It’s only recently that I’ve started adding writer to my by-line. It was what I wanted to be when I grew up since about third class (nine years old). My teacher of the time decided that each student was to try and write their own story. Through the unintentional eves-dropping kids go through, I slowly learnt that everyone else's work was very “real life” based - catching a robber who broke into a shop, working on a farm. Mine was about a girl named Rogue who had a (sarcastic) talking horse, lived in a fantasy woodland, and was sent on a quest to find the collar necklace (that was a spelling mistake that mini-me just pretended was intentional. Even now I remember it was supposed to be coral necklace). I’m pretty sure it was heavily inspired by the never ending story and lord of the rings. And I know now that it deeply cemented my love of writing.
Skip forward through many years of amazing English teachers, continued terrible spelling, discovering the magic of creative critical research in college, and we roughly land in Dublin two years ago. I haphazardly wrote this, my personal blog, but was also about to enter the planning stages of Tough Soles. I know that in 2017 I wrote nearly 35k words through that blog, and I’m hoping to break that record this year. It’s not the kind of writing nine year old me would have imagined, but I’ve really come to love it - although I think I’ve exhausted the variety of ways I can say ‘it rained’. I’ve also (tentatively) started letting text have a more interesting role in my personal creative practices; hence the red girls and there is rarely silence while walking.
All of this has lead me to being braver with my applications and ideas, and so over maybe the past month I’ve had my words and work published in places!
1. In The Frame: Fractured Landscapes
In each issue of Totally Dublin magazine there is In The Frame, a full page given over to printing a single image/piece, accompanied by some text explaining the project. This month I got to share one of the images from my Fractured Landscapes series. At the time of publication, this image was hanging in HALFTONE print fair.
2. Intrepid Magazine - Issue 6
Intrepid magazine is a pretty cool thing in my eyes. They are the only female-first print and online adventure magazine that I know of, and so I pitched them an article where I talk about The Highs and Lows of Hiking - not the most inspired article title, but it’s basically me looking at the different things that affect my motivation while we’ve been working on Tough Soles. In it, I imagine “the elephant in the room” as three actual elephants that lumber along the hillside behind me as I hike.
Note: If I’m perfectly honest, I haven’t re-read my article since it’s been published, as I’m afraid I won’t like it.
3. Del Norte:
self published photobook
This book isn’t exactly new - in fact, I first started making this in 2016. However, when I found out in October that I’d been accepted onto my masters programme I decided to run a little online sale, and included my Del Norte books. Being the first photobook I’d ever tried to make, it’s not the surprising to me that there are many things I would change about it. And, happily enough, there was one thing I decided I could change: text.
When I published this I first didn’t have any text, but when I exhibited some of the prints back in 2016, I printed off diary extracts and stuck them to the walls. Since then I’ve wondered how I could incorporate the text into the book. I ended up making a couple of different versions - in one copy I stuck the text in on tracing paper between or onto the pages. It almost worked, but wasn’t quite right.
Some of my books were wrapped in large sheets with stamps, so then I included a plain leaflet inside the wrapping. There were a couple of other variations, and the design I’ve stuck with for now is the one shown in the photograph - the text in a little booklet, the cover of which is tracing paper with some of the stamps I collected while walking printed on it. Also mentioned in the image above is the fact that the book is for sale in The Library Project in Temple Bar! Thank you so much to everyone who has bought a copy from me, or from TLP.
The last piece that will be coming out before the new year is a short Tough Soles update in the winter edition of Mountaineering Ireland’s The Mountain Log.
Also, thank you for all the book recommendations. I have 50 books on my To Do list, and probably 100 more that are saved in notes apps or scribbled on mislaid pieces of paper. Reading hasn’t been fast these two months, but I think by the time this is published I should have finished: Photography and Ireland by Justin Carville; Doing Visual Ethnography by Sarah Pink; and The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin.
At the moment I’m having fun taking part in one of those social media sharing posts “post 7 book covers for 7 days with no titles or descriptions”. To be honest, most of the books I’m reading have all the information on the cover, so it’s not all that secretive or mysterious.
Seeing as this post has turned into just discussing writing; my dad wrote a book - The Dangerous Book for CEOs! It’s just words central right now.
Also, I’m officially 6 weeks into my masters programme, and a lot of things have happened in that time. I think I’ll leave this blog post just to writing for now, and do more recapping in maybe the next post. I do want to mention that Carl and I did some amazing training with Leave No Trace Ireland, and I’m very excited to write my piece discussing it (that piece will probably come out on the Tough Soles blog).
Finally, I wonder would nine year old me be disappointed or relieved to know how bad I still am at spelling.