Writing short stories is fun, but deciding which ones to included in my collection was very difficult. They are all important, each having been created at different times and for different reasons. Some of them I wrote quickly, while others took much longer. This was not necessarily to do with the length of the story, but just how it came into being. There is no hard and fast rule as to how you force the issue and get a story completed, because if you do so, I find, that it’s like dragging a horse to water rather than gently leading him. The phrase ‘less is more’ seems to suggest a good way to do your work.
So, after much toing and froing, I made my selection and they take their place in The Bloomsday Boys, which is now available as an ebook on Kindle. Click the image below for preview.
The Bloomsday Boys
As good luck and timing would have it, I finished the book just before Bloomsday and the title story was read outside Sweny’s Pharmacy on the ‘big day’ by Shane Egan – and he did a mighty fine job. The video below shows him in full flow, and some interesting pictures inside Sweny’s and of Bloomsday revellers dressed in appropriate, Joycean attire!
The weather obliged, thankfully, permitting many to dress in Edwardian-period clothes and brighten up events. From early on people gathered for a breakfast of mutton kidneys in various restaurants and pubs, before starting to make their way along the route set-out in James Joyce’s Ulysses. The celebration of one of the most famous days in literature has grown from a tiny beginning in 1954 to become a worldwide event. From Auckland to Arklow, Sydney to Skibbereen and New York to Nenagh groups arranged events to remember the great writer, something that is growing with each passing year.
Outside Sweny’s Pharmacy
Hats, hats, everywhere…
Around one o’clock I met a few friends and we made our way to Sweny’s Pharmacy on Lincoln Place. The place was packed with a babel of accents filling the tiny, time-warped pharmacy. The strong smell of lemon soap wafted onto the street where a large crowd gathered to hear Shane Egan reading The Bloomsday Boys. Having written the short story, I was delighted to see and hear it performed in Dublin on the big day, and Shane certainly did it justice. His strong, clear projection brought the story to life as he moved about the packed pavement. He was dressed in a black suit, white shirt, black tie and, of course, a black bowler hat – his image neat and convincing. The crowd listened in rapt attention as Shane began; then laughed at the antics of the characters in the story, before breaking into a rousing version of Cockles & Mussels at the end. I was absolutely thrilled with the performance, and I’d like to think that JJ himself would have approved, and tipped his hat in acknowledgement. It was, indeed, a great Blooming day!
Me & Shane