A Wise Woman knows her friends


Can't cover

In my experience there are three phases involved in the act of writing: the writing itself; the edit and polish; the promotion.

The first phase is the most challenging – getting the idea down on paper – though, in many ways, it’s the most straight-forward. Once the writing (a poem for the purpose of this piece) has been made real, it can be toyed with on the page until it’s ready for publication. Which brings me to the second phase: the edit and polish. Many poems arrive almost fully-formed and require little ‘polish’ (these are the poems which win awards); others may take years to hone and may never quite turn out to the poet’s satisfaction.

The third phase, the promotion, is the one I’ve spent least time on over the years, choosing to focus on phases one and two. Until recently most of my energy was deployed in the writing of the poem, a lesser amount on the polish and practically none on the promotion, though it’s now that my output is greater than ever.

At first I was worried that that was because I’d run out of ideas and was spending more time on the edit, rather than on the composition. I think, though, that with practice I’ve learnt to incorporate much of the edit into the writing itself. As for the  manuscripts which have languished on the shelf for years, approaching them now with the perspective distance brings, less time and energy are needed to  complete the task.

As for the promotion of my two most recent books ‘A lesson in Can’t (Scotus Press, 2014) and ‘Blood Debts’ (Scotus Press, 2014), I’ve been blessed with the help of one friend, in particular, Lia Mills. Lia is an extraordinary writer in her own right whose novel ‘Fallen’ is well on its way to becoming a modern day classic. Not content with her own work, though, Lia devotes many hours to the work of other writers as evidenced by her series of interviews with them.

I will forever be in her debt for:


‘Hidden Irelands’ her interview with me for the DRB (November, 2014),

her generous comments in The Irish Times


and her Foreword to my ‘A lesson in Can’t’ (Scotus Press, 2014) as discussed on Arena


A Wise Woman knows her friends.

Thank you, Lia.


One thought on “A Wise Woman knows her friends

  1. It’s hard to know how to respond to this, Celia. All the obvious things are true – it was a genuine pleasure; I meant every word I wrote; I appreciate the thanks. But there’s danger in it, just as responding might be dangerous –in the sense that even genuine, thoughtful blogs can be endangered by their context, at risk of either being hijacked for PR purposes or simply mis-read as having that intention. At the risk of being misunderstood, though: You’re very welcome; it was a complete pleasure; and your work deserves it. It’s great to see and hear so much discussion of A lesson in Can’t and Blood Debts, great to know they’re causing a stir. I was just lucky to know about them in advance!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s