I know about magic.
I know people and places that have it.
And it is rare.
You can feel it when when you arrive at Listowel Writers’ Week. A welcoming party of organisers set the tone giving a gentle invitation that says, “Come join us in our merry dance, be yourself, allow the music of this place to wash over you, let the world of words and stories enlighten and enrich.” It’s as gentle as that.
Ten years ago I discovered the magic of Listowel Writers’ Week. I went there by invitation to show my paintings and listen to some stories. When I arrived on a sunny bank holiday Thursday I realised my paintings were a ticket into a warm weekend of words from writers and strangers.
Words that turned into conversations and friendships. Some people I understood and some people I didn’t. There were big stars and little stars, lovely locals mingling in with weavers of the “word” from near and far.
The coffee shops, chippers and bars all had their exotics too. By night and day the place was a buzz. Unexpected encounters with scribblers and listeners, tellers and talkers, tourists and natives.
I met the world renowned, and the up and coming. They were all there. The witty woman writing comedy. The handsome actor strutting his stuff, the American writer on his way home, the nervous woman with tragic tales. The Mystic, the gambler, the emigrant ,the horse trainer and his son. The divorcee, the priest and the poet too.
I listened, I learned and I laughed a lot.
Listowel Writers’ Week is a leveller, it doesn’t buy into pomp and ceremony, it gets into the real and the true. Even the “who but me” types have to cop themselves on!
It’s a place to lose and find yourself. It’s a place to get happy and get lucky, to learn and to grow. It’s a magic place. Who or what makes it so? It is seen and unseen. It is something from above too perhaps, there are voices that can still be heard there even though they left a while ago, they have spread their love deep into the streets, their greatness passed onto the new blood.
If you are meant to be there you will be there, it’s so simple. Something will call you and say come join us in Listowel Writers’ Week. It might be a workshop with a writer you can learn from, or a desire to hear a story being retold live by its author, or you just might trust your instinct that says go and enjoy. Listen to that call carefully.
Go if you will, be open to the magic.
Deirdre Crowley is an artist from Bandon Co.Cork. She is a graduate of The National College of Art and Design. She paints emotions, using the sea and land for inspiration. She is currently working on a collection of short stories about past and present encounters of the real and magical kind. She likes singing in the car and swimming in the sea and recently has become obsessed with birds.