Well lads I'm delighted to be returning to Listowel Writers Week this year, to give three songwriting workshops from 9am to 12.30 each day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of June. It's been 10 years since I've been there and I have brilliant memories of the workshops there and the sessions in the pubs and the performances by great world class international poets, playwrights and novelists.
Even though I say so myself, I give a very good songwriting workshop like. Rather than talking about songwriting, we write songs, on the spot. If you feel stuck in your songwriting journey I can certainly help with freeing up the blockages, and getting you going. Songwriting, like everything else, is an activity that you get better at the more you do it, and my approach is to take off the gloves and get down and dirty, and write, write, write.
There is a salt of the earth atmosphere about Listowel that cuts through much of the snobbery and bullshit that can surround poetry and literature. I love that town, the most literary town in Europe, where John B. Keane, Seán McCarthy and Bryan MacMahon are all buried in the same churchyard.
Last time I was there I was sitting beside Frank McCourt in the Listowel Arms Hotel and I was telling him how I thought that one of his lines from Angela's Ashes would make a great song. "Go for it, John" he told me, may God rest his soul. The line was something he had heard at school long 'go in Limerick, from an inspiring teacher; " Murphy, you may not have a shoe to your hoof, but always remember that your mind is a palace!" I suppose now that I am returning to Listowel I will have to go and write that song now at last, in memory of Frank, a great writer and a lovely man.
See you all at Listowel Writers Week this June lads, and by the way, always remember, YOUR MIND IS A PALACE!
Thanks very much, John Spillane, Passage West, County Cork, March 2017.
Published on 2nd April 2017