As most of you probably know, I’m a regular attendee of the monthly Fiction at the Friary event (you can read about it here.)
On 13 Sep, Fiction at the Friary organisers Danielle Mclaughlin and Madeleine D’Arcy brought their event to the Goldie Chapel in Nano Nagle Place, as part of Cork International Short Story festival.
The night kicked off at 7.30 with Danielle and Madeleine reading some of their own work, with Eimear Ryan of Banshee Literary magazine facilitating. I’m used to listening to them introducing other people’s work, so this was a lovely treat. Both ladies are masters of the short story, as they showed on the night.
Madeleine introduced us to Victor, an aging rock star, that you pitied and liked all at once. Vivid characters brought the piece to life. I’d love to hear about more about Victor’s escapades. Danielle read a piece of flash fiction, The Hook, told from a young girl’s point of view. This was an anxious, beautifully descriptive tale, with dark undertones.
During the Q&A session, we found out about their writing, inspirations, their editing processes and the writing community. They work brilliantly together and love hosting the monthly Fiction at the Friary events. This is no surprise to anyone who has been to the Friary Bar on the last Sunday of every month!
At 9.00pm the rapid fiction event started.
In the usual Fiction at the Friary style, jelly beans, marshmallows and Hula Hoops were in plentiful supply. Twenty writers, including myself, read a two minute piece of fiction. As you can see from the listing below, I was surrounded by wonderful writers. I was in awe to be involved!
When each of us finished our piece, at the ring of the bell, we moved to a computer to write a completely original story, contributed to by everyone.
If you’d like to hear my piece, click on the link below. I will add the whole piece to the end of the post. My piece was flash fiction, aptly inspired by the Flash Fiction at the Friary event with Denyse Woods and Nuala O’Connor, hosted by Catherine Kirwan and Marie Gethins.
While our story was deciphered and edited to make some sense, special guest Nick Kelly took over on the altar with a song to revive the hard working writers.
I was excited and half dreading to hear our combined original story! After some much needed editing, Cork actor Kevin Power appeared with the printout of our story. He did a brilliant job of bringing the piece together. It was surreal and strange, with some hilarious parts, the star of the piece was a wheelie bin! Kevin definitely had the most difficult job of the night!
The wonderful evening continued with a warm, evocative short story by Colm MacManus, assisted in song by Colm Scully. The short stories continued, as Nick returned to the stage to read a short story he had written twenty years before. The evening wrapped with a song from Nick about Andre the Giant and Samuel Beckett, which was definitely a story, as well as a song!
It was an amazing evening and such a pleasure to take part in, especially in such a magnificent venue as The Goldie Chapel in Nano Nagle Place. Thanks to Danielle and Madeleine for organising this event which showcased the beautiful short story in many forms.
Here is my piece of flash fiction from the night:
It all started on the Ryanair flight back to Dublin from London. I hated flying, I said that aeroplanes were nasty hotbeds of infection. In turns out I was right, as always, my husband said.
Before the take-off, two rows in front of me, a man sat spluttering and coughing. I could almost feel the infectious drops flying towards me in the air. My husband said I was a hypochondriac. Mid-flight, a woman started retching and vomiting, commencing a domino of puke from rows 17 to 14. I was in row 10, but the disgustingly sweet smell still assaulted my nostrils.
At home, three days later, my husband started hacking and barking. I tried to ignore it, until it was followed by projectile vomiting. I went around sanitising, failing to notice the other changes until it was too late. The vomiting began at 8 in the morning and by 8 in the evening, he had started to dry out. His skin grew bumpy and grainy, seeds popped out of the tips of his fingers and ears. His breathing was suddenly laboured and he pleaded wordlessly at me with yellowing eyes. I rang for an ambulance and explained the symptoms. There was a pause before she told me that he was another victim of ‘The Shelling’. She asked me if I’d been watching the news. I replied no, it made me anxious.
He dried out to a dead, beige husk before my eyes and his breathing halted. I cried, but no tears came. A rasping cough erupted in my chest. Finally, I turned on the news. The pandemic of the Bushels virus, AKA, The Shelling, was spreading worldwide, with no cure. The had tried pesticides, but they just killed people faster. I lie and wait until I too become a shell.