Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Powers Stories

A call came out for short stories that included references to Power's Whiskey. The resultant book is now available. All proceeds are in aid of The Hospice Foundation so make sure you buy a copy.

Guest blog from Nollaig Rowan who's story is in the book.

Earlier this month I met Maeve Binchy, queen of storytelling, for the first time. But it was not the first time that her words have encouraged and inspired me to keep going at this thing we call “writing”. On a previous occasion, Maeve had written the foreword to an anthology which featured one of my stories. The foreword was as congratulatory as if we had all been included on the Booker longlist.
This time I met Maeve, along with thirty-nine other writers whose short stories were published in aid of The Hospice Foundation. The competition was a neat little idea run by Power’s Irish whiskey which required writers to tell a story about “what truly matters” while of course including the words Powers whiskey. The launch was in Dalkey, Maeve’s home village, in a pub and yes, you’ve guessed, there was plenty of whiskey. Maeve was regal in her demeanour and generous in her praise of our small efforts, calling us all “published writers” on the strength of our 500-word stories. She said
“Success is not like a cake; it doesn’t mean that if you have more success that there’s less left for me. We can all be successful.” 
Encouraging words from the grand dame herself.

Here is Nollaig's story.

                               THE  USUAL                    by  Nollaig Rowan                    
 I balanced a plastic bag of notes on the carrier while I unlocked my bike. Rain splashed on the back of my neck, trickling inside my cardigan. Torrential showers in May! All I wanted was to be home and warm and away from Trinity Library where I’d spent too many hours in the past four years. The wind whipped up and my bag tumbled, sheets scattering to the corners of Front Square. Disgruntled but sympathetic fellow students returned them to me and skulked away.
“Damn ... where’re the French notes?” I said to no one in particular.
“What’s that Niamh?” said a familiar voice. I looked up. He handed me a clutch of soggy pages.
I didn’t need this. Not now, not in the middle of my Finals. I hadn’t seen Shane since we split up, over a year ago, when he went to Berlin.
“You look frozen. Com’on and I’ll buy you ...” he said.
“No, I have to ...”
“Just one. In The Pav.”
“The usual” Shane said to the barman who knew us.
“Not for me... I have to study. Get me a water ... ” I said, testily, though Shane was always good at knowing what I really wanted. He placed two Powers in front of us and a sparkling water on the side.
“So?” he said relaxing. “Long time, eh?”
I didn’t want this conversation. I had moved on. He took a long slow sip of the whiskey and unwillingly I caught its warm aroma on his breath, despite the respectable distance between us.
“So?” he said again.
“So, you’re back” I said. “I’m at exams and ...” The word ‘exams’ always made me nervous. I picked up the whiskey and swirled it around in the glass before allowing the taste to explode in my mouth. I had felt nothing like this since ... well, since before Shane went away. He moved closer. We drank silently, reflectively.
“When’s your last exam?” he said.
“Tuesday.  Finishes at six.”
Unlocking my bike in Front Square on Tuesday evening, I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“How’d it go?” Shane said.
“Not too bad... Good, in fact! Yeah” I said, feeling light and frivolous. I expected him to suggest “the usual” in The Pav. Instead he leaned towards me, his light stubble brushing against my cheek and whispered “I want to give you a baby.”
I lurched away from him, dropping my bike on the cobblestones and tripping over my satchel. Passing students stared at me and frowned at him. He bent to help me.
“A Baby Powers,” he laughed taking two miniature bottles from his denim jacket. “Let’s sit on the grass. Isn’t it great you’re finished and have your exams behind you?”

From “Celebrating What Truly Matters” an anthology of short stories. Editied by Patsey Murphy, Irish Times. Published by Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard. 2011.  €9.99 in aid of The Irish Hospice Foundation. Available in Easons.

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