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Friday, 25 August 2017

Valerie you may be a little crazy...😊

Well now that heading does more than sum me up. I've always loved that I don't just think outside the box I tend to write on the box and draw windows and a door on it.... sometimes I even stretch to a little path and an iron gate. The gate of course is to keep the bad guys out and they stay out coz I tend to draw badly so my gate looks like the teeth of an octopus. Hey they've lots of legs so I'm assuming they've lots of teeth......
But truth be told most of us think outside the box, we just don't tend to draw attention to it. Easier that way I reckon, we can move through life quietly and no-one notices when we react to life in a different way.
I've gotten a serious reaction to my #lovelongford posts.... like serious amazing reaction and I'm blown away by it. I l started the #lovelongford posts with a rant about people hating on Longford and it's grown legs. To be honest it really started from a conversation with my kids. They're both abroad and every now and again they tell me that they're lonely for home. It aches to hear because I'm lonely for them but I also love hearing it because I'm so proud of them flying on wings we gave them.
They miss home and I miss them and sometimes I feel like I'm the one that's away coz missing them leaves me drowning in a strange place and you tend to grasp at anything that can rescue you.
So I grasped at the one thing I know... home.
I'm visiting Longford like it's my first time there and for some of the places I'm visiting it is my first time there in years. And I can hear the future.. and the present and most of the time I can hear my past.....
I hear my father shushing us because there's eight of us and he can't hear himself think while he drives and I hear my mother sighing because there's eight of us and she has long since forgotten how to think at all with the racket we make.
But they took us places and spread out old shabby blankets and soggy sandwiches for the picnics they had packed and told us that we were having the best day but we were all too busy fighting amongst ourselves to understand that... too busy shouting over each other to see the look that fell between them when they locked eyes and ceased to hear their lunatic children not appreciate what we were too young to appreciate.
So I've decided to appreciate the place they raised us... the place they sleep in. I've decided to drive the roads Daddy drove down at five mile an hour...(everyone remembers Christy at five miles an hour stopping for everyone he could fit into the car)
I've decided to walk the paths they lead us down and I've decided that I'll pay tribute to every church in the county and every religion those churches represent because our past sleeps there... our souls rest there waiting for us to remember what they lived for and fought for and when my two wandering children return I will shush them as I drive them to the places I'm visiting and I won't be able to think straight with their chatter but I'll remember to tell them that they're home....
I'll always remember to tell them that they're home

They come from Longford.....

Valerie Masters

Sunday, 20 August 2017

FAQ....Why do I love Longford #lovelongford

Why does anyone do what they do.....
Why? is my most frequently asked question....

I've been through many emotions as a writer...
I found the pen when I was six and my father whisht me while listening to John B Keane. He "Whisht"me.....
I wasn't having that so after discovering who John B Keane was I decided I'd be a writer and playwright (if I ever learn to play right believe me I'll brag about it)
Then I wrote down everything and I mean everything. I was the most annoying child ever... my poor sisters and brothers. To this day I have flashbacks about how absolutely irritating I must have been to them.
Imagine been a teenager and this skinny wannabe child was outside the door writing down everything that was ever said in private and then reading it out in front of people (parents)
Imagine that and then picture me. Yep I own that but I've never felt the need to apologise for it. Never because I'm the youngest of the best family ever. As much as they wanted to kill me for haunting them they also wanted to protect me from the world and I love them for that.
Which makes me want to stop ranting and get to the point  (I can do that... I think)
I've been a writer for so long I don't think about being a writer... I'm a poet (yes I said it). But more importantly I write my mood and my surroundings and my latest post has been written from my soul.
Longford is my home. I was raised there. I spent my childhood in Toome Ballymahon..... Carrickedmond parish. I lived there....Cried there.....lost my Willie there....never found it again. (I was six) begged my sisters to show me theirs...(they refused after they stopped laughing)
Sat at a statue of our Lady believing she was my mother... she wasn't (I was seven and thought I was adpoted) ....
Longford to me is all of the above but it's so much more. It knows me when I want to cry.. knows me when I hate that my kids are too far away to inhale... the scent of my children is the hardest point of missing them for me.
Longford....my parents sleep in you...... My sister in law sleeps in you..... I visit the ground they sleep beneath. The clay that blankets them.
Home.... that's where my heart is. That's where my family have been raised and that's the place I'll defend.
And even though death has stolen some of them I can stand on the soil that protects them and I stand there knowing they sleep in the home they lived in because Longford is home. .... A beautiful county.
We aren't living in slums.... We aren't living under the tyranny of a crazy leader....
We're Irish and Co Longford is beautifully Irish
So love it or leave it alone...
I am County Longford ❤

Friday, 11 August 2017

Love Longford.... or leave it alone

I've spent the last few days out and about exploring and I'm never disappointed by the beauty of our countryside. .... the buildings and landmarks that hold the hearts of people, shelter them, keep them safe and warm and ask for nothing in return..... the simple floating leaf and the worn knotted trees that forever watch us coming and going. The soul within these places and plants that inhale our moods and attempt to calm us with their presence. Soul that's been there for hundreds of years and sometimes only many moments.
I live in County Longford and it's a beautiful stunning wise incredible place to live but If there's one thing that gets on my nerves it's the constant "polls" being shared online about Longford. Who are the people asking these stupid questions and who are the people answering them. Such negatively really disappoints me and I can't help wondering if they are actually true "Polls" or just crap made up by someone who probably doesn't even live in County Longford. I've lived here all my life and I've never been approached and asked what I think of Longford so whoever does these "Polls" should feel free to contact me and ask me. Or do one better and pop down to Ballymahon and I'll give you a tour of our beautiful county length and breath. I'll show you a side to County Longford that will take your breath away.
I'll introduce you to people that will touch your heart and give you memories of County Longford that will stay with you forever
OK we don't have beaches lining the edge of our county and there are areas that need a facelift and yes we have homelessness and poverty and crime and shut up businesses but doesn't every county in Ireland. Doesn't the world face the same problems that Longford face yet these so called "Polls" constantly belittle our home and our people and I'm sick of it.
I'm proud to come from County Longford. Proud to have raised my kids here... educated them here... watched them fall and get up again here so take your "Polls" and toss them into your nearest bin and go for a long walk in County Longford. Speak to the people.. hear their stories... their tragedies... their achievements. Pay attention to what they're telling you.. stories that make Longford people who they are. Strong proud people who have everyday struggles and hopes and dreams and sure as hell don't need your negative reviews of a county that has achieved so much over the years.
The beauty of this County is forgotten... ignored and trampled on. The amazing hearts and kindness of people is rarely spoken of in these so called "Polls". The families who get up everyday and make our County a better place don't have a voice and we're expected to shut up and not fight back when some random stranger decides to desecrate our home and our land.
Well I don't feel like shutting up so go away and leave our home alone. I'm tired of it being attacked by faceless people and stupid questions
Now go put that in your next "Poll".....

Valerie Masters

Friday, 7 July 2017

Why does life hurt?

When does it all begin to make sense? Should you even have a right to know. Death is such a heartless fucker.... everywhere around us there is hurt that's deliberate... hurt that's meant to cause the most pain to someone and yet it's the kind and wonderful that gets sick and spent time fighting for their health. It's the kind and wonderful that die and those left behind are bewildered and left crying to understand.
Today 3 deaths struck me hard.
The loveliest, smallest, cutest, strongest little boy lost his battle with Cancer. A little boy with cancer.. what the actual fuck is wrong with a world that witnesses a beautiful child teach us about strength. Bradley Lowery left this world today with a strength not given to most of us... with a wisdom we could learn from and his family are left to mourn his beauty while we shake our heads because he shouldn't have been sick. An innocent child carrying the weight of such illness that most of us would fall apart carrying to bear.
In another country a mother slipped her hand into her sons without even realising she was doing it. She's clearly broken. I was broken just watching her. Her husband was 2 foot away from her in a coffin... her husband... his father. Two weeks ago exactly after they had sat in the same church on the same seat with another son 2 foot away from them in a coffin....
Two weeks ago that mother sat with one hand in her sons and the other in her husbands mourning a son who died too young... two weeks later she's there again because his fathers heart has broken so deeply it couldn't continue. So it stops...... cruelly it stops without warning and today he sleeps eternally with the son he buried two weeks ago.
I'll be honest it fucked with me. I wanted to visit Mam and tell her about it and tell Dad hold tighter to her but I couldn't do it alone so I waited until Matt was home and brought him with me. I wanted to text everyone I knew and just check in with them and tell them randomly "Hi" for no reason other than I'm still alive to do it. I guess we need anothers strength sometimes...

Why? Why are we here.. are we meant to love so deep or do we do it because we need to be loved? Are we meant to feel this level of pain when another hurts? Are we supposed to understand how bastards can abuse and maim and kill while the beautiful and kind suffer and die.
Where is God when we need answers to the fucked up world we've had to adjust to...?
Where is tomorrow for the people who died today?

#rip Bradley Lowery
Andrew Duggan
Tommy Duggan
And all those who have passed away from us 💔

Valerie Masters

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

How's your mental health...?

"Hi how's you? How you doing? Great weather, How's your day going?"
Ordinary greetings on an ordinary day when ordinary people pass each other. Whether standing at a check out with another customer, meeting on the street or being served by someone in a shop or bar these are the kind of things we greet each other with, and most answers are simple, easy. Even meeting friends for a drink we answer vaguely.
We hug and laugh and clink glasses and take pictures which we post online with hashtags like #friendsareforever #lovinglife #happy
We rolls answers that start with "I'm fine" and may fall into a quick conversation about the weather being miserable and the kitchen sink blocking and fuck those politicians, sure they're destroying the country. We might even stretch as far as mentioning kids and grandkids and isn't this weather just enough to get on our nerves and did you see your one walking down the street yesterday half naked. .. sure wouldn't ya fucking die if you were her....
But what if you were asked how you were and how your day is going and you answered with "It's a shit day, I didn't want to get up today, I wanted to fuck the world off and then tell them that today I might die. I want to die but I'm looking for strength and an easy way out and I don't want to wait until tomorrow because tomorrow will hurt more than today did and today was painful because it reminded me than I'm more worthless than I was yesterday....
What if you had to face this warzone every single day?
You go to bed every night and sleep hoping you don't wake. Sleeping is easy, it doesn't hurt there. Nobody hurts there and if you don't wake up then you don't have to get up and brush your teeth and boil a kettle and get dressed. Getting dressed hurts a lot because it means you might have to leave the house and that means meeting people. Meeting people hurts like fuck because you don't know what to say and you have to say something stupid like "I'm fine"....
On the other side someone lies awake all night watching you sleep hoping that dawn will arrive and you'll stretch and smile and whisper "put the kettle on" and you'll laugh and run downstairs because after you bring them tea they'll get up and brush their teeth and get dressed and today they won't want to die....
And you'll smile because they want to live, because today is not the day they listen to depression screaming at them, because today you don't have to arrange a funeral and pick songs that once you both danced to, songs that once made you fall into the arms of someone who never imagined death separating you from each other...
Depression has two sides. ... two weary painful ugly sides and neither of them will win. Neither of them will get up tomorrow and smile because dawn has arrived. .. neither of them want night to fall for very different reasons.
One of those sides will sleep and hope never to wake and one of those sides won't sleep in case you sleep forever.....
Who will win....?
We will never know until the day comes that we can answer "How are you?" with
"I'm not fine. I need someone to help me....."

Until the day mental health is as easy to talk about as a broken arm that has a cast you can sign..... You can't sign your name on painful thoughts because there is no cast for a broken mind.....

Valerie Masters

Friday, 16 June 2017

The country shop..... Change is not always good....

Today was a funny day... funny how a day can turn on you and all you can do is call it funny. It's an Irish thing I guess, you feel an emotion, it could be the hardest day of your life but you'll shrug and say "wasn't today a funny day"
But today was that kinda funny day....
I only went down for a pound of sugar coz tea isn't nice without sugar and it's only €1 in the country shop so you kinda grab at a bargain and while I was there I picked up gravy and medium curry packs coz maybe I don't have them.. I'm not sure when I get there but they're handy to have.... and then the "funny" happened.
I began to feel a difference there. The music I danced to wasn't playing and suddenly I melted into talking to Marian about times past and "Country Shop" memories and it became painful to know that this amazing shop is changing.  Changing in the "fuck I wish it wouldn't kind of way"
My 'today' memories of the Country Shop are easy... every member of staff ask me about my day, about my kids, about my latest book, about my life. It's comfortable and it's home....
But my memories of the Country Shop go way back to when I was a child. I went there with a familiarity I didn't understand at the time. I went there and got recognised and got sent to the kitchen quietly for tea and white soda bread which I got with red jam and I fell into heaven... Maureen Bennett.. Babs Conlon..... Phil Farrell.... Margaret Hoey....I was a child amongst amazing women and I didn't even realise it
Amazing strong incredible women who had amazing men by their side. ....
And now it's changing... now the Country shop I've known and loved and been raised with is leaving my life. And our town has seen the best of shops leave....
I'm lost wondering where I'll go for those little things... who I'll run to when I need to grab gravy while I'm praying the dinner won't burn.... who'll I'll run to for two cooked sausages while I wait for the toast to pop and I'm too lazy to cook sausages... who will I turn to on Christmas morning when I need something I should have remembered to buy the day before
Michael Conlon... thank you for being you... thank you for making me laugh... for dancing and singing randomly at 9am while I'm still half asleep and just wanting one stupid item... thank you for supporting my books... for wanting them to do well.... for selling them with pride.... for coming to the launch of them both... for always striving to be there for everyone else...
Thank you for having a soul that sings louder than most souls... for letting me be a part of a tradition that will never die because we won't let it die
The Country Shop is my shop and a shop that sold more than money can buy....
Thank you for the memories ❤

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Private messages from people who haven't the balls to go public

I get a lot of messages... I post poems and thoughts and truths and random stuff so I expect messages. And they come... sometimes in droves, depending what I post (droves of good and evil)... sometimes I'll get a single message that kinda explodes all others. I got that message today.
That message accused me of not living in the real world. How dare I speak to a stranger who straps himself in explosives and takes the life of others... how dare I question why he would do that to innocent people... to innocent children.
That message was hard to get my head around. It basically accused me of daring to live in wealth and serenity while writing about people who are struggling.
How dare I assume to be the voice of pain, hurt and desperation while living in total denial about the real world.
I'm not even tempted to educate them about the truth... not even a little bit tempted
What would I know about pain and loss and suicide and depression... what would I know about death and burying people that I wasn't ready to lose.....
What would I know about family and in-laws and friends and neighbours I can turn to if things get too hard to handle. What would I know about watching life fade from a loved one....
I'm happy to report that I'll fuck with the one who watches life fade deliberately.... I'll fuck with them even while they believe I'm happy in my big rich castle as though I never felt real pain... or hurt.....
I'll happily continue to write my take on truth while eating a chinese takeout in my beautiful council house as my husband passes the phone back to me to hear our kids rely their day to us from thousands of miles away........

Yep stranger from behind a screen....
You're right.....
I do live in wealth and serenity....

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Dear Fucked Up Terrorist

You don't know me....
I'll make sure you never get to know me but allow me to swear I'll never let you forget me.
I am an Irish mother who proudly wears the badge of motherhood because I am blessed with two amazing children. I love to talk about them because they overwhelm my heart every single day. I've watched them learn to crawl.... learn to walk and learn to fly. They did all that because they were loved and in return they learned to love life. I never had much money to give them when they were growing up and I never could dress them in designer gear but I know they never went without love.
I'm guessing you did though, because you've decided you're going to be the reason I cry more than I have done lately. You've decided that I get to sleep less at night than I did when they first left home and began to explore the world. I lie under the same moon as my children but that moon covers the world and for me it covers 3 different countries and can't always watch at the same time. But that moon carries my love to them... keeps my tears secret from them and swears to watch over them for me because they're far away from my arms.
But you..... you fucked up, sadistic, evil fucking excuse for a human being, you have decided that you are going to make mothers all over the world cry, make fathers all over the world fall apart while trying to be strong, and make children die because you've decided you can kill them in the name of a god.
No god asked that of you... No god stands by your side as you maim and destroy and kill...
There is no god if you believe you have a god to applaud your actions.
You won't win this war you've declared.... and you sure as fuck won't beat down an Irish mother.
For I have something you'll never have.....
I have love for the most amazing kids in this world and they have me to come home to when they've finished exploring a world you won't destroy...

Sincerely
A proud mother

Valerie Masters