Please share.
Please be there if you can.
Thank you.

‘Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!’

To all of you with a drop of creative blood in their veins, writers, performers, community artists, actors, dancers, directors, singers, film-makers, visual artists – all of you who will be alive on December 10th to witness the dawn of a new democracy and to seize the day in a bloodless, peaceful revolution – I speak to you.
For years we have kept calm and carried on. We have paid our bills and their taxes, not to help us and our children, but to prop up a rotten system and keep our oppressors in the lavish lifestyles they think they are entitled to, as our elected representatives.
That gallant man who founded the Irish Labour Party, James Connolly, if he were alive today, where would he be now? At self-congratulatory banquets in Leinster House? Accepting another bonus, another pension? Driving past our placards in his official car (paid for with our money, of course), with panicky Gardai protecting him against the sight of us and our children being shoved aside as we ask only to be heard, to be treated with respect?
I don’t think so. I believe he would be with us, out on the streets, calling for justice – not in the narrow legal sense which our political masters decree is the only sense, but for the social, natural and humane justice we desperately seek, in a world that has lost its values. In an Ireland where law-abiding citizens have been forced to break a law that should never have been passed in the first place, (and passed with no proper debate), to charge us for our water, which their law now says is a marketable commodity, but which we know to be a right, without which we cannot live, is a crime.
James Connolly, the man who asked the question ‘Who owns the land?’ will be marching in solidarity and in spirit on December 10th, beside the Irish people for whose rights he fought and died.
What a shameful mockery of his vision today’s Labour Party has become, (a party I have always voted for, until now). A party many can no longer recognise as of the people or in any way for the people; a party who has in its shameful ranks a Senator, Lorraine Higgins, who describes this revolt by long-suffering, peaceful citizens as a ‘lawless utopia’. Her illiteracy, political and etymological, and the wilful ignorance she displays by that statement would be enough to make me despair, if people with her lack of vision and compassion were all we had to rely on.
I wish with a heart and a half that I could be in Dublin on 10th December. I am seriously ill, and physically unable to be there to sing our song of angry women and men, who will not be slaves again, together with the hundreds of thousands who are saying ‘Enough is enough’.
As a worker in the arts who has dedicated her life to giving a voice to those who are not listened to, may I urge all my professional colleagues, anyone who feels themself to be an artist of all and any kind to be there, to be part of the best theatre you will ever see in your lifetime?
Wear costume. Wear nothing!
Dance, sing and act your hearts out – make this revolution an artistic act of terrible beauty; make it yours. Don’t be audience, be actors.
Be there to witness the old betrayers of our trust faced with the inescapable truth; that they no longer represent anyone except themselves; that they serve only the interests of bankers, business and corporate greed.
Please be there, for me.

Frances Kay is a playwright and novelist who lived and worked in Ireland from 1990-2012. A serious health condition has resulted in her having to leave a country she dearly loves, but her pen and her passion are always at the disposal of the people, especially the children, of Ireland.
Her great-grandfather, Henry Kingston Kay, was Irish, and she is proud to know that Irish blood flows in her veins.

© Frances Kay 2014.

Some ideas are breathtaking in their simplicity. A day to remember lost species….


November the 22nd. The tides are right. And that matters when it comes to sand drawing. Starting at or just before low tide gives you time to complete your drawing and then watch as it disappears. Watch and wait for the tide to take away what has been created. And that’s why I am here, on Cilborth beach Llangrannog, to bear witness, to remember a lost species.

The passenger pigeon became officially extinct on September the 1st 2014 when Martha, the very last passenger pigeon, died. She was 29 years old, and had not reproduced at Cincinatti Zoo with the male companions who died before her.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the passenger pigeon was the most numerous bird in existence. Eye witness reports describe flocks hundreds of miles long, numbering billions of individual birds. With this extinction was lost not just a beautiful and unique species whose…

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Yes, folks, in the ceaseless quest for verbal serendipity, entertainment and enlightenment I have read through an entire dictionary [well, I must have because this is pretty well on the last page, innit?] to bring you a word that, when you get its meaning, you will wonder how you ever managed without. That sentence may be ungrammatical, but you get my drift?
Zugzwang is a German word, a chess term, but I see no reason why it should be confined to chess. Let it break free into the universe!
Imagine you have been invited to someone’s house for tea. You don’t find them congenial; your heart sinks, but you tell yourself, as we do, that it might be good to go because…. because they sound so genuinely pleased to have you in their tea-drinking clutches; you hope it might strategically be useful – maybe they could babysit, or lend you a decent book to read, or give you a salary boost…. but alas, none of these things happen. You sit glumly, trying not to sneak looks at your watch [am I the only person that still wears a watch especially so I can do this without fiddling with my phone?] wondering how soon and how gracefully you could extricate yourself from this person’s life…
Finally, you do it. You wave goodbye. You hope your paths need never cross socially again. But aarrgggh, a few days later, doesn’t the person phone you and say how lovely it was to meet up, and how great it would be if you were in today, as they will be dropping by around teatime? and a grey cloud comes over your consciousness as you realise there is no alternative for you. You must invite them – they could be your boss or an in-law, anyway, you cannot, much as you’d like to, delete them from your own, all too horribly real, network of acquaintances.
Furthermore, you know that this is just the beginning of a series of unprofitable encounters from which you can never hope to derive pleasure, gain or profit.
That, my friend, is your zugzwang.
Your obligation to make a move that will bring you no advantage at all, yet which you cannot avoid.

I can’t promise that this is one of a series of fab new words, because that’s not how I operate. Next time I am leafing through a dictionary in search of entertainment, I’ll have a look at the letter A. That is as much as I can offer. I have spent my life avoiding zugzwangs.

Blowing in the wind

Sometimes a random stroke of luck brightens the day for me. Like a chance encounter with the woman behind the bookshop counter who, in answer to my question about her love of writing, revealed herself to be a fan of mine. [My writing, that is]. That led to an invitation to come and meet her writers’ group; things like this make me realise afresh that writing isn’t just what writers do in their offices, it’s a way of thinking and being, and of taking pleasure in hearing how others find their way to being writers.
Here’s another fine human being whom I don’t know and am not related to, who’s picked my book to review, and this could be a link in a serendipitous chain of events that brings home to me, who can’t easily get out there and push my work into public attention, how the word gets around and around.

Here it is, a kind and fair review from someone who ‘gets’ the book perfectly:

First of all, I love the word itself. ‘Yes’ is generous and open to infinite possibilities, ‘Yes’ says that we are not afraid to take a bold step into the unknown; ‘Yes’ is brave; we are born out of ‘Yes’; it shines in the faces and echoes in the joyous cries of babies.
‘No’ is a shrinking word, a timid, fearful word that narrows our imaginations and our potential, so, craving safety, we reject the adventure of the new. As a writer, I can only create out of the ‘Yes’ I say to life. Those of us who grew up in a world ruled by constant ‘No’ can, in our writing, fashion those wonderful possibilities and dream the dreams that real life may have denied us.
But of course this is simplistic. The decision for Yes or No is political, social, cultural, financial – all those things and more. But whereas ‘No’ offers us security, more of the same, the status quo, ‘Yes’ throws everyone from the clever banker to the wily politician into spasms of terror because, suddenly, life is not safe or predictable.
Drama and story is made by ordinary people saying ‘Yes’ to offers that, in our lives, we would go to some lengths to avoid. What if we could become billionaires merely by pressing a button that would cause the death of someone somewhere in the world who we don’t know? Would we dare to open the closed door we are forbidden to unlock? What if all men were able to bear babies? The possibilities of ‘Yes’ are exciting, inspiring, limitless.
Of course, you might reply, that is fine for drama and fiction; real life is different. Real life is about doing business, balancing budgets, knowing our proper place in the order of things. I am sorry to say that my life is not, never has been nor never will be about knowing my place. My place is where the struggle is for self-expression, self-determination, my task to give those people a voice who have never been listened to.
I am not Scottish and I have no Scottish connections, but if I lived in Scotland, to be sure I would vote Yes on Thursday. And I would be prepared to accept the consequences. I live in Wales and I lived for twenty years in Ireland. Who can deny that the Scottish decision will have an influence on Welsh politics and how the people of Wales wish to position themselves with regard to London? And what about the elephant in the room, Northern Ireland? Does London want or care about Northern Ireland? How will the Northern Irish feel once Scotland is removed from the uneasy equation that is the ‘United’ Kingdom?
All the terrors and threats implied in Cameron’s last speech were also faced by the nascent Irish nation in 1922, and after a bitter Civil War, Ireland became more, though not completely, independent. [They kept the pound – but it was Irish]. And can anyone say that Ireland before 1922 was part of a ‘United Kingdom’? Some of the problems of being a small nation still adhere, many of the bad practices of politicians have recently tarnished the ideals of Connolly and Pearse. Ireland is not currently a success in financial terms, in spite of what the media parrots, since Dublin nowadays is occupying exactly the same role as London. Wealth and full employment have not spilled out to the regions, emigration is leaching the population of the skilled and intelligent of working age, anger and disillusionment are apparent in the forgotten regions and those at the bottom of the heap – the poorest, the old, the sick, disabled, the children – are the ones being stripped of their incomes.
No wonder Scots are cynical about the promises ‘London’ is making. London is frightened – and like any bully, when scared, they are making dark threats about how awful life after Yes will be, because they will make it so. Anyone who votes ‘No’ tomorrow out of fear, because they have been threatened by Cameron and the banks, has my sympathy. I hope people won’t choose ‘No’ out of fear or because they feel bullied.
The unknown will be scary, confused, joyful, dangerous, above all, the old certainties will be turned upside down, and a peaceful revolution in the consciousness of all of us could herald the end of a system of government that no longer works to serve its people, and the end of political parties which have no relevance any more to the lives we actually lead.

It’s like watching tadpoles, as I did one summer, having struggled out of their jelly and learned about wriggling and eating, becoming reduced in number every day by natural hazards such as sibling [or possibly parental] cannibalism, bird attacks, or the gradual drying out of their nursery before they had legs enough to hop to the next pond.
It’s exactly the same with the many, many small publishing companies now struggling at the fringe of that enormous pond. Writers can scan a growing alphabetical list, read their submission guidelines and pick one – or sometimes more – to submit to. That’s what I did, when faced with a choice of self-publishing or not publishing at all. I like working with editors; polishing a novel that you consider couldn’t be buffed up any further to a shine so dazzling it’s amazing the whole world doesn’t notice it, is fun, worthwhile, and exciting.
Ah, but there’s the rub. DOLLYWAGGLERS is now published, and the world doesn’t turn a hair. Everything stays the same. Your book may be brilliant, but somehow, nobody who forms opinions notices the brilliance.
Here’s where self-published authors go ballistic; writing articles, taking blog tours, getting interviewed, visiting book festivals, doing talks and workshops, until their baby begins to attract the attention it deserves. I’m somewhat handicapped from marketing myself, being too disabled to travel far or run workshops [as I used to do]. This blog and my FB page are the only megaphones I have to speak to my world.
So, I’d like to invite you to watch the Grimbold video on Kickstarter, to find out if this tadpole is worth feeding. Your contribution could make the difference between life and death to their precarious existence. Thank you.
Here’s the link: