Louise Bierig offered a session on May 19.

Louise is a writer, developmental editor and coach. She is the workshop leader for Lansdowne Writers’ Workshop. She specializes in fiction, memoir, case studies, medical, nursing, textbooks, business and ESL materials.

From Louise:

We had participants from Brooklyn, Philadelphia suburbs, Los Angeles, Canada, and Ireland.

The prompts were,

1. Write about an unwanted or unwelcome gift – either given or received and

2. Two-part prompt, adapted from Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones Deck.”

a) From memory or imagination, begin with “I’m thinking of….” If you get stuck, return

to “I’m thinking of…” and keep going.

b) Now for a deeper dive, begin with “what I’m not thinking of….” Continue with this,

returning to “what I’m not thinking of…” when you get stuck.

Jump to Sinéád MacDevitt’s piece.

Jump to Louise Bierig’s piece.

Giving Birth by Sinéád MacDevitt

A square package arrived in the post, my birthday present.  When I unwrapped the brown paper, it was album covered in red and white.  On the back, was a black and white photograph showing a family.  The clothes reminded me of what people could have worn during the famine.  With enthusiasm, my father started to play the music on the gramophone.  So downbeat and slow moving.  A far cry from the musical Grease and the sound of the Bee Gees and the Latin beat of Saturday Night Fever.  But Dad said: “Do you realise the group have travelled all over the world to perform in concerts?  I realised it was my granny who sent me the LP record of Clannad.

One song I remember was Níl ‘na lá (Not yet day).  The first verse was slow moving.  The tempo picked up for the second verse backed up my male singers and continued throughout with speed until it was time to round off the last word with a diminuendo.  So haunting and hypnotic.  Solas árd atá sa ghealaigh, ghealaigh, ghealaigh.  (Light high in the moon, the moon, the moon).

I have since bought the cassette and CD version of Clannad.  The music seems to have been ramped up. Was it the tempo, exotic exposures or simply my open ear?  Could it have been the internalisation of the Latin beat harmonising with the Celtic lilt?  One of my favourites was Newgrange and Robin, the Hooded Man used for a theme tune for a TV drama. When producing a play when teaching Speech & Drama, I used Enya’s song Cursum Perficio for a scene from the Irish legend Etáin and Midir.

I’ll quote the saying from Deborah Hautzig’s book, Second Star to the Right, “Like fish and opera, you’ll get to like your name”.  Well, like fish and opera, I got to like Clannad as well as Irish music, upbeat and downbeat.  Like fish and opera, I began to appreciate my granny’s gifts.  I hope she can hear me now.  God bless her.

Stand in my skin by Louise Bierig

Stand in my skin.

Stand in my feet.

I am me. I am not you.

You cannot invade me with

your judgement,

your criticism,

your need.

I want my own place.

A place where I can stand and say,

I am me.

I am deeply connected to myself

and this is exactly where I’m supposed to be standing right now

and this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

Thank you for joining us for Write Around the World!

For the rest of the summer, watch our blog! We are sharing writing from AWA’s yearly marathon fundraiser, which happened this year all-online throughout the month of May.

We offer this series in appreciation for the incredible community of writers and workshop leaders that sustain us. If you’re inspired and would like to be part of the fundraiser, please donate!

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