Shtop, this fella could fairly talk. We were doing a day’s work and you never know who you get caught with. Lucky bag style. And here he was into story number three now and I had lost track twenty minutes ago. As far as I could tell he had discovered U2 but hadn’t gotten the proper credit and was eager to let the world know. Bono was in a van one time, with two or three more, and they were starting out, and they needed a gig, and along comes himself and sets them up with a microphone and a few speakers. Some brown place in former Ireland, where they still had pound coins and everyone smoked like they’d die if they didn’t. He gave images of a carpeted pub, and small stools with thick legs and torn cushion tops and the stage lights were dirty and it was always raining through the draughty windows. The toilets smelled of cheap detergent blocks and piss and the Guinness was stale yellow in the hands of men with black fingernails and thick black jackets and wind torn island faces like the scars of Atlantic scorn. And the van was old, with doors you pull back, and amps, and denim jackets, and earrings and the Vietnam war wasn’t long over, and the IRA were patrolling the hills and the RUC were on the roads. I said I better to the jacks to get a break cos I thought my ears might start bleeding, but here he was coming with me, not missing a beat, and now it was a Play one time, and there was a big cast, and the money was good, and the audience were curious one night, full house, dead silence, because someone forgot a line, and nobody knew what to do, but he saved the day himself, with an impromptu blast of dialogue and everybody was relieved, and the show went on. And they thanked him for his inspiration, something funny, generic, country, a hint to the lead actor, a dialectic compass to tell him where to go next. And he got plenty of work after that, but then the money dried up, and he went driving a taxi, and he always arrived for a fare an hour early, in case he got a puncture, or the customer had an emergency, and they’d need extra time, and these customers had big money, BIG money now, not small stuff, no pennies, always fifties, which was BIG money back them times, and sure did I ever do extra work? There was a film before and they had to stand beside a famous fella, and not pull focus, and the director said they were the best extras he’d ever seen, but that comes with experience, and he can’t do it now because he has two bad knees, and will we go to the shop? They have nice sandwiches, and chips, but it depends on what you want, and isn’t it a lovely day, and that’s some sun, boy, see that place over there, used to be a cinema one time, and that place over there, the bands they used to have, and if we could get Bono down there, I’m telling ya, and do you know something about The Beatles? There was a fella one night, we were in Liverpool, he came up to me, and asked me could I give him a hand, and I thought he looked kind of familiar, and you’ll never guess who he was? And fuck me, if we didn’t have the best night of drinking, and I’d swear half the lyrics I hear sometimes comes from the stories from that session….Anyway, back to the Vietnam war, Nixon was after getting in and this was before Watergate, and that’s another story I’ll tell you about after this….
Casting for Theatre
Mick Donnellan’s New Novel now Available on Amazon.
You can now read…
Mick Donnellan’s new novel
Click here: Buy The Naked Flame Now.
You can now read The Naked Flame on KINDLE below:
About The Naked Flame:
Set in Athlone, the heart of the Irish midlands, The Naked Flame is a story of love, loss, betrayal, and passion. John joe is engaged but doesn’t want to get married. He’s not sure how to break this to Karen. Then it’s time for the stag party in Madrid. There he meets Marilyn. They spend the night together and everything changes. Now the wedding is cancelled, the police want to talk to him about a double murder and the phone is ringing with mysterious requests to come to London. John joe suddenly finds himself in a surreal world, full of unusual characters and extreme danger, with no obvious way out. Met with impossible choices he can only trust the alluring woman that offers all the answers – but at what cost?
Mick Donnellan’s fourth novel is rich in comedy, tragedy, hints of the absurd and undertones of a man in existential crisis. The story thunders along with unexpected twists and ominous turns that culminate in a devastating climax. A unique tale, it strikes an emotional note, and is guaranteed to supply an entertaining read.
About Mick Donnellan
Recent Awards/ projects:
Mick Donnellan is the author of three previous novels. El Niño (2012) Fisherman’s Blues (2014) and Mokusatsu (2019).
The Naked Flame was completed during a retreat at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in late 2021.
When not writing fiction he works as a successful Playwright and Screenwriter. Film credits include Tiger Raid (2016) adapted from Mick’s Play Radio Luxembourg. He has recently received the Agility Award through the Arts Council of Ireland and the Mayo Theatre Bursary through Mayo Arts Office.
His most recent Play Nally was supported by Westmeath Arts Office and aired in May 2021 as a Zoom/Youtube performance. It was attended by over two thousand viewers on the night and many more since.
You can watch Nally here: https://youtu.be/FiJYuaa5x2Q
In May 2020 Mick had a monologue (The Crucified Silence) chosen as part of the Scripts Ireland Play festival. After a week of intensive workshops with Playwright Eugene O’Brien, the monologue was directed by Jim Culleton (Fishamble) and performed by Aaron Monaghan.
Mick is currently part of the Galway Theatre Development Programme run by Andrew Flynn in conjunction with Galway’s Town Hall Theatre. He is also listed on the Irish theatre institute here: http://irishplayography.com/person.aspx?personid=47564
Notes on Rejection.
Rejection of your writing is the the best thing that can happen. It says you’re doing something correct. Something right. When people reject something they are afraid of it. They don’t know what it is, they don’t understand what it’s about, and they don’t have the courage to follow through and find out. The majority of publishers/agents want a sure thing. They want something perfect, relevant to the current market, something that will sell, has been unseen and has come from a compliant, malleable writer. They want to make money. They’d like to see your book stacked alongside thousands of bookshelves in bookshops all over the country – and know they are getting 40 percent of each copy sold. Sleeping well in their beds in the sure knowledge that they will never break new ground, never write an original line, never have a reader sit on the edge of their seat or be devastated with fictional heartbreak. They know, deep down, that they are not creative people but have something else – they have the audacity to exploit those that do create. Somewhere along the line it became acceptable for writers to be regarded as quirky, anti-profit, scatterbrained losers that are looking for somebody organised and trustworthy to come and do all the business for them. Writers then began to buy into this idea and became dependent on the publishing industry to dictate their success or lack of it. We now have a situation where the status quo of traditional publishers is to be a bouncer at the creative door where only the mundane is let in – because that’s what sells. We can’t have the pubic confused. We can’t have the public excited. We must tell them what they already know. Add credence to the reality that already exists. There is no room for new boundaries, to bend language or test genre. No, that doesn’t sell, they say. It won’t sell, they say. It’s not the business we’re in, they say. And you are rejected because you are different, and you have something to say, and somebody ought to be hearing it. But you think the only way forward is blocked and their opinion has shot your confidence down and now the world is an artistically poorer place. Because you were rejected. But what you don’t realise is that rejection is acceptance. You are pushing the boundaries and they don’t know what to do. How to respond. What to say. They can’t handle you and they’re worried about their forty percent. If it wasn’t books they’re selling it would be something else – cars, food, computers. Doesn’t matter because they don’t care. It’s all a sale to them. A profit and a loss. That’s why they are confounded now. You are an unknown quantity. What will the bookshops say? The reviewers? The printers? Oh no, no thanks. But you are not for sale. You are not malleable. And you don’t have a choice. You are a vessel to the truth the world needs to hear.