Sing When You’re Winning

In these strange times, it's hard to feel motivated. Plans get scuppered, so we can be forgiven for thinking that there's no point in trying. I have battled that demon most days over the past months and, when I woke today wanting to do something creative, I wondered if I could defeat it. How will …

We Tell Ourselves Stories

In her essay I Can’t Get That Monster Out Of My Mind (included in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, 1968), Joan Didion diagnoses a sickly 1960s Hollywood system that had “a few interesting minds at work; and a great many less interesting ones” and was producing “fewer pictures but not necessarily better pictures”. Despite Hollywood’s self-image as …

Circles of Life

My grandmother’s grandmother died on this day 129 years ago. Sarah (sometimes known as Sally) married a man named James Callinan of Peterswell Co. Galway in about 1847, during horrors of the Great Famine. Despite those hardships, Sally survived and had many children. Obviously I never met her but I share her DNA. It’s staggering …