• West Cork Literary Festival 2021

Never Outgrow Small Boreens by Martine O’Donovan

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Martine O'Donovan

Martine O'Donovan

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It is amazing where we can draw inspiration when we allow ourselves to stop, focus and consider our lives, our influences.  Writing has always been therapeutic for me.  Just getting something out of the head and on to the page can transform my day, or even my night’s sleep.

I decided to take the plunge five years ago to take early retirement from my HSE job to focus on my art and my writing. I’ve been part of a Writer’s group in Tramore for about thirteen years.  I had number of solo art exhibitions, and under each piece I’d place a piece of writing on parchment paper about the painting.  I was amazed at the amount of people that approached me about the pieces of writing!  I figured I needed to put the brushes down for a while and just write.

I started with a short thriller novel which still needs some fine tuning, and I’ve placed it in a drawer to take a break from it and return with fresh eyes. I love short snappy pieces, and I commenced with a collection of short stories. One of the first I sent to Fish Publishing was shortlisted. “Seven Deadly Sins”, a snapshot of a child sticking its’ finger into the jelly bowl. This encouraged me to keep going!  The poem, being the ultimate short story gives me the greatest pleasure. I try to paint with my words, and I love to focus on one intimate detail and write about that.

There has been quite a lot of hard life experiences and a need in me to polish them into something beautiful that separates it from the experience.  You can then look at the beauty of the words rather than the experience. Michael Coady’s work is beautifully written and I very much enjoy the depth in his work.  Michael D Higgins collections of poetry I particularly love.  He has such a compassionate eye, and made me realise there is no shame in childhood poverty or the experiences that we cut our teeth on.  They embellish our lives in so many ways, and there is a beauty and truth in them as we learn to uncover our own beauty and truth. Time spent in nature has always transformed me and it is reflected in a lot of my pieces.

I floundered around for quite some time regarding self publishing or not, and then decided to go for it.  I had been editing tracts of writing for a few individuals, when a friend of mine suggested Orla Kelly Publishing in Cork.  He said she was very professional and gets the job done. She was all of those things and made it a very stress free experience.  I was thrilled with the finished product, and she translated what I carried in my head into my first book. ‘Never Outgrow Small Boreens’.  I used an image of my son as a young boy running down the lane at the Saleens, a wild and beautiful spot near Tramore with Sandhills, the backstrand with all of its wild birds, the dangerous Rinnashark channel where three currents converge, the saltmarshes and lagoons.  It is a place of wonder and is in constant motion.  The elemental beauty of the place enthralls me and it creeps in to my writing just like the waters filling the back strand.  My message would be never give up on the joy of living and new discoveries best found on country lanes.

The book is a collection of short stories and poetry mingled with small pauses created by some of my images.  I’ve tried to create a balance between pieces on domestic violence, suicide, depression, and meditative pieces on nature, innocence, the love of family, and our brilliant capacity to reclaim ourselves.

(c) Martine O’Donovan

About Never Outgrow Small Boreens:

Never Outgrow Small Boreens is a breathtaking exploration of the soul journey. Native-born Irish author and poet Martine O’Donovan draws inspiration from the elemental beauty of the sea, her history and culture, and the beautiful countryside of Ireland.

This is a deeply fulfilling poetry collection and selection of short stories including her photographs and artwork from Waterford, Ireland. She explores loss that infiltrates our lives and our brilliant capacity to reclaim ourselves with the true resilience of the human spirit and the joy of being alive to experience it all to the fullest.

Never Outgrow Small Boreens takes these experiences and polishes them into something lovely. Never tire of new adventures found on small uncharted roads.

( Boreen – Irish: Bóithrín, meaning “a little road”, country lane in Ireland.)

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Martine O’Donovan hails from Clonmel, County Tipperary. Writer and Artist, Martine has been writing and painting for many years. She lives by the sea in Tramore, County Waterford with her family. This is her first book of poetry and short stories. She is currently working on a new collection.

Part of Tramore Writers for thirteen years now, and over the years we had two books published with short stories.

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