The Year the World Stood Still

The end of 2019 was a busy time for Fermanagh Writers. We had been involved as writers and performers in two dramatic presentations directed by Paddy McEneany: our own The Ghost of Christy Past for the Fermanagh Live festival, and The Gods of Sound and Stone in the Strule Arts Centre, and we were looking forward to a new project Better Together in conjunction with Ballinamore Hens Shed. I had been in hospital with a clot on the lung, and we all needed a rest before the next issue of Corncrake. There would certainly be plenty to write about.

Then Covid arrived.

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Kathy May

These words were written just after our friend Katharine – Kathy May – died. I wrote them down without thinking of grammar or meter or sequence or refinement.

They are from my first thoughts as my wife Ann McNulty and I were, and still are, trying to come to terms with our grief at the tragedy of Kathy our lifetime friend being dead. Perhaps I thought they were going to be the kernel of a poem or a piece of dandified prose. Not yet, I am not ready to disturb them.

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Valuable, not Vulnerable

The shadow of Coronavirus has suffocated the world. But as a physically disabled woman, the world has opened up for me.

With a squeeze of a button I see National Theatre productions on YouTube. Daily I have rediscovered Melissa Etheridge rocking from home. Jason Byrne is sweating workouts through Instagram; I have dusted off my dumbbells and he is inspiring my exercise. I have collaborated with Gary Lightbody, beaming from his LA rental. I run a book club through Zoom; isn’t it interesting to see other people’s décor? Normally I cannot access their homes.

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