All posts by corishmonica

“The Air is Alive with Fear and Care” @AllinghamArts #CreativityAgainstCorona

The Air is Alive with Fear and Careriver and tree

When people greet in South Sudan, they hold hands for many minutes – half an hour if the warmth is strong, the bond of kin or friendship. How is your mother? Your aunt? Your son? And your herd of cattle – thriving? Did the speckled cow survive the difficult birth?

Now the air crackles between us, friend or stranger, in every nation. Two metres. Six feet, the length of a coffin.

I walk a narrow path in the woods, meet a man with an unleashed terrier. Will he step to his side, mirror my care? He does. We smile, we breathe a sigh. The air is alive with fear and care.

On the lake the Swans continue their slow courtship. I am learning the songs of the residents – Blackbird, Robin, Song Thrush, Wren – while they have the forest to themselves. The evenings are longer by the day. Larks exhilarate, Starlings murmurate, dark swirls against a brightening sky.

Soon the explorers will arrive from Africa – Cuckoo and Swallow, the creaking Corncrake, not yet extinct. There is no call to quarantine the birds. This island will levitate with their cacophony, their mating joy, they will tell again their noisy stories, how they navigate by star maps and the magnets in their eyes.

Leave us our green walks, I pray. O makers of the rules of wise restraint, let me be close to the wisdom of Hazel, let me watch its first leaf unfurl out of the cell of winter. I can do this, I tell myself. Cocoon. Lock-down. Self-isolate.

And if they say I cannot walk between the trees, there is still my garden, small and unruly, in need of love. I can do this, however long it takes.

If every day I can rinse my heart clean of fear. If I can fill my lungs with the forest god’s green air.

Monica Corish, 24 March 2020, @AllinghamArts #CreativityAgainstCorona

Poetry and Story, Landscape and Myth – Imbolc writing workshop February 2nd

At this workshop, based on the Amherst Method, we will write in response to prompts inspired by Imbolc / Lá Fhéile Bríde.

Imbolc is associated with the birth of lambs, the spring sowing, the return of the long days and the fire of the sun. It is a time of new beginnings, green shoots, the unploughed field, the blank page. Imbolc is also known as Brigid’s Day – Lá Fhéile Bríde. Brigid, honoured both as a pre-Christian goddess and as a Christian saint, is linked with blessing and fertility, inspiration, midwifery and birth.

No previous knowledge of myth or experience of writing is necessary to participate in this writing workshop – all you need bring with you is a notebook, a pen, and a willingness to be surprised by your own unique voice.

“What brings me back time and again is the surprise of not knowing what will emerge…”

“It’s A Performance” published in Authors Publish Newsletter #347.

Excellent advice from the excellent Tom Sigafoos.

Tom Sigafoos

overciming pub spk anx

My article on reading your work in public (“It’s a Performance”) has been published in Issue 347 of the Authors Publish Newsletter.

Writers who haven’t yet discovered Authors Publish should take a close look at the newsletter. They provide up-to-date news on journals and publishers who are seeking submissions, plus interesting articles related to the business and the craft of writing — all for free.

What’s in a Name?

Harold Lillis and Leslie Townes became Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.

What is songwriter and singer Roberta Joan Anderson’s stage name?

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Just Write

Kinlough, Co Leitrim; Fortnightly on Wednesdays, January 15 – May 20;  7 – 9:30 PM.

2888979463_7d12d71a4cYou like to write, but you don’t know where to start? You used to write, but you can’t remember how you made it happen? You are a writer, but your words feel stale on the page?

Then this Amherst method workshop is for you. Full details at, or contact / 087-641 4185.


Image credit: amystrachan

Why Writing is More Important Than Ever

Tom Sigafoos

In The Best of BrainPickings 2019, Maria Popova includes an article on Iris Murdoch which quotes extensively from her book Existentialists and Mystics: Writing on Philosophy and Literature. It includes deeply-encouraging observations on why it is vital to keep writing, even in these dark days following another “low and dishonest decade”:

iris murdoch 2

“Tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify. The good artist is a vehicle of truth, he formulates ideas which would otherwise remain vague and focuses attention upon facts which can then no longer be ignored.

“The quality of a civilisation depends upon its ability to discern and reveal truth, and this depends upon the scope and purity of its language.

“Any dictator attempts to degrade the language because this is a way to mystify.

“Whenever we write we ought to write as well as we can… in order to defend…

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Writing Workshops, Kinlough, Co Leitrim, Spring 2020

Details, Dates, PayPal links:

Writing: the Art and the Craft – – Fortnightly on Tuesdays typewriter-28701_960_720

Writing and manuscript response for those who are working toward publication. Develop your skills through tailored exercises and guidance on craft, and receive constructive critique and insightful feedback from other writers. 

Just Write – – Fortnightly on Wednesdays      2888979463_7d12d71a4c

Creative writing time for everyone: beginners & experienced writers, women & men, anyone over the age of 18. Whether you are completely new to creative writing or an experienced writer who wants to generate new work and experiment with different genres and styles, this Amherst method workshop is for you.

Image credit: amystrachan