Joe — sorry, Joseph — O’Connor was on the radio this morning talking about his new novel and his appointment as Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.
Joe — sorry, Joseph is a funny guy and a talented writer who’s kept us all chuckling over the years with his dry delivery on radio and his deadpan reporting of events like the 1990 World Cup. I laughed myself sick at his account of the fans’ Disney visit to the World’s Biggest Self-Supporting Mickey, but of course he wrote that when he was still Joe, or Grasshopper, as Vincent Browne called him.
Since he morphed or maybe reverted to Joseph, young Grasshopper has gone over to the Dark Side, or at least to the Grey Side with a slight hint of taupe, and fair play to him for that. After all, Joseph is not your average Joe and he knows it, having rolled out a series of fine novels. This boy is able to sit down and write, which is probably the hardest thing he’ll be trying to teach his students. Sit down! Write! Every day!
Here’s what the UL on-line prospectus says about the course:
This one-year programme enables students to develop their skills in creative writing through careful consideration of the work of established writers; through study of the elements and formal structures of a piece of creative writing; through assignments that enable students to employ and master strategies for revision and refinement of their work; and through an understanding of the requirements of the submission and publication process. Through coursework students will consider the role of plot, characterization, dialogue, and point-of- view in crafting compelling fiction and drama; they will consider how figurative language, syntax, rhythm and imagery contribute to a poem’s meaning; they will learn the different conventions associated with non-fictional forms.
Hmm, I said to myself. Maybe I should do this, but then I realised that they have certain basic entry requirements, none of which cover my diverse and intriguing history of carousing while pretending to study.
And then it dawned on me that this is a creative writing degree. They won’t care about the time I spent in jail for assassinating a minor central African leader when I was supposed to be doing final-year exams. My five-year flirtation with Latvian hookers and brown acid will wash off them like Fosters off a Drizabone.
All I need to do is write that letter to Joseph.
I examined the Mickey recently and it’s still supporting itself without much difficulty. How is Sinéad? Please tell her I also think John Waters is a tool.
If you could see your way to glossing over my abysmal academic record, I’d be very grateful. It was Elvis Costello’s fault.
I wasn’t a complete failure as a student, however. I laid the groundwork for the discovery of the Higgs Bison on the Great Plains, I won a Nobel Prize for Talking in a Garda Accent and I shot Liberty Valance.
I also climbed Everest with Tensing and I rode a tank, held a General’s rank when the Blitzkrieg raged.
Pleased to meet you,
What do you think? That ought to swing it for me.
No. Me neither.
Your application was before me. It is now behind me.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.