London: European Poetry & Prose Event

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Slipping – a 100w story

For this week’s prompt I have reworked a flash fiction that has been published in the National Flash Fiction Day 2013 anthology ‘Scraps.’
I did start to write a new story  but this kept coming to mind so I decided to see if I could get it down from 150 words to 100 without losing too much of what it was about.
If anyone would like to read the original version, it’s here

This week’s photo prompt comes courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who also hosts this group. To get involved in the challenge, click here

To read other contributions, click on the blue froggy




Her eyes twinkle as she takes the apple pie from the oven.
She can see the beach through the kitchen window and knows by the rising tide that the harbour is full enough for her handsome new husband to land the boat.
The back door slams and she smiles.  But instead of her young spouse she sees an old man who hasn’t fished the bay for nearly twenty years.
“Margaret, my love,” he says quietly. “Do you know that’s the third apple pie you’ve made today?”
The pie dish slips from her trembling fingers and shatters.

©Siobhán McNamara

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Special Delivery

Today’s writing prompt from the Daily Post is ‘Brick.’

Genre: Fiction



It’s only a brick.

It’s not even all that heavy.

And the glass can be swept up, the broken window repaired, the scratches on the floorboards sanded and varnished as good as new.

No major damage, really.

But the sanctuary found in this new home, that can never be restored.

And the fear is back, heavier than before.

It’s only a single brick.

It might as well weigh a ton.

The note attached with butcher’s string says: “Go back where you came from or the next time it’ll be a petrol bomb.”

©Siobhán McNamara

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Something in the Water – a 100w story

The photo prompt for the weekly 100-word story challenge Friday Fictioneers FF20160520is courtesy of ©J Hardy Carroll.

To find out how to join the challenge, click here.

To read some of the many other wonderful and diverse contributions, click on the Blue Froggy


Something in the Water

Kayleigh couldn’t remember how long she had been alone. At least there were sweets and cola in the vending machine.

When she first arrived at the hospital with her family, it had been packed. The whole city was dying, even the nurses.

Kayleigh’s Dad was dying before that. He said drug companies were hoarding cures because they wouldn’t make money if people weren’t sick. He said they had stuff you could put in the water and bang, no more cancer.

Just before everyone got sick the newspaper said there had been a break-in at the research laboratory. Kayleigh’s brother had been missing ever since.

©Siobhán McNamara

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Wounded- a flash fiction

This week’s contribution for Friday Fictioneers is below, with thanks to ©Madison Woods for the photo prompt and Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the weekly 100-word story challenge.

To get involved click here

To read other contributions, click on the blue froggy.




Joe had certainly inherited his father’s skill.
Joseph Senior’s passion had resulted in stunning hybrid roses and a trophy cabinet unequalled on the garden show circuit.
Old George remembered those past shows fondly. He placed a rough hand on Joe’s shoulder as he presented him with ‘Best In Show’ for his deep red floribunda.
The old man’s touch transported Joe back to his father’s earthy shed where Joseph Senior hugged him close and told him he was the finest rose ever, before pushing hard against him and panting while Joe prayed for the ‘hug’ to end.
“I must visit your garden,” said George
“It’s private,” replied Joe coldly.

©Siobhán McNamara

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Jonjo – a 100w story

My offering for Friday Fictioneers this week is Jonjo, inspired by the photo prompt below which comes courtesy of ©Kent Bonham.

To get involved in this weekly challenge, click here

To read other contributions click on the blue Froggy





Jonjo was confused.
Had the others run out of time? It was an easy assignment but they had clearly struggled.
At last his turn came. He held up his work, butterflies in his tummy as he awaited their approval.
“Em,” said Teacher. “That’s nice dear, but the assignment was to draw something you could see.”
Jonjo had drawn exactly what he saw when he looked at the rock, carefully including all it’s wonderful shapes and textures and shadows.
“WTF?” someone said, and giggled.
“It’s his Special Needs,” whispered Jonjo’s friend Mandy crossly.
Jonjo wondered why his picture made Mandy sad.

©Siobhán McNamara

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First Lines – a poem for National Poetry Writing Month

I’m dipping into National Poetry Writing Month again. After a quick browse through the prompts on the Lagan Press website I chose not today’s but that of Day 7: First Line – “Pick a poetry book off your shelf and select a poem (don’t think too much about it, be random, choose a particular favourite, or just a well known one). Write down the first line of the poem, and use this as a jumping off point for your own piece.”
The book I picked from the shelf was Seamus Heaney’s collection ‘Human Chain’ and the poem that was on the first page I opened was ‘The Conway Stewart.’
So with a nod of thanks to the late great Seamus Heaney, here is the first draft of a poem which I will for now call ‘First Lines.’


First Lines

‘Medium’, 14-carat nib.
It mattered in those early days,
what type of pen I used.
As if a finer point or nicer colour
could somehow produce
a better tale.

These days
most of my work is hammered out
on a laptop keyboard,
garnering speed to meet a fast-approaching print deadline
head on.

I smile sometimes
at the criteria by which I once judged pens.
Now my preference
is the cheap ballpoint that moves swiftest
across my reporter’s pad
and doesn’t smudge, keeping my shorthand
legible and true.

is still the aspiration,
be it in news or prose or life,
though now I know
that what is gold
does not tend
to glister.


©Siobhán McNamara



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A Poem to the Character of Death

I had more or less decided not to do NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) this year because I have a bit too much going on at the moment but here I am. I came across this post from Lagan Press – they will be giving daily writing prompts throughout the month of April.

I really don’t expect to write a poem a day for 30 days. If I manage one a week I’ll be happy.

Today’s prompt from Lagan Press is to write a poem to the character of death. For various reasons it sort of hit a nerve ….. which is always a good starting point 😉

A Poem to the Character of Death

I will not humanise you, impose a personality nor picture you as upright with your cloak and scythe

We make no such persona for birth, that other bookend of life so why should it be different for you?

Birth brings hope, an open road where anything could happen and a lifetime of living awaits

Death, well you are simply the point where we run out of road. Why do we flatter you so much?

©Siobhán McNamara

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Pilgrim – a 100 word story

Here is this week’s 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers. The photo prompt comes courtesy of Marie Gail Stratford.

To find out more about this group or to get involved, click here.

To read other contributions click on the blue Froggy



Photo courtesy of Marie Gail Stratford


Genre: Fiction



So this is why people say you should never go back.
How did the liberating anonymity of the city become this loud, crushing chaos?
No doubt it is I who changed since I was last here, not the city. So much for finding space to breathe.
Charles will be so smug, picturing his small-town wife too old and timid to survive the outside world. He will no doubt forgive my silliness.
No! I will not see myself as he does, nor will I ever again suffer his ‘forgiveness.’
The mountains of Peru come to mind and my heart grows wings.

©Siobhán McNamara

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Italian Adventure Part 1 – Pisa

IMG_0036I have just returned from Italy where my four daughters and I spent the last week taking in the sights of Pisa, Pompei and Rome.

Visiting Italy is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. It was great to finally get there and it certainly lived up to expectation.

Travelling from Ireland in March meant we were somewhat limited in our choice of flights and airports. After some consideration I decided to fly into Pisa and begin our adventure there.

I didn’t know much about Pisa before I went and would have joked about it being famous mainly for its wonky tower. However when I got there and visited the leaning tower I found it rather sad that the name of the original  architect was lost in the mists of history, presumably because the fabulous bell tower was considered a disaster from the start. If only that shamed architect could have known that almost 1,000 years later the tower would be among the most famous landmarks on the planet with tourists travelling from all around the world to visit it.

Regardless of the obvious architectural error, the tower is very beautiful with a lot of intricate decorative detail and stonework. I did intend to climb to the top but unfortunately claustrophobia (which I thought I had conquered) kicked in. I think it must have been the combination of a slight dizziness of climbing steps in a circular motion, the narrowness of the enclosed stairway and the number of other people there. I got almost half way up before being overcome by the need to get back into open space as quickly as possible. Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

IMG_0058There are a number of other monuments on the site. I didn’t think the kids would have been too impressed if I had decided to visit all of them so we limited our visit to the leaning tower and the cathedral. The cathedral is a stunning piece of architecture but also a gallery of incredible marble sculptures and paintings that are hundreds of years old but still full of life and colour and in immaculate condition. I don’t have enough knowledge of art history to be any more specific, all I can say is that it was all very, very impressive.

One of the highlights of the visit to Pisa was a tour in a horse and cart. The driver was a great tour guide with a decent level of English. What I really learned from that tour was just how old the buildings in the main part of the city were, and how many churches and other places of interest were nestled among the modern shops and restaurants. The various university faculties were also evident and there was a great sense of history behind each one, especially the link with Galileo and the faculty of mathematics.

After our horse and carriage tour we returned to one of the areas we had passed through, Piazza Dei Cavalieri (Knights’ Square). This part of Pisa is well worth visiIMG_0100ting and is a great place to relax and get the feel of the city away from the crowds at the tower. From its decorative clock tower to the Palace of the Elders, the Palace of the Archives and the church dedicated to the Knights of the Order of Stephen, this square is steeped in social and political history. Parts of the square are still used by the university today, most notably in the field of mathematics and scientific research.

Of course we also found time for shopping, picking up some great bargains in familiar high street stores which did not detract at all from the character of the historic streets.

The food too was great, from proper Italian stone-baked pizza to deliciously simple pasta dishes and wonderful ice-cream.

After two nights in Pisa it was time to move on, so after breakfast we said goodbye to our lovely hosts at the Hotel Moderno and took the first of three trains that would bring us to Pompei and the next leg of our Italian adventure.

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