I got very excited this week at the thought of a competition I saw mentioned on Twitter. I had to use Facebook to enter (social media whizz, me). I was so caught up in the entering I missed some of the detail.
RTÉ Radio 1 were offering people a chance to attend the IMPAC awards. Oh! Me, at a prestigous literary event…I could use the new camera and author spot. Oooh. What do I have to do? A review of any of the shortlisted books- in 415 characters. I could do that.
Intrigued by the notion of a booky puzzle, I sharpened a pencil and found some squared paper. Happily, I’d read three of the finalists. Less happily, my memory was challenged and I didn’t have time to reread. I’d enjoyed The Laguna and Let the Great World Spin, but what was it they were about? My review needed more than ‘I remember liking this’. I chose Brooklyn, because we’d discussed it at the bookclub and the story was deceptively simple, therefore easily remembered.
415 characters- round about three tweets-is that as much as FB lets you put in an update? how many wee squares will that take up?- um, 415- well, where will that end on the page? Maybe I need to say more about beaches and less about nightclasses? Should I name names? Ok then, Rose, Tony, Jim. Ah now, this is fun. I’ll just post that now on the Facebook page for the world to see. I’m great. If I wasn’t trying to eat less I’d have some chocolate, but now I’ll just munch on an apple, smile smugly, and feel pretty darned good.
Then I noticed that sensible entrants had used some of the characters for spaces. You know, between words. To make the thing legible. I had produced what amounted to little more than a very, very, long word. (Would you like to guess how many characters?) Oddly, I didn’t win.
This was just as well. After I’d posted my losing entry I noticed that the awards are held next Wednesday, not on Friday. The same night as Girl1’s production of Oliver, that they’ve been rehearsing for months. Even if I’d got the day right, I had failed to notice it’s a formal black tie/ fancy frock do. I’d have been on the hunt for an outfit and a companion with an outfit. There’d have been travel arrangements and a hotel to book. Phew, not winning was nearly a relief. Nearly.
In other competition news, Girl1 and I trundled across town to the féis. A little recitation in Irish entitled Cnag ar an Doras. Despite Spurs Fan’s sometime difficulty with my accent/ way with words, I don’t speak Irish. I haven’t been at a féis for over 30 years. Much to my amazement, I sat up straight, glared at noisy people and clapped loudly for Girl1 and her wee mates. Ignoring my ignorance, I was convinced that her performance was at least as good as everyone else’s, but I was quietly confident on her behalf. I was proved wrong of course. How did that happen? I think I might have turned into a ‘Féis Mammy’. Eeek!