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Emerging Writer Member Profile

Anne Dooley

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Member Bio:

The idea that I want to be a writer is completely at odds with the teenage girl that went to secondary school many years ago. The weekend English essay was always put on the long finger and eventually and unwillingly I struggled with it late on a Sunday evening, producing some half-baked and lack lustre attempt. As I grew older my character evolved and I underwent a period of deep depression resulting in my need to purge my past and all the baggage that I carried with me from childhood into adulthood and married life. On the advice of medical professionals that writing about my journey into, and out from under, this depression would be very therapeutic and beneficial to my recovery, I embarked on a simple autobiography, never intending to have it read or published. Thus, began my flirtation with writing. I loved it! I loved putting my thoughts down on paper and watched as my story progressed. I know that my first attempt at writing is pedestrian and rather basic but nonetheless it has given me the impetus to start.

Writing sample

My favourite place in the world is in North Co Mayo. Home to my dad and grandfather and many generations before them, I have been visiting here since I was a young child. The place has so much history and emotional attachment that my husband and I built a house there for our family to spend holidays in, as my dad’s family home is no longer standing. Situated on a tiny peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic sea, the area around our house is a haven for a magical mixture of views, smells and sounds. This is most especially noticeable when driving from “Roith” to “Doohoma”. Driving on this road one experiences the view of our headland from an elevated perspective and it is simply breath-taking. The sea sparkles like diamonds when the weather is nice and clear and you can see for miles. However, when the weather is windy and stormy the sight and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore is magical. The stormy seas usually churn up the seaweed and the smell of the salty air and seaweed along with the smell of burning turf brings back so many memories of great childhood holidays. As children holidaying in my dad’s old homestead, the only form of heating was a turf fire and the smell to this day elicits great memories of family card games in the evenings after a day spent at the beach. We had no TV in the old house. While out walking the beach on any one of those windy days the taste of the salty sea air and the feel of the wind on my face is very refreshing and it clears all the cobwebs.
The whole area in general is not densely populated but there are houses visible dotted around the valley that it can look like Brigadoon emerging from the clouds when you turn the corner on the road driving into the headland. I often stop and pause to take in the sheer majesty of the view. The sea lends itself as a backdrop to an area largely comprising of bog, small farm holdings and even smaller fishing vessels. Generations of families have lived in these parts and have witnessed mass emigration and hardship for centuries as the land itself, though picture perfect on a good day, is not conducive to good farming other than sheep and very small herds of cattle. However, with the influx of wealth to our country in recent times this area has now happily witnessed the return of many emigrants from the UK and it is lovely to hear the mixture of accents between the locals and the returnees.
I unwind completely when I visit here. I have a plaque hanging in my kitchen that says, “beside the sea we forget to count time” and honestly this is true for me and undeniably for my family. I love to visit, and in winter when we stay the inclement weather can add a touch of romance to the whole scene. I still burn turf in an open fire though we do have central heating and together with the smell of scented candles and a glass of wine to hand it often feels like a scene from a romance novel or movie!

Current project

I am currently working on a creative writing course with the WritersBureau.com and have recently successfully completed the non-fiction section. [I am currently in the middle of the fiction part and though struggling and lurching forward with difficulty, I will see the project through to the end. I am not a natural fiction writer, I prefer non-fiction.] My ambition is to write about my journey into mental wellbeing and beyond discovering my true purpose and on the way.

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