inch-thick specs,
Evil was just my lark:
Me and my coat and fangs
Had ripping times in the dark.
The women I clubbed with sex!
I broke them up like meringues.
 
Don't read much now: the dude
Who lets the girl down before
The hero arrives, the chap
Who's yellow and keeps the store
Seem far too familiar. Get stewed:
Books are a load of crap.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A poem: Mis Libros-Jorge Luis Borges


MIS LIBROS

Mis libros (que no saben que yo existo)

son tan parte de mí como este rostro

de sienes grises y de grises ojos

que vanamente busco en los cristales

y que recorro con la mano cóncava.

No sin alguna lógica amargura

pienso que las palabras esenciales

que me expresan están en esas hojas

que no saben quién soy, no en las que he

escrito.

Mejor así. Las voces de los muertos

me dirán para siempre.

Jorge Luis Borges, (“La rosa profunda”)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY TO ALL OUR READERS


Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh or (in English) a Happy St Patrick's Day to you all.
Here in Ireland we celebrate our national saint's day all over the country and in Dublin this year it celebrates Dublin's role as UNESCO City of Literature.
Roddy Doyle has written a little story specially to mark this St Patrick's Day and Dublin's status as a UNESCO City of Literature. It's called 'Brilliant' and it's, well, brilliant. It's all about Dublin and how we should all cheer up and how things are not that bad and all. Of course sometimes things are bad. Then we need something to chase the black dog down the road. Like why have St Patrick's Day, when we can have St Patrick's week. So, hurrah for the festival and the fireworks and the story. After all we're a nation of storytellers and surely there's a story out there to keep our heads above the water.
So here's a story to cheer you up on St Patrick's Day
BRILLIANT
written by
Roddy Doyle
for St. Patrick’s Festival Parade 2011
& Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
‘Brilliant’
written by
Roddy Doyle
for St. Patrick’s Festival Parade 2011
& Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Poor oul’ Dublin.
Dublin was a city on the west coast of –
East.
Dublin was a city on the east coast of Ireland. Dublin was the biggest city,
and the capital. And Dublin was depressed. Bored black clouds had been
hanging over the city for months. Every night after dark, the M50 crawled
slowly away. The waves in Dublin Bay rushed the wrong way, trying to escape.
Even the River Liffey – the famous, dirty Liffey – was refusing to flow.
-I’m going back to Wicklow where I’m wanted, said the Liffey. –And I am
not dirty.
-Go on then, said the Ha’penny Bridge. –Go back to mammy. You’re only
a bogger an’anyways.
All the other cities had tried to help – except Cork. Galway, a city on the
east –
West.
West coast of Ireland, had sent a Get Well Soon card. Limerick had sent a
Get Well Soon Or Else card. New York had sent a basket of fruit and Paris,
the capital of GermFrance.2
Paris, the capital of France, had sent the Eiffel Tower – because Paris was
a generous city and, actually, Paris was a bit sick of the Eiffel Tower and
happy enough to get rid of it. So the Eiffel Tower, renamed the Eiffel Yoke,
now sat in Dublin, right over the junction of O’Connell Street and Abbey
Street. The Luas went under it and the seagulls sat on it.
-This is new, said a seagull.
-And very comfy, said another. –Did you ever try sitting on the Spire?
Other cities had tried to help too. Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid now sat
beside the pond in Stephen’s Green, looking out at the ducks and the soggy bits
of bread. But no present or card could lift the gloom. Dublin stayed depressed.
Actually, it wasn’t Dublin. Buildings and streets can’t be depressed.
-Yes, they can, said Westmoreland Street. –I’m feeling a bit low, meself.
-You are a bit low, said Liberty Hall. –I can hardly see yeh from here.
-Oh, always the bitter word.
A city is made of bricks and cement, and bricks and cement can’t be
depressed.
-I’ve never been depressed a day in me life, said a brick on the second
floor of Arnott’s.
-Me neither, said a bag of cement on the back of a truck on Bachelor’s
Walk. –Although I wouldn’t mind a drop of water.
Dublin was made of bricks and cement, tar and, eh –
Glass.
Glass. So Dublin wasn’t depressed. It was the people who lived in Dublin
who were depressed. Although most of them didn’t know it.
More than a million people lived in Dublin.
-And they’ve all walked down me, said Henry Street.
More than a million Dubliners, most of them depressed. But they didn’t
really know. The most used, the busiest, word in Dublin was ‘brilliant’. It
was the city’s favourite word.
-That was a great funeral.3
-Brilliant.
It was a great word, really. It burst out of your mouth when you said it.
-How’s the soup?
-Brilliant!
-Ah Jaysis, look at me shirt!
It was a very handy word, very adaptable. It could be used in all sorts of
ways.
-The car won’t start.
-Well, that’s just brilliant.
It made people smile, even when they didn’t want to.
-My dog’s after dying.
-Ah, no. What was his name?
-Brilliant.
-Ahhh, that’s brilliant.
And that was the problem. ‘Brilliant’ was a brilliant word. It lit up
everything around it. It was hard to see the gloom when the word was
constantly bursting all over the city, like a firework display that never
ended. But sometimes, only for brief moments, when very few people
were talking, the sadness was there to be seen – on the faces, across the
shoulders, in the feet. The people of Dublin were low. They were worried
and sometimes angry. They felt trapped, surrounded by bad news. There
was no escape.
Even children noticed.
Two children noticed – at first.
They were sitting under their kitchen table. They often did this and, if
they stayed still, the grown-ups never noticed. Raymond and Gloria Kelly
were supposed to be in bed but they’d been under the table for an hour and
forty minutes, listening to their parents and their uncle and their granny.
Six more minutes and they would break their sitting-under-the-table-insecret record. 4
Only six minutes, but they weren’t going to be easy. Their bums were
sore, maybe even dead. A spider had built a web from Raymond’s left
ear to Gloria’s right shoulder. The spider was tickling Raymond’s ear –
deliberately. The spider’s wife was standing on Gloria’s neck, right under
her ear, and Gloria thought she could hear the spider whispering.
-Whack me. Go on. I dare yeh!
It was agony. Raymond was trying hard not to moan. His bum was
definitely dead. He was going to wallop the spider. Gloria was about to
scream. She was sure she was – she couldn’t take any more. She could feel
the spider’s wife climbing into her ear. All eight legs were tickling her to
death.
Then Gloria and Raymond heard something that made them forget all
about spiders and breaking their record. They heard the words that would
change their lives.
2.
Jack and Una Kelly sat at the kitchen table, with Jack’s brother, Ben, and
Una’s mother. The kitchen table was a bit annoyed because it was supposed
to be his night off and he’d been looking forward to a bit of peace and
darkness. But now he had four people putting their hot cups on top of his
head. They were tapping their spoons and spilling sugar and teabags all
over him. It was the night before St Patrick’s Day, so their kids, Raymond
and Gloria, been let stay up later than usual, to watch a film. Then they’d
been sent up to bed. But they weren’t up there. They’d sneaked back down
from their bedrooms - and that annoyed the table too. They were in under
him now, playing some sort of a stupid game that involved doing absolutely
nothing. He was sick of being a table, sick of being taken for granted.
Una’s mother put the teapot down on the table.
-Get that thing off me scalp! roared the table - to himself.
-That’s terrible news, said Una’s mother. –Isn’t it?
-Yes, said Una. –It is. 5
She looked across at Ben. Ben had just told them that he was closing down
his painting business.
-Are you sure about this, Ben?
Ben shrugged.
-Two years ago I stopped answering the phone because I was too busy, he
said. –I couldn’t keep up. Now but, the phone never rings.
Raymond, under the table, was trying to listen. He knew something bad
was happening but the spider was sitting in his ear hole. Raymond saw his
Uncle Ben’s feet moving. He saw the white paint spots on the shoes.
Ben stood up.
-So, that’s that, he said.
Gloria watched her Uncle Ben’s feet walk slowly to the kitchen door. She
knew by the way he moved, something sad was going on.
Gloria heard the kitchen door open, then close.
-Poor Ben, said her mam.
-You’d want to mind that poor lad, said Gloria’s granny.
Gloria saw her granny’s feet move. She was standing up. Gloria listened –
she tried to. But the spider’s wife was hanging from the tip of her nose.
-What d’you mean? said Jack, to Gloria’s granny.
She leaned on the table.
-Jaysis, missis! the table screamed – to himself. –Go on a bloody diet!
-Depression, she said. -The black dog of depression has climbed onto that
poor fella’s back.
Under the table, Raymond heard the bit about the black dog.
-The whole city’s depressed, said his granny.
Gloria heard that bit.
-But anyway, said her granny. -I’m off to my bed.
Gloria watched her granny’s feet. She was wearing her huge slippers, the
ones with dog’s ears. Gloria saw one heel stand on a dog’s ear. She saw her 6
granny trip. She heard her granny hit the table.
-Oh God!
-Are you alright? said Gloria’s mam.
-No!! yelled the table – to himself.
-I’m grand, said Gloria’s granny. –But I’m after whacking my funny bone.
Raymond heard her say ‘funny bone’.
-And it isn’t funny at all, said his granny.
Raymond watched his granny’s slippers continue the journey to the
kitchen door.
-It’s desperate, said his granny. –Young Ben and all the others. All that
happiness, stolen.
Gloria and Raymond heard ‘stolen’.
-Anyway, said their granny. -I’m off to my little damp granny flat.
Raymond watched his parents stand up. There was a tiny hole in his dad’s
sock.
-Her flat isn’t damp, is it? said his mam.
-She’s damp, said his dad.
-Ah stop.
Raymond heard his parents pick up cups and stuff. He heard his dad.
-Leave them. I’ll do them in the morning.
He heard his mam.
-Are you worried about Ben?
-I am, yeah, said his dad. –A bit. She’s probably right about the black dog.
Gloria watched her parents leave the kitchen. She could hear her mam.
-Her poor funny bone, she said. –We’ll have to keep an eye on Ben.
She heard her dad.
-I suppose, he said. –But I wish there was more we could do.
He sighed.7
-What a bloody country.
The door clicked, shut. The kitchen was empty, and dark.
Gloria and Raymond crawled out from under the table. They stood up
and rubbed some life back into their bums.
-Did you hear what they said? said Raymond.
-Granny’s damp, said Gloria.
-Not that, said Raymond. -The other thing.
-The black dog thing?
-Yeah, said Raymond. –The Black Dog of Depression’s after robbing
Dublin’s funny bone.
-Yeah, said Gloria. -And they’re worried about Uncle Ben.
-The Black Dog’s been on his back.
-Did you see him on Uncle Ben’s back, Rayzer?
-No.
Raymond and Gloria loved their Uncle Ben. He was easily their favourite
relation. He made brilliant breakfasts when he stayed in their house. He
knew exactly how to talk to kids. He never teased or embarrassed them
and he always gave them great sweets.
-We have to get the funny bone back, said Raymond.
-Yeah, said Gloria. -It’ll cheer up Uncle Ben.
-Let’s go.
-What’s a funny bone?
-It’s the bit of the body that makes you laugh.
-And does Dublin have one of them? Gloria asked.
-Granny said so, said Raymond.
-Ah, well then, said Gloria. –Let’s go.
Raymond ran to the kitchen door.
-Where are we going, Rayzer?8
-Upstairs, to get our clothes on.
-Oh yeah.
They ran quietly – kids can do that when they want to – up the stairs, into
their bedrooms. They took off their jammies and put on proper clothes.
Then back down the stairs – quietly – back into the kitchen.
Raymond was 10, and Gloria was 8. Raymond was unlocking the back
door, about to step into the night.
The door was open.
-Where are we going now, Rayzer? Gloria asked.
-Don’t know, said Raymond. –But we have to find the Black Dog.
They ran out.
3.
They ran outside, into the back garden. The security light from O’Leary’s
house next door went on, with a click and a blast of white light.
-Oh my God!
-Come on!
Raymond led the way, to the side passage. It was cold and there was a
smell of old wheelie bin. O’Leary’s security light clicked off.
Raymond stopped.
-I can’t see.
-Brilliant, said Gloria, and the word popped open above them and filled
the passage with gentle, yellow light. Raymond got going again and Gloria
followed, to the front of the house and out to the street.
-Where now, Rayzer? said Gloria.
-There are three black dogs on our road, said Raymond. –One of them
might be the Black Dog of Depression. Come on.
They ran along the street, to Mooney’s house. They went – they crept - to 9
the front door. Raymond pushed open the letter box and, together, they
looked through the slit.
They saw two black eyes - and a tongue. The eyes and the tongue belonged
to Lulu Mooney.
The tongue tried to lick their faces through the letter box.
-I don’t think Lulu’s the Black Dog of Depression, said Gloria.
-No, Raymond agreed.
Lulu started barking.
-Run!
They ran back to the street. They could hear Mister Mooney from inside
the house.
-Shut up! Or I’ll go down there and take that bloody bone off yeh!
Gloria stopped running.
-The funny bone!
-No, said Raymond. –It’s just an ordinary bone. It’s Lulu’s. She’s been
minding it for years. Come on.
They ran to the next house, O’Driscoll’s. The black dog, Fang O’Driscoll,
slept in a shed in the back. They crept down the dark side passage.
-Can’t see.
-Brilliant.
-Now I can.
The shed door was open.
-Here, Fang.
Fang was an old dog. He didn’t get up.
-Are you depressed, Fang?
Fang farted.
-Is that depression? Gloria asked.
-Don’t think so, said Raymond. –Or if it is, Dad’s really depressed. Here’s 10
the test, watch. Fang?
Fang’s tail walloped the floor – and stopped.
-Fang?
The tail drumming started again.
-See? said Raymond. –It’s not Fang. Depressed dogs don’t wag their tails.
This job was going to be harder than Raymond had expected – although
he hadn’t really expected anything. There was one more black dog on the
street but Raymond didn’t know if there was any point in –
-What are yis doin’?
The voice came from nowhere.
Gloria screamed – but nothing came out. She could feel the scream in
her throat but it was clinging there, too scared to climb out of her mouth.
Gloria wasn’t afraid of the dark. She never had been. And that had always
made her feel a bit special. But it wasn’t the dark that was frightening her
now. It was the voice. A voice with no body.
The scream, finally, came out.
-. . . . ohmygod . . . !
Then she saw the head.
Raymond saw it too. An upside-down head.
-Ernie? said Raymond.
-Wha’? said Ernie O’Driscoll.
-What are you doing?
-Hangin’ upside-down, said Ernie.
-Yeah, said Raymond. –Why, but?
-Well, said Ernie. –I’m a bit of a vampire, like.
Ernie was 16. His name was well known all along the street. ‘If you don’t
do your homework, you’ll end up like Ernie O’Driscoll.’ ‘If you don’t eat
your broccoli, you’ll end up like Ernie O’Driscoll.’ All the local kids knew
Ernie but the fact that he was a vampire was red hot news.11
-A vampire?
Ernie nodded once, upside-down.
-Since when?
-Last week, said Ernie. –Me ma told me to get a job, so – there you go.
-Vampire’s a job?
-There’s a recession, bud, said Ernie. –We need young people with vision.
And I get to stay in bed all day.
Gloria wasn’t scared anymore.
-Why are you hanging upside-down, Ernie?
-Seen it in a fillum, said Ernie. –It’s good for the oul’ digestion.
-Did you suck someone’s blood tonight?
-An oul’ one in Finglas West -
East.
-Finglas East, said Ernie.
-Cool. Did she scream?
-She didn’t notice, said Ernie. –She was watchin’ Corrie. Hang on.
They heard a grunt, and the whoosh of a black cape – and Ernie was
standing in front of them.
-Brilliant!
They could see him clearly for a second.
-You don’t look anything like Robert Pattinson, Ernie, said Gloria.
-He can’t have everythin’, I suppose.
-Did the light there not hurt your eyes?
-No way, said Ernie. –That’s just a story.
-But you really drink blood, don’t you?
-Ah yeah.
He belched.
-It’s heavy goin’, but.12
-We’re chasing the Black Dog of Depression, Ernie, said Gloria. –Want to
come?
Ernie thought about it.
-Is he big, is he?
-Huge, said Gloria.
-Grand, said Ernie. –Dessert. What’re we waitin’ for?
Gloria laughed.
-Are you coming, Fang? said Raymond.
Fang thumped his tail and farted.
-There’s your answer, said Ernie.
They followed Ernie out to the garden, then out to the street.
-So, said Ernie. -Where’s this Black Dog?
But, as Ernie spoke, they saw the Dog. At the end of the street. Not the
Dog - its shadow, for only a second. It was huge, sliding against the wall as it
turned the corner. It made no noise. But it was definitely the black dog.
It was gone. But they’d seen it.
-Come on!
4.
They ran to the corner but the Black Dog had gone. It was cold – a kind of
moving cold - like a freezing, invisible animal was rubbing against them.
-Come on, said Raymond.
Gloria didn’t want to go any further. The cold frightened her, the way it
seemed to move. She’d been frightened twice now, and she didn’t like it.
Raymond started running.
Then Gloria thought of her Uncle Ben, and the weight of the Black Dog
on his back, and she went after Raymond. 13
They ran to the next corner.
No Dog. Just the cold. Waiting for them.
They could see nothing on the street ahead, no shadow or anything solid.
It was very late, very quiet.
-Here, Ernie, said Raymond.
He shivered.
-Can you not fly?
-Oh yeah, said Ernie. –Forgot.
And they watched him –
-Brilliant!
- as he lifted himself off the ground, higher, like he was in an invisible lift,
higher and higher.
-Look at this bit, he called down to them.
He spread out his arms so his cape looked like a huge bat’s wings.
-The biz, wha’!
-Can you see the Black Dog?
-No, said Ernie. –The houses and stuff are in the way. Hang on, but –
-What?
-I can see somethin’, said Ernie. –And it isn’t the usual stuff.
He glided back down.
-It’s like a cloud of smoke or somethin’, he said, when he’d landed. –
Darker than the dark, like.
-Where?
-Down this one, said Ernie.
He ran ahead, and they followed. He waited for them at each corner and,
at every corner, they were quickly cold. The corner was a cold hint – the
Dog seemed to be leaving a trail, telling them which way to run.
They preferred to run. They stayed warmer that way, and stopping for too 14
long made Gloria nervous.
-Where are we, Rayzer?
-Don’t know.
They’d run out of the place they knew and, for the third time that night,
Gloria was scared. She really didn’t want to see the Black Dog.
-Look!
-Oh my God!
Raymond had seen it – the Dog. It was moving, just a shadow, right under
a bunch of small trees, in front of a huge building. He knew it. He’d been
here before – loads of times.
They were at the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.
-Come on!
There were no cars or people – it was very late. Just Raymond, Gloria,
Ernie. And the shadow. Raymond ran at it. He’d never grabbed a shadow
before. He knew you couldn’t hold one, that shadows were made of light
and shade. So he wasn’t just surprised when his hands touched something
solid.
He was terrified.
-What’s the story? said Ernie.
-I felt it!
-Felt what, Rayzer? said Gloria.
-The Dog.
–But there’s nothing here, said Gloria.
She was right - but she wasn’t. There was no dog near them, or in among
the trees.
But there was something.
The cold.
It seemed to be right over them now, an icy, black cloud. Or the freezing, 15
silent animal leaning over, sniffing them.
-Ah here! said Ernie. –It’s only a cloud.
Gloria laughed.
-Brilliant!
And the cloud, the weird lump of extra darkness, moved away.
They weren’t sure it was even there now.
-Here, said Ernie. –Why are we doin’ this, an’anyway?
-For our Uncle Ben, said Gloria. –He’s depressed.
-And the Black Dog has Dublin’s funny bone, said Raymond.
-And Uncle Ben will feel better if we can get it back, said Gloria.
-Says who?
–Our granny.
-Ah, well then, said Ernie. –Fair enough.
-Do you know our granny, Ernie?
-No, said Ernie. –But I always feel brainier after I’ve drunk some granny’s
blood.
-Really?
-On the level.
-Cool.
The cloud was back – it was definitely there. They were definitely looking
at it. But they weren’t sure it was a cloud. They hoped it was, just a cloud
behaving strangely. But they watched it sink to the road ahead and,
whatever it was, it stopped being something they thought they’d seen and
became something solid and real that they could definitely see.
-The Dog!
A big black dog. A real, ordinary dog – they could hear his paws smack
the ground as he ran away.
-Come on!16
They ran after it.
They ran along the side of the N4, towards town. They knew where they
were now. The Dog stayed ahead of them. Sometimes they seemed to be
catching up, even though Gloria and Raymond were getting tired and
Ernie had forgotten he could fly. And sometimes the Dog seemed to be
getting away but they could still hear his paws, just ahead of them.
-Is he letting us chase him?
-Think so.
-Why?
-Don’t know.
They kept running. They could see Phoenix Park, and the shape of the
trees, ahead, to the right.
Left.
Left. And there was something else they noticed now. They could hear
other feet, other shoes hitting the ground, behind and beside them. And
they began to see the other kids. Two of them, then four, eight, nine, more.
All of them running, all of them chasing the Black Dog.
5.
But the Dog was gone again. They could still hear his paws but they couldn’t
see him.
-Where is he?
They were near town now, on the stretch of road that led to Kingsbridge,
down where the Liffey used to flow.
They stopped.
They all stopped, the other kids too, girls and boys, all panting. Ernie
seemed to be the only vampire. Although there was one boy there who
looked like he might be a leprechaun.
-Hey, Rayzer? Gloria whispered. -Is that fella a leprechaun?17
-Think so, said Raymond. –But he’s a bit on the tall side.
They all stood looking at one another. And they felt it – the cold. The
sliding cold, telling them to follow.
They ran. Over a bridge, to the next corner. Phoenix Park was right in
front of them. They felt the cold again, guiding them right.
Left.
Left. Then they were running into Phoenix Park. And, again, Gloria
wondered.
-Why is he letting us chase him?
They kept running, up a steep path. It was darker now because the trees
were on both sides of them, blocking the moon and other light. They ran
together in a group, like a dark cloud of their own.
-Why are you chasing the Black Dog?
-My da.
-My mam.
-Is she depressed? Gloria asked the girl who was running beside her.
-Yeah, said the girl. –She’s down in the dumps, like. My auntie said
something about getting the Black Dog off her back. And then I seen him.
-Me too, said a boy. –My da stays in bed all day since his job got shut
down.
The boy was panting. They were still running along the path, up a hill.
-The Black Dog blocks the bedroom door.
-Where’s the Dog now, but?
They all felt it, the rush of cold wind. It went past them. Then it came
back, on the other side. It pushed them – it seemed to – off the path. Then
they could see it, the darker shape in the darkness, going into the trees.
And they heard paws - and panting. The panting that only dogs make.
And they could see the Dog now. He barked – he yapped – just before he
disappeared into the darkness of the trees.
-Come on!18
They started to run at the trees. Then they heard a voice.
-Be careful!
-Who said that?!
-None of us, said Raymond. –It was an oul’ fella’s voice. Come on.
-They wouldn’t listen to me, said the Wellington Monument, who’d been
standing there since 1861.
-Ah now, said the Papal Cross who’d only been there since 1979. –We all
have our cross to bear.
The kids were in among the trees. And lost. And Gloria’s question, ‘Why
is he letting us chase him?’, seemed to answer itself.
-It’s a trap, said Gloria.
But no one heard her.
But she heard the voice.
-I’m not going to bite you, said the voice.
It was the Dog. Gloria was sure of it, even though she couldn’t see. She’d
stopped moving because the branches were grabbing at her face and legs.
She was afraid she’d trip. She could hear the other kids around her, but
none of them were near enough to see.
-No, said the voice, the Dog. –You’re not worth biting.
It was a horrible voice.
-You’re useless.
The voice came with a stink.
-That’s right, said the voice. –That’s how useless you are. That’s what
happens to everything around you.
Gloria wanted to cry. She felt the Dog’s fur against her face.
-Useless, he whispered.
She couldn’t hear the others now. It was quiet, as if the Dog was whispering
the same thing to all of them.
-You’re no good to anyone. 19
Gloria knew it wasn’t true. But she felt like it was true. She was going to
lie down on the cold ground.
-Good idea.
But then, she had a different idea.
-Brilliant.
She whispered it, and it produced a little, whispered light. She heard a
groan.
She said it again.
-Brilliant.
Louder. The groan was further away this time. The Dog was moving,
slouching away. The stink was gone. And she knew the Dog was a liar. She
wasn’t useless.
-Hey, Ernie!
- - - Wha’?
Ernie sounded sad.
-Fly up in the air and shout ‘Brilliant’!
- - - Why?
-Just do it! Brilliant!
- - - Okay.
She heard Ernie smacking the leaves and branches.
-Brilliant, brilliant, bleedin’ brilliant!
The trees were lit up and gorgeous. She could see the other kids now.
Some of them were getting up off the ground. They all looked like they’d
been asleep and stuck in a horrible nightmare.
-Everyone shout! Brilliant!
They all walked side by side through the sparkling trees.
-Brilliant!
They could hear the Dog charging away from their voices and the light.
They came out at the other side of the trees. They could see the dark 20
shadow – the Dog – huge and curling, gliding towards the Zoo.
-Come on!
The tall leprechaun spoke.
-Can we not just, like, go home?
-No, said Raymond. –We have to stop the Dog.
-Yeah, said Gloria. –And now we know how to.
-Come on!
They all ran towards the Zoo.
-It’s shut, said the Wellington Monument, but no one was listening.
6.
They saw the Black Dog gliding over the wall of the Zoo. He seemed to be
even bigger now, and longer.
He was gone, over.
It was still nighttime, although the morning birds were starting the sing.
The Zoo was shut.
-Told you, said the Wellington Monument.
-How’ll we get in? asked a girl.
Some of the kids were a bit relieved that they couldn’t go any further.
They were cold and frightened. The bad dream with the Dog in it – Useless!
- was still floating around their heads. They wanted to go home.
-Ernie, said Raymond.
-Wha’? said Ernie.
Raymond lifted his arms.
-Hold me, said Raymond.
-Wha’? said Ernie. –No way.
-Go on, said Raymond. –You can carry us over the wall.21
-Gotcha, said Ernie.
He grabbed Raymond under the arms –
-Ahh, you’re tickling!
And he flew straight up, as if he was in his invisible lift again.
-Goin’ up, said Ernie. –Monkeys and accessories.
His cape flapped and he disappeared over the wall, with Raymond.
Then he was back.
-Who’s next?
-Me!
They were all over the wall, inside the Zoo, in less than three minutes.
The kids who’d been frightened felt less frightened now, inside the Zoo.
They felt safer near the animals. And they all knew why they were there:
they had to stop the Dog.
They stood outside the souvenir shop.
-Ernie.
-Wha’?
-Can you see the Dog?
Ernie started rising.
-My batteries’ll be wasted.
They all watched as he rose way over the shop and started to turn slowly.
-See anything?
-Over there, said Ernie. -The big things. The what’re-they- called? The
elephants.
He pointed ahead, a bit to the – right?
Well done.
-They’re goin’ a bit mad, said Ernie.
-Come on!
They all ran together – they felt safer together - past the meerkats, the 22
lemurs and spider monkeys.
-I’m glad I’m not paying for this, said the tall leprechaun. –It’d be a
terrible waste of money.
They ran past the flamingoes but they didn’t stop to look.
-The nerve of them, said a flamingo, but they didn’t hear.
Gloria was running beside Ernie.
-Is it good being a werewolf, Ernie?
-Couldn’t tell yeh, said Ernie. –I’m a vampire.
-Is it good?
-It’s alrigh’, said Ernie. –A bit borin’.
-You like drinking blood though, don’t yeh?
-Ah yeah.
Gloria was feeling better now. She was feeling almost happy. She’d outtricked the Black Dog. She’d found out what his weakness was.
They ran along the forest trail, towards the elephants.
They had the Dog on the run and she knew they’d be able to beat him.
-Brilliant.
They couldn’t see much on the trail. The path was bendy and the trees
were close by. There was one last bend that made some of the kids laugh
and bump into one another. And then there was the shock.
The Black Dog was there.
Waiting for them.
They heard his howl before they saw him. A howl that ripped the Zoo
apart. Everything was gone. Just the howl. A howl that stayed and became
a word that hung there, like poisonous gas.
USELESS.
The fright made them quickly tired, exhausted – they’d been up all night.
USELESS.23
They sank to the ground. All of them. Even Gloria. Her eyes were stinging
and sad. They were closing. There was a word she needed, an important
word, but she couldn’t remember it.
USELESS.
It was true. She was useless. She was too tired to do anything. Her eyes
were –
-Excuse me!
Gloria’s eyes stayed open. There was something pink. A flamingo. Lots of
flamingoes. Marching up to the Dog.
-Some of us are trying to sleep, you know! We need our eight hours!
USELESS.
-We’re pink! said the flamingo at the front. –Of course, we’re useless!
That’s the point!
Gloria smiled – she couldn’t help it. Flamingoes that could talk. It was –
-Brilliant, she said.
She remembered. It was the word she’d forgotten, the word she
remembered she needed.
-Brilliant, she said.
-Thanks very much, said a flamingo. –Too little, too late.
-Brilliant!
She heard the groan – they all did – and the weight of the Dog seemed to
lift off them. The night, the dark, seemed to be sailing away.
-Brilliant!!
They were all standing up again, some of them yawning, one or two of
them crying. They were upset, low. But they could see it, and feel it. The
Black Dog was moving away – running away. He’d become an ordinary
dog again. A very big black dog jumping over the fence.
-Come on!
Raymond started to run. And all the kids followed. They all knew what
they had to do.24
-Brilliant!
They were winning again. They’d get rid of the Black Dog for good and
they’d go home to happier houses.
-Brilliant!
It was brighter now, dawn, and the birds were working hard.
-Cheep, cheep! Cheep, cheep! The difference is we’re Irish!
They were coming up to the gate.
-Are you not afraid of the daylight, Ernie? asked Raymond.
-That’s just an oul’ myth, said Ernie. –To make you feel safe in the daytime.
-The Black Dog’s afraid, though.
-It’s lookin’ that way.
The Zoo was open. A man was opening the gate.
-Here, Mister, said the tall leprechaun. –Do we have to pay to get out?-No.
-See yeh, so.
The kids ran, back out to the park and the city.
7.
It was early morning in the city of Dublin. People lying awake could hear a
sound that everyone liked, a ship’s foghorn out on Dublin Bay.
But it wasn’t a foggy morning and it wasn’t actually a foghorn. It was
the Spire on O’Connell Street, and he was teaching the Eiffel Yoke how to
speak proper English.
-What’s the STORE-Y?! he said, again.
-Wot iz ze stor-ee?
-No, listen. What’s the STORE-ORE-Y?!
-It must be foggy down at the O2, said Raymond.
-Yeah, said the tall leprechaun.25
They were running along the quays, beside the Liffey’s dry riverbed.
-Where is he?
They’d lost sight of the Black Dog. He’d been in front of them, a few
corners ahead. Then he was gone.
They all slowed down, unsure, a bit worried. Relieved, and disappointed.
-Keep going, said Raymond.
He knew that if they stopped now they probably wouldn’t start again. The
other kids knew it too. They wanted to stop – but they didn’t. They knew
they had to beat the Dog.
-What’s the STORE-ORE-Y?!
They kept running, past Collins Barracks
-Are you actually a leprechaun? Raymond asked.
-No way am I, said the tall leprechaun. –People just think that, because
I’m tall.
-That’s mad.
They were looking up at the sky, at every corner, for any sign of the Dog.
-I’ve got kind of a leprechauny face, said the tall leprechaun. –But no one
would notice. Only, I’m six foot, two. And they see the face and they decide
I’m a – God!
The Dog was there. At the corner of Smithfield. First a shadow. Then the
shadow became solid, and muscular. The Dog kept coming around the
corner, like a black truck slowly turning.
This was the biggest he’d been. He was monstrous, horrible. He started
to open his mouth.
-Quick! said Gloria. –Shout before he does! Brilliant!
-Brilliant!
Nothing happened.
-What’s the STORE-ORE-Y!
It was daylight now, so ‘brilliant’ didn’t light up. It was just a word. Some
of the kids slowed down. Some stopped, too frightened to go any nearer. 26
But Gloria kept running at the Dog. So did Raymond and Ernie.
Gloria knew now that the Black Dog wasn’t afraid of the light. But she
wasn’t going to give up.
-Brilliant!
The Dog didn’t budge.
-Brilliant!
They kept running at him, straight for the mouth that seemed to be
growing bigger – and deeper.
-Brilliant!
The mouth stopped growing.
-Brilliant!
The word was working. The Black Dog had heard it. ‘Brilliant’ had hit
him, like a dart. He turned sideways, to get away from it.
-It’s the word he hates, not the light!
-Brilliant!
The other kids saw what was happening and they followed Gloria. And
other kids too. They came from behind, running. There were twice as many
now, and all of them shouting.
-BRILLIANT!
The Dog was up on his hind legs. Then he fell backwards, and landed on
his front paws and charged away, down Arran Quay. His paws smashed
down on the street. The kids could feel the weight, the vibration in their
feet as they raced after him. Other kids, hundreds of them, were running
across the Father Mathew Bridge, to join up with the kids on the south –
North.
The Northside.
-BRILLIANT!
The Dog was charging away – they were winning again. But he was
getting even bigger. His fur rubbed the sides of buildings as he ran along
the quays. The railings in front of the Four Courts got a shock.27
-What in the name of God was that?! they asked.
Then hundreds of kids ran past, shouting and panting.
-What in the name of God was that?!
-BRILLIANT!
The Dog was too big to escape quickly. They all saw him turn on to Capel
Street. They heard his fur scraping bricks. They heard glass breaking.
They ran over the broken window glass as they turned the corner and
followed. They were all tired now. They’d been running for miles and hours
– all night. The ‘brilliants’ were getting smaller.
-brilliant.
They were out of breath and it was harder to say the whole word.
-illiant.
The Dog turned on to Mary Street. They heard the crunch of corner bricks.
And they noticed, he was slowing down. That gave them new energy.
-BRILLIANT!
They charged around the corner, over the rubble, on to Mary Street. The
Dog’s paws on the street, the hundreds of children’s shoes, the shouting,
hundreds and hundreds of voices - the noise was unbelievable.
-I’m phoning the Guards, said Mary Street.
-I’m phoning Childline, said Little Britain Street.
The Black Dog was on Henry Street, heading straight for the Spire.
-What’s the STORE-ORE-Y?!
Then he lifted. He took off, exactly like a plane. He flew slowly, a colossal,
dog-shaped cloud, too dark for rain or anything normal. He sailed over
O’Connell Street, over the Spire and the Eiffel Yoke, over the statue of Big
Jim Larkin, whose big hands seemed to be reaching up to help the kids and
grab the Dog.
The kids stopped at the Spire. They were exhausted, thirsty, frightened
again.
-Do we have to keep going? one of them asked. –He’s floating away.28
-Yeah, we do, said Gloria.
She’d just remembered why.
-He has Dublin’s funny bone, she said. –We’ve got to get it back.
8.
The Black Dog seemed to be spreading out – the cloud was getting wider
and thicker. He covered more and more of the city. The kids could feel his
weight on top of their heads. They could see grown-up people along the
street, sitting on the ground, holding their heads.
-Shout!
-BRILLIANT!
The cloud had made the city centre very dark, so the light from the word
was explosive –
-BRILLIANT!
The cloud started to shift, to move away, over Talbot Street and Connolly
Station, over the Five Lamps, East Wall and Fairview.
-Come on!
Years later, they would never really understand how they’d been able to
run so far and for so long. But now they just kept running. More kids joined
in, kids who’d been running all night. Thousands of kids ran through
Fairview, under the railway bridge. They could see the Dog ahead. He was
covering all of Dublin Bay.
-What’s the STORE-ORE-Y?!
They were beside the sea now. The wind was strong and loud.
-BRILLIANT!
Spray from the waves flew at them, like freezing spit. But they kept
running.
-BRILLIANT!29
They ran alongside the sea but they couldn’t get any nearer to the Dog.
Until they came to the wooden bridge that went out to Bull Island. Now
they could run straight at the Dog. They knew – they felt it: This was the
last fight.
The Battle of Clontarf.
-Charge!
They ran across the wooden bridge – trip, trap, trip, trap.
-Who’s that tripping over my bridge? roared the troll, as he climbed out
from under the bridge.
-It’s only me, said the smallest Billy Goat Gruff.
Wrong story - sorry.
They ran across the wooden bridge.
-Wazzup? said the troll, as he climbed out from under the bridge.
-We’re huntin’ dog blood, bud, said Ernie.
-Cool, said the troll, and he ran beside Ernie.
They were off the bridge now. They ran past the golf club, straight into
the gale and the darkness – BRILLIANT! – all the way down to the beach.
They stopped. They couldn’t run any further. There was no more land.
They were on the edge of Dublin and the Black Dog was right over them.
He was turning, starting to move. His fur, the cloud, was rolling, growing.
A cloud seemed to grow out of the main cloud, and became his face.
He snarled.
USELESS.
-It’s a trap! Raymond shouted.
He knew what was happening – he suddenly knew it. The Black Dog
had dragged the kids away from the city and now he was going back, to
destroy it.
USELESS.
-Shout!30
BRILLIANT!
-Louder!
-BRILLIANT!!
Every kid shouted – one huge shout. And it was working. The Dog was
slowing, curling, buckling.
But he was still moving – escaping.
-Ernie!
-Wha’?
-Grab me, said Raymond. -And fly right into the Dog.
-You’re jestin’, said Ernie.
-I’m not, said Raymond.
-Me as well, said the tall leprechaun.
Ernie held onto Raymond’s collar, and the leprechaun’s, and he lifted
himself.
-Hate this.
Fast this time, he flew straight into the Dog. The kids below could hear
the three voices inside the cloud.
-BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, bleedin’ BRILLIANT!
The wind grabbed their own voices. They’d no breath left. They could
see chinks, tiny holes in the cloud. They were winning. But they were
drenched; they’d no more strength. They could hear the boys in the Dog.
But then that stopped too. There was just the wind. The holes in the cloud
were filling in.
Useless.
Gloria got enough breath back.
-One more time, she said.
All the kids grabbed mouthfuls of wind, sent them down to their lungs –
and fired them back out, and straight up.
-BRILLIANNNNNNT!31
This time was the last time. And it worked. The word ripped through
the cloud. The holes were bigger – the kids could see sky. The cloud was
breaking, becoming smaller, harmless clouds.
But that stopped, and the cloud snarled. The snarl came from a mouth
and the mouth was holding something very big and white.
The funny bone.
Gloria was ready.
She’d kept her breath, just enough for one last word.
- . . . brilliant . . .
It was enough.
The word hit the cloud and the Black Dog exploded. It just disappeared.
One minute, there was the gale and the snarling Dog. Next, there was
silence – nothing. Except blue sky and quiet.
And guts.
They ran to the dunes, to get away. They heard the guts fall, slapping the
sand like hard-boiled rain. The air was full of the caws of hungry seagulls.
And the shouts of three screaming boys.
-Look out!
The kids ran again, into the dunes, even into the water. They heard the
thump – they felt it. They turned, and saw Dublin’s funny bone. Lying on
the beach, white and bright, and kind of funny.
Ernie, with the two boys, landed beside it. He stood up and shook the
guts off his cape.
-What’ll we do with this thing? he said.* * *
Raymond and Gloria crept to their back door. They looked in the kitchen
window. There was no one there; they couldn’t see anyone.
-It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, Gloria remembered.
-Oh yeah, said Raymond. –They’re still in bed.
They opened the door and got smacked by the smell of rashers and
sausages.
There was someone at the cooker.
-Uncle Ben!
He turned to them, and smiled.
* * *
Big Jim Larkin stood on his plinth, on O’Connell Street.
At last.
He’d been waiting all these years, with his huge hands in the air. Those
kids had brought it, down O’Connell Street. And now he was holding it,
Dublin City’s funny bone. Holding it proudly up to the clear blue sky.
-You have your hands full there, Big Jim, said the Spire.
-That’s what they’re there for, comrade, said Big Jim.
© Roddy Doyle 2011

Reading is not a static attitude


Picture by Javier Martínez at Füssen (Germany).

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Reading for Pleasure by Ana Temiño

“We become what we have read”

-A wise man once said

“Plus what imagination has set”

I might dare to bet.

The object for I always look

Above all others is the book.

Books have life, heart & wandering soul,

Travelling spirit, and wisdom as an owl.

Books are lively, noble and clever,

Most of them are awesome. However,

Now and then, to break this rule,

One finds a book which is not “cool”.

What, for example, would you say,

If studying or reading, one day,

In front of you, it came across

One of those considered gross,

With no pictures, nor wolf or fairy,

Just numbers & concepts which seldom vary?

Teachers always work with texts,

And complain about the students’ mess.

Then they regret about falling rates,

Especially with pupils, and all their mates.

But hardly ever, kids enjoy reading,

When compulsory, forced or meaning.

Not easy changing from a computer game

Into reading adventures; Not the same!

In this tech world we are living

It’s hard work to love reading.

As the Internet has everything, but heart

Which you’ll find in any book’s part

Enjoying always quietly in any park

On the beach, by the river or wherever you are.

Great stories may make you feel,

Laugh or cry, whether fictional or real.

A book can make you think, live and dream,

Getting involved as it may seem,

Anything is possible, get into fashion

Grip a book and read it with passion!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

COLM HERRON WRITES ABOUT EARLY INFLUENCES



About Colm
Colm Herron's first writing career began when he was seven. At that time he wrote stories about vampires and two-headed gravediggers and stiched them together on his big sister’s sewing machine before selling them to classmates at a penny apiece. Three years later he was telling cliffhangers to the denizens of the local gambling and snooker hall. Colm’s abiding memory is that these big wasters seemed to enjoy this weekly break from misspending their lives.

When he was fourteen he had a play on BBC Children’s Hour and at twenty-two he brought his short stories to Brian Friel, an emerging playwright. Friel told him, “This stuff’s better than what I was doing at your age. Keep it up.”
But Colm came away from these meetings unimpressed and remembers thinking, “This guy’s going nowhere. I don’t know why I came to him at all.”

Result: Colm gave up writing and decided to live instead. Meanwhile Brian Friel took off and while his plays were showing worldwide for the next thirty years and more, a story was kicking and turning in Colm’s head. That story became a novel and after some years thought he called it For I Have Sinned, a great title which drew remarkable reviews on both sides of the Irish sea.

Encouraged by these, Colm decided to reach for a place away way on past the sky and tell about the remarkable events that took place on the day that James Joyce came back from the dead. Randy as a goat and raring to write after many years of deprivation, James decides among other things to pen a novel that’s bang up-to-date, sexy, outrageous and accessible to one and all – saints, scholars and those in search of a good horny read. It’s a book that’s already in line to win the inaugural Good Sex Award at a ceremony to be held in Maynooth College, the gold phallic statuette to be presented, rumour has it, by the Catholic Primate himself.
Hello and welcome

Now listen. I'm giving Ireland one last chance. James Joyce got out to hell. So did Edna O'Brien. All the ones with talent got out, didn't they? I mean, real talent. Remember Graham Linehan? No? He's the guy that co-wrote Father Ted and Black Books and now writes The I.T. Crowd. He was told to get lost when he was here. Christ got a better welcome from the Pharisees. So he emigrated. Graham. If Christ had emigrated where would we be now? Good question but irrelevant. But Graham now, if Graham had stayed he'd probably be out busking or begging at this very moment and we'd be walking our guilt off as we brushed past him on O'Connell Bridge or somewhere.

They're all gone. Sometimes it seems that the only ones left are seven hundred and fifty thousand Chick Lit writers, a crooked government, mafia bankers, a Catholic hierarchy that's crumbling before its own uncomprehending eyes and an angry despairing populace that doesn't know whether to curse or cry.

THE EARLY INFLUENCES

The first time I fell in love was in Brooke Park library when I was eleven. She was ten and her name was Josephine and she had so many freckles on her face that she was a haze of delight. It didn’t take long for me to work out that she changed her books once a fortnight, always on a Wednesday and always between half four and five. I used to arrive early just in case, hoping she’d do the same and I’d get more of her. But she never did and it was during that twenty minutes of earliness one day that I discovered William Brown. William was the central character in the Just William books by Richmal Crompton and he made me forget my shyness and my sadness by making me laugh out loud. Laughing out loud in Brooke Park library was like yodelling in the chapel coming up to the Consecration but I just couldn’t help it. William had a gang which didn’t include girls because, well, just because. Yet there was one girl that he couldn’t shake off. Violet Elizabeth Bott was the lisping spoilt daughter of the local nouveau riche millionaire and it was Violet’s company that William was forced to endure to prevent her carrying out her threat "I'll thcream and thcream 'till I'm thick." The end of my affair came one Wednesday at the foot of page fifteen of William and the Outlaws. I looked up for some reason and realised that Josephine had come and gone. Or maybe she hadn’t even been. I turned to page sixteen and stifled a snigger.

During the next few years I moved from William to westerns. The greatest of these was by a writer called Jack Schaefer. It’s called Shane and it tells the story of a mysterious gunman who is a combination of Jesus Christ, Che Guevara and Clint Eastwood. What? You’ve read it too and you don’t agree? You feeling lucky?

Just one request before I go. Don’t read a library book when you’re in the toilet, right? Not hygienic. Read it anywhere else – bus, train, plane, wherever – but keep it out of the toilet. The very thought drives my obsessive compulsive disorder to distraction. I’m a Quaker at heart but there’s one cinema murder that I approve of. Remember John Travolta’s character in Pulp Fiction who always took his book to the can with him when he was doing his number two? And never washed his hands after? And Bruce Willis’s character who shot him between the eyes just as he came out of the toilet for the last time? Always remember that.

P.S. Saw Josephine the other day with her grandchildren. All her freckles are gone and she’s a sight. Lucky escape there.


Monday, 28 February 2011

RODDY DOYLE WRITES


Just before Christmas I was sent a list of twenty-five books, all of which had been chosen for World Book Night (March 5th), when a million copies of the chosen books will be given away, free. I hadn’t read most of the twenty-five, so I decided I’d try to read all of them before the March 5th. I’ve read sixteen, so far, and these are my favourites:

1. AGENT ZIGZAG, by Ben McIntyre
This is the true story of a World War Two double agent; he
spied for both sides. It’s very exciting, often funny. If it was a novel you wouldn’t believe it, because some of what happens is so mad and far-fetched. But it actually didhappen. It starts with a woman talking to her future husband, the double agent, in a hotel restaurant. Two men walk in – the police. He gets up, and jumps straight through the glass of the hotel window. And that’s the last she sees of him for six years!

2. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, by Erich Maria Remarque
Another war book, World War One this time. It’s about a very young man’s life in the German Army – how he survives, the insanity of war, the endurance of friendship. It’s very simply written, in the present tense, almost as if he’s writing it while the bombardments and firing are taking place.

3. STUART, A Life Backwards, by Alexander Masters
This is the true story of a homeless man, told to the writer, Alexander Masters, who met Stuart on a street in Oxford. Stuart thought the first draft was boring, so he told Masters to tell the story backwards – from the time they first met, through – backwards – his times in jail, his troubles in school, his teen years, his childhood. He thought it would be a much better way of telling the story – and he was right. It’s shocking, funny, sad, terrifying an absolutely brilliant.

WORLD BOOK NIGHT. The Largest Book Give-Away Ever Attempted!



20,000 passionate book lovers will give away 1,000,000 books on the inaugural World Book Night
The countdown begins. World Book Night will take place on Saturday 5 March 2011 and will be broadcast in partnership with BBC Two. This dynamic and unprecedented industry-wide initiative to celebrate adult books and reading will see one million free books given away on World Book Night by 20,000 passionate readers to other members of the public across the UK and Ireland. World Book Night will take place two days after World Book Day, the established nationwide reading campaign.
A growing list of high-profile figures from publishing, media and the arts are lending their support to this ambitious initiative by becoming Patrons of World Book Night including Damon Albarn, Dave Eggers, Colin Firth, David Gilmour, Antony Gormley, Seamus Heaney, Damien Hirst, Nigella Lawson, Mary Portas, J.K. Rowling and Tilda Swinton.
Author John le Carré says:

“No writer can ask more than this: that his book should be handed in thousands to people who might otherwise never get to read it, and who will in turn hand it to thousands more. That his book should also pass from one generation to another as a story to challenge and excite each reader in his time -that is beyond his most ambitious dreams.”

Author Margaret Atwood adds:

“When Jamie Byng told me about World Book Night, I was amazed not only by its magnitude but by its simplicity. The love of writing, the love of reading – these are huge gifts. To be able give someone else a book you treasure widens the gift circle. I was thrilled to be asked to support World Book Night, and doubly thrilled that The Blind Assassin was chosen to help launch it. Long may its voyage be!”

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Reading?...Not sure about that! (by Ruairi Hession, Transition Year, Carndonagh CS)

I don’t really read books...but I'll read if I'm forced! To me, reading means taking time out and sitting down with a book. I have realised though that I do actually read a lot throughout the day. I may not read books, but I will read computer game magazines, for example, or the text used in games. I also watch some movies with subtitles.

Another form of reading that is unavoidable is studying. I’m in Transition Year now, so I don’t do a lot of studying at the minute. But when I was in Third Year with Junior Cert exams coming up, I was studying like crazy, obviously involving a lot of reading. For the English Junior Cert exam I had to read a novel and a William Shakespeare play.

Reading is a great thing and I wish I would read more, but with all the distractions I never find the time...with TV, computers and gaming consoles, it's much too hard to stay focused. I may read more as I get older and need to increases my vocabulary.

That’s all I have to say. Hope it wasn’t to much trouble to read!

Ruairi Hession
Transition Year, Carndonagh CS