Opening Muse

“Mary Murphy, we need a cover page for your web site. Give us a two-paragraph synopsis of your life. You know, a quick overview, in your own words of course. You’re Irish, you’re a writer, and you love telling stories. Just make it condensed will you?”

I gulped. “Mmmm…How about one paragraph consisting of 6000 words?”


“Sure,” I say in a jovial tone. “No problem. I’ll have it for you tomorrow.”

I hang up the phone in a panic.

Writing a quick overview is an almost impossible task to ask of prolifically verbose Irish people. For goodness sake, ‘Ulysses’ started off as a two-page essay.

“Can you believe it?” I ask aloud to the two dogs at my feet. They want the story of my life in 150 words!”

I begin.

Once upon a time a sixth child was born to a family in Wexford, Ireland. She was a happy person who was thrilled to have been born into a musical family. This family sang Irish songs, danced Irish dances, ate large quantities of roasted spuds and drank a lot of tea.

(The phone rings) It is ‘them’ again.

“Yes, Mary. I think you should mention in your paragraphs that you have lived in Ireland, Canada and the US. You know, to let people know that living in three countries has been a great boost in your ability to relate to large cross sections of people.”

“Yes yes, I will mention that.”

We hang up.

“Now where was I?” I say to my four fish. …tea…..I love traditional Irish, Scottish and World folk songs. I never tire of singing them and/or interpreting them to suit my own style. My personal modus operandi for writing suits the aforementioned genres to a T. (There is that tea again.)

The Irish language is extraordinarily beguiling to me. Singing certain songs in the Irish language not only fills my own soul, but also opens non-Irish audiences up to something atypical. Conversely, people with a Celtic background relate on an intrinsic level. So it is a win win for everyone!

As a matter of fact, should you like to dive into the beautiful language that is Irish, all you need do is to learn Irish on Bitesize Irish Gaelic.

(Phone is ringing again.)

“Mary, it’s me. I think you might want to mention that your novel, ‘The Emerald Diaries – Secrets of An Irish Clan’ was picked up by the very first publisher you submitted it to. Be sure to put an obvious link on the side bar so people can go read about it. Ha ha read about it? Get it? Good thing I’m so clever. Mary? Still there? Yes, well, I know you hate it, but I think you might want to drop some names, or perhaps add a review or two. Would you like to hear my favorites?”

“Do I have a choice?” says I, rolling my eyes up to the ceiling?

“Good. My personal favorite is the one from Performing Songwriter Magazine that says, “Blessed with a honeyed crystalline voice, Mary fuses traditional, contemporary and original to create an uplifting synthesis.”
You might prefer the stage introduction you got from Will Millar, of the Irish Rovers. Remember? He said, “When you sing, you are the personification and the heart and soul of Ireland.” Or that one from the House Of Stories in Wexford, Ireland. “Between that voice and that hair, Mary is the absolute Colleen!”

“I suppose so.” I say.

“Excellent. As far as book reviews, I love the one from The Potpourri Book Club. ‘…altogether engrossing. I was immediately transported to the crackling warmth of an Irish hearth fire and the to the timeless stories one always finds there.’

“Don’t forget to mention a few names you’ve shared the stage with while on tour, or have been influenced heavily by. Like The Chieftains, Mary Black, Dolores Keene and Leo Kottke. I know you have a lengthy list, but just add a few names.”

“okee dokee,” I say again.

“And mention that your most recent CD, ‘Three Hand Reel’ has characters that live in both the CD and your novel. That should arouse interest!”

“I will if you let me get on with it.,” I say as politely as I can.

“Sorry, sorry. You go to it. But Mary?”

“Yeesss?” I say.

“Just…if you could…”

“Yees?” I say again in a singsong voice.

“It might be fun to let your readers know that you have a large bobble head brown bear award on your window sill that you won from an audience consensus at an eastern Canadian Musical Festival last year for best band.”

“Anything else?” I ask.

“Well, now that you mention it. You could let them know that they can get loads and loads of information about you if they just click on the desired category on the menu list.

We hang up. Again.

Would you look at that? I wrote my synopsis in only 140 words!


Welcome. Come in, sit down, relax , read and listen. Failte. Tar Isteach, suigh sios, lig do scith, leigh agus bhi ag eisteacht.

Mary ( aka Maire )