Labello Press looking for gutsy new work

Posted March 24th, 2014 by Deborah

Back soon to potholes, mermaids, slurry and the bizarre adventures of living rural, but in the meantime check this out:

Labello Press, an independent publisher with a personalised approach recently held the official launch of ‘So Long Polyester‘, a collection of short fiction by Deborah McMenamy.

The Press supports new and established writers through competitions and publishes the anthology  ‘Gem Street‘.

An exciting new competition, ‘Beyond the Axis,’ opens on 1st of April and they’re looking for gutsy, left-of-centre, new work from 500 – 3,000 words. You can visit for full details or if you would like to purchase on of their available titles.

The little Design Shop

Posted February 11th, 2014 by Deborah

Buttons float in a sea of resin. Delicate, richly-coloured flowers nestle within shadow-boxes of white and glass. Felt becomes a fusion of texture and hue.

Come inside

Come inside

Wearable art. Vessels of clay. Fragrant candles. Shining silver jewellery. All of these beautiful things and much more, gathered together in The little Design Shop, 114a The Quay in Waterford City, Ireland. Opened in April of 2013, this lovely craft gallery is jointly run by Ken Coleman of ‘Stradbally Jewellery’ and Anne McDonnell ‘Fine Art Printmaker’.

Be inspired

Be inspired

Light streams in through the large front window making the space warm and bright and here you will find the work of talented craftspeople from Waterford, as well as many other parts of Ireland. The atmosphere is cosy and inviting, a wonderful place to find special, out-of-the ordinary gifts. The mix of work is eclectic, completely handcrafted and carefully chosen to appeal to a wide range of tastes. A departure and an oasis in a world obsessed with mass production and off-the-shelf solutions, The little Design Shop is well worth a visit.

Felt scarf by Julie

Felt scarf by Julie

Julie Gill Frisby’s felt work speaks of her experience as a visual artist. Her berets, scarves and brooches are vibrantly coloured, painterly and superbly crafted. Julie creates these magnificent pieces of wearable art in her studio above the gallery and offers classes in the fascinating art of Felt-Making.

Beret and Brooch

Beret and Brooch

Pleasingly-shaped black and white vessels created by ceramicist Laura Mac Namara evoke a sense of history and archaeology. Pre-historic yet contemporary, earthy and comforting, to me Laura’s work is reminiscent of the stories told on the walls of Lascaux or the Chauvet Cave. Magical.

Laura's evocative work

Laura's evocative work

From Baby Powder to Banana Bread, Izzy Candles are a sensory delight. Gorgeous colours and scents that relax, motivate, and transform your environment. I have one in ‘Winter Garden’. Stimulating.



Anne McDonnell’s illustrative and intricately detailed prints captivate, each one a small gem. Besides these tiny treasures, Anne collaborates with silversmith Ken Coleman in Metal and Ink, a unique blend of printmaking and jewellery design.

Anne's fine art

Anne's fine art

A bit closer up

A bit closer up

Ken’s silver jewellery (featured in an upcoming post) evolved when his wife Claire, a Dental Technician who creates metal, porcelain and acrylic teeth, introduced him to silversmithing. A fascinating combination from what would appear to be different, but are apparently similar, disciplines. I was interested to learn that the two share many of the same tools and techniques. I wonder if that’s why I’ve always been curious about my surroundings each time I sit in the dentist’s chair.

After years away from my artistic roots, Ken and Anne have very kindly accepted some of my jewellery and cards as well.

My stuff

My stuff

In addition to these and the variety of other works in the gallery (which I’ll feature in the months to come), you will also find studio space to rent as well as inspiring classes to take such as, Beginners’ Silver Jewellery, Felt and Print-Making.

The Craft Movement is thankfully alive and growing in Waterford City. It’s a relief to see a small, independent gallery open its doors (as opposed to the same old ‘corporate craft’ shops that have been cornering the market for too long).

Now more than ever, it’s critical that we all support local craft workers and the shops and galleries that support them.

You can check out and like their facebook page, The little Design Shop, email them at or phone 086 8210434 for more information about classes and studio rental. And, next time you’re in Waterford or looking for something special, why not stop by and be inspired.

Not Another New Year’s Resolution….

Posted December 31st, 2013 by Deborah

DSCF7662Instead, a very random list of things I hope for in 2014:

That all labs conducting research experiments on animals lose every penny of their funding (pure fantasy, but still). That the scientists conducting the experiments are forced to take jobs cleaning toilets in a Diahorrea Research Facility.

That people with children (especially the pram-drivers) realise that there are other people on the planet, in the aisles of stores, walking the streets. Stop being so selfish. And remember, you are that child’s role-model.

That people say what they mean and mean what they say. Stop pissing around and talk straight.

That everyone remembers…when someone holds a door open for you or lets you get ahead of them in line, there are two very effective words you can use. They are ‘Thank’ and ‘You’.

That Twitter-users stop bombarding me about their books, their philosophies, their greatness. Just shut-up about yourself. Your egos are unattractive.

That the bankers who should have gotten an ass-kicking get their golf club subscriptions cancelled. Forever.

That people stop preying on those they see as weak or too open. Just because someone is nice doesn’t mean you get to take advantage.

That people stop gossiping, judging, and in general minding other people’s business. Stick your big nose in your own business.

That the good dads of this world get equal rights when it comes to their children in a divorce.

The average day consists of 1,440 minutes. It only takes a few of those to tell someone to have a nice day, to compliment or utter a kind word.

In general, my hope for 2014 is that it is a kinder, gentler, more conscious year and that I continue my quest to be a kinder, gentler, more conscious person.

Happy New Year

Let it snow (please)

Posted December 9th, 2013 by Deborah


An ensemble of not-very-famous at all and just plain flaky snow persons throughout history…….


Sid’s 5th cousin removed (with a shovel) Slid Slushes and his girlfriend Dee Icer.


Thomas Crapper’s great-great-great-great-great grandson Lloyd Yellowsnow hopes for a floater.


“Ooooh, I so wish that was my hat,” whined jealous super-model wannabe’s Skate Moss and Tyra Snowbanks.


Frozen Swan Lake performed by unknowns Black Ice and her Evil Twin.


Bob Sleigh and Sleeta Marley.


Not even closely related, Queen SnowFlake Antoinette says, “Let them eat cake”.

‘So Long Polyester’ – Recipe # 1,245

Posted December 4th, 2013 by Deborah

A page from Life’s Cookbook


  • One Short Story Competition
  • One re-location
  • One Anthology publication and launch
  • A smattering of family-style rubbish
  • A small heap of creeps
  • Another re-location
  • Several tons of work pressure
  • A squeeze of writing
  • Re-location No. 3
  • One health scare – human
  • The Final Re-Location
  • One health scare – feline
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Mix together briskly, place in a pressure-cooker for 17 months, then serve immediately with a side of courage.

Not the most optimal recipe for cooking a book but after feasting too long on life’s cruddy leftovers, I’m back with a vengeance and ‘So Long Polyester’, a short story collection that took me a stupidly long time to write. I put this down to a flaming dose of ‘mental malnutrition’, a little-known condition you can get from ingesting/taking on/putting up with too much crap.

But hey, what doesn’t kill you or drives you to kill makes you a tough bitch.

Fresh out of the oven, ‘So Long Polyester’ contains 11 appetising short stories. It’s about the usual stuff – loss, love, revenge, crazy ants – but it’s got a dash of quirky, a pinch of surprise and yes, even a story about cooking.

This is what it looks like. Nice.


You can get a Pre-Launch (there will be food) copy from for €11.95. That includes postage. Worldwide. I like a good bargain.

I like a good meal even more.

Bad Brain Day

Posted June 18th, 2013 by Deborah

I hadn’t had coffee in over a month and it’s not a good look for me. In its absence, I become listless and my brain is a snail on tranquilisers. Two Thursdays ago I decide, better call a halt to all this denial and suffering and have a cup.

I assemble my caffeine kit carefully, with the precision of a surgeon.

Hello Dr. Coffee

Hello Dr. Coffee

I boil the kettle, shovel in 2 and ½ scoops of strength five (the jitters will be worth it) plunge the cafetierre and pour. I begin to pour in the milk. It plops like cottage cheese into the cup. I feel sick.

Enter Mr. Husband.

“The milk has gone off.” I’m pretty sure I look as if I’m about to cry.

He takes the carton and sniffs.

“It smells fine. There’s nothing wrong with this milk.”

“It’s just fallen like rocks to the bottom of my cup,” I whine.

“Really? It looks fine.”

“Here,” I say and hold the cup out to him. “You can have it.”

So close and yet so far

So close and yet so far

I have a radio interview for the Short Story competition at 10am. I haven’t had time to prepare. I ask Mr. Husband if he can do it. He is a better public speaker than I am. His brain is a well-oiled machine. He says, “It’s your baby.”

My throat is a lily pad. I really needed that coffee. The Radio Guy calls and I phlegm into the phone. I drink water and it spills down the front of my t-shirt.

Radio Guy asks good questions but when he asks me about the stories in ‘Gem Street’ my brain decides it might be fun to tie my tongue into knots. I pronounce sooth-seer as soo-say. I forget how to say the word ‘delusional’. I believe I may have answered everything else he asked with, “Yes. We are looking for stories.”

The car has had an oil change. We pick it up and Mechanic Man says it needs a brake job. Now. Also the wishbones need to be replaced. In its present state of disrepair my brain wonders why there isn’t a tune-up service for ‘it’ and I remind ‘it’ that there is. It’s called coffee.

Need tune-up

Need tune-up

I have a dentist appointment. I don’t know until I get there but it’s not with my real dentist. The Not-My-Real-Dentist is behind schedule so I decide to walk to the post office. It’s obnoxiously hot outside. A woman pushing a pram cuts in front of me. I tell Pram Pusher that she and baby are rude. Then I tell baby that his mother needs driving lessons. Back outside women walk around in low-cut floral dresses. I think I will write a story called ‘I don’t want to see your cleavage’. One of them holds a take-away coffee cup. I may have to kill her.

Back in the dentist office, a young guy greets each person as they enter.

“Hi. Hey. How’s it going?”

His voice is blubbery.

“I’ve had a tooth extracted,” he says to the girl who has just come into the waiting room. She says she doesn’t like the dentist. They talk about someone who is pregnant. They talk about a cooking course she is on. She mentions cake which makes me think of coffee. I flip through a magazine. At this point, my brain is so demented that I can’t comprehend the swim-suit photos.

I get up and tell the dental assistant that I have to go. This day is crazy, I say.

“I’ll come back when my real dentist is working.”

Back in the parking lot it’s even hotter. Black heat rises from the tarmacadam. A friendly American guy asks for directions to the Castle. I can’t remember which way the Bloody Castle is.

I say, “I’ll ask my husband, he’s in the car but he may be on the phone.”

The guy looks at me as if I might be a serial-killer and asks someone else for directions.

I overhear more Americans trying to figure out where the Castle is. I suddenly remember where it is and feel it’s my duty to make sure they don’t get lost.

I take a deep breath and direct my brain to write in very big letters and to stay between the lines.

“Are you looking for the Castle?” I ask.

“Yes. We are,” says one of the women.

“O-K,” I say, slowly. “I can help you.”

“Are you from the States?” she asks with a perplexed look on her face.

“I am. But I’ve lived here for 18 years.” And my brain laughs and begins to write smaller and smaller until I hear myself babbling something about my accent and boy you’ll hear my Irish twang if I keep talking to you. Then I tell the other woman, “sure you can walk there in sandals”, and realise that when she gets to the big hill she’s going to want to kill me.

I hear myself trying to explain as my brain scribbles insulting remarks about my character all over the page in black crayon.

“Sorry. Really. It’s just that I’m having a bad brain day. I haven’t had any coffee.”

This is what your brain looks like deprived of caffeine

This is what your brain looks like deprived of caffeine

As they leave one of them hands me €2 and says, “Please. Go have one on me”.

Human Development: The Jelly Years

Posted June 3rd, 2013 by Deborah

Since the conclusion of her hit seminar series, “Humans Cannot Do What Humans Are Not Taught”, Professor S. Purrtree has been ruminating, postulating, theorising and all of those other things that great Professors do.

There has been tremendous pacing.

In her own words, “this has been a frustrating incubation period”.



She has asked, “how can I top the genius that was my last genius? How do I solve the unsolvable?” while staring holes into dust-motes, smelling shoes to distraction and frantically scratching her mathematical equations into the floorboards.

But, inspiration can strike when you least expect it.

The moment of great clarity

The moment of great clarity

After watching that classic Sci-Fi B-movie ‘The Blob’ she had another one of her “great moments of clarity” concluding that: humans are not unlike gelatinous creatures from Space. They will indiscriminately eat anything in their path and all they have to show for it is a trail of slime.

Yesterday afternoon in the kitchen she was fully convinced that: the human brain is not unlike a bowl of Jell-O. Wobbly and full of sugar with very little substance.

It must be jelly cuz jam don't shake like that

It must be jelly cuz jam don't shake like that

And this morning while chewing grass in the garden she was overjoyed to discover that she had digested the problem.

Feline friends. I have seen the future of human-kind and it is good (for us).

Feline friends. I have seen the future of human-kind and it is good (for us).

Coming Soon to The Boreen. “Human Development: The Jelly Years”, another exciting and innovative seminar series from Human Behaviour Expert and Scholar, Professor S. Purrtree.

From the desk of Purrtree’s P.A.

Would the ginger cat who attended LiveLab 2 on the second day of ‘HCDWHANT’ please stop by the venue and collect your Human. It’s still sitting in the nest it built and won’t let anyone close enough to change its diaper.

Would the Norwegian Forest Cat who stayed in room 12 please pick up your skis. You owe me €120 for damage done to the fake chair-lift and €60 for après-ski aperitifs.

Big Cow does Listowel

Posted May 27th, 2013 by Deborah

Big Cow takes the small stage in a tribute to Listowel Writers’ Week. Again.

An oldie but mouldy, scraped from the wall of the Big Cow Barn, just in time for Listowel Writers’ Week. It’s ‘The Field’ as you’ve never seen it before (and will never want to see again).

It’s bombastic! Fringe-tastic! It’s a B-movie in plastic.

Big Cow episodes are no budget/low budget, hand-crafted, stress-inducing and filmed on a cheap digital camera in one take. No editing, no fancy lighting, no jelly beans;  just two dedicated people who believe you sometimes have to get sweaty for your art.

If you are unfamiliar with Big Cow please visit our YouTube Channel, theboreenblog.

Rocky in the Stairwell

Posted May 19th, 2013 by Deborah

The women are wearing ladders on their feet. Stiff-legged, they limp out of church after a Confirmation. One clomps along lifting her feet high off the ground – must control the shoes before the shoes control me, while another moves as she would whisper, trying to keep her legs from realising what her feet are wearing.

Scary photo courtesy of

Scary photo courtesy of

Two women do the baby-step-shuffle down the street. At this rate, it will take them an hour to travel one-hundred yards. They giggle self-consciously and hold onto each other for stability. Good luck. If one of you goes over, the other one is going down too.

Fall-down-go-boom courtesy of

Fall-down-go-boom courtesy of

The parade hobbles past, a blur of satin dresses and feathery hats. I count twelve pairs of stilts. Three pairs of high-rise wedges. Six pairs of ‘not quite reasonable’ heels.

Agony of da-feet.

I imagine badly-scraped knees and hunched backs and lumpy knotted toes which gets me thinking about the early 1970’s.

I was a kid living on the ground floor of a tall apartment building. Rocky was a little older than me and lived on the fourth floor. We would arrange secret meetings in the stairwell, to draw. I drew monsters in dumb-looking shoes.

No idea why I called this the Plant Monster. Looks more like the robot from Lost in Space covered in fish scales. Go figure.

No idea why I called this the Plant Monster. Looks more like the robot from Lost in Space covered in fish scales. Go figure.

Rocky drew models wearing amazing high-heels.





It would start with us laying out our white sheets of paper and sharpening our pencils.

“Ten sheets for me and ten for you.”

Rocky drew as fast as he talked. I don’t remember what about but by the end his sheets were brimming with whacky shoe designs. Some were sharp and spiked, some massive and clunky, others high and spindly but all were shoes I had never seen before.

He was designing ways for women to murder their feet long before anyone else was. Rocky was a horror movie on legs. A podiatrist’s nightmare. A chiropractor’s dream.

Rocky’s shoe models always came to a bad end. There was always beauty followed by devastation. Severed legs and feet, bones protruding and in general heaps of gore but, the shoes were always perfect. Not one drop of blood, not one fleck of flesh.

My time with Rocky made an impact. High shoes frightened me. I tried to wear platforms but eventually ran back to the safety of sneakers. I have a few mottos in life. ‘No falling, no bloodshed’, is one of them.

Unfortunately, our mutual art career was short-lived. We were caught and I was told to stay away from the stairwell.

Now, as I marvel at the last of the stuttering feet I wonder what happened to ‘ole Rocky. Did he grow up to be a famous shoe designer? Is he Grand Poobah of the cult of Foot Masochism? Did he brainwash Daphne Guinness?

Is he directing scary high-heel movies?

Does he have a foot fetish?

Or was Rocky just a kid with a vivid imagination and a fast pencil who saw the future of footwear and took ‘what price beauty’ to its most excruciatingly beautiful end?

Ants-in-the-pants and Mr. Fun Fair

Posted May 12th, 2013 by Deborah

I’m in the car in a parking lot waiting for Mr Mc. It’s raining. Now it’s hailing. It’s sunny then raining again.

There is a tree, some bushes and a fence.

In the car next to me a woman is applying lipstick. A Fun Fair is in full swing somewhere nearby.

A man’s muffled voice booms across the parking lot -“Blah! Blah! Come on! Hey!” – before morphing into nightmare-ish clown music that ends with “Bwwwwoooooo-whooop.”

Never trust a clown

Never trust a clown

A blue car pulls in two cars down from ours and parks at the side of the fence.

Get that rust-bucket off the road

Get that rust-bucket off the road

The driver gets out. He walks from his car to another car and stands behind it. He stares. He paces. His feet are large.

"Got ants in my ants and I need to dance"

"Got ants in my ants and I need to dance"

He takes out a cigarette, lights it and paces. He puffs but the cigarette sticks to his lips when he pulls it away and his fingers slide to the lit end. He drops it to the ground and stomps it to death.

He shakes his hand violently and walks back to his car but doesn’t get in. ‘Ants-in-the-pants’ is what I’m thinking.

It’s raining again but he stands there jiggling around getting soaked.

In my notebook I write, “See if you can find that Saturday Night Live skit with the, “I have ants-in-my-pants and I need to dance”, song. Or maybe it was “party in my pants”.


I use peripheral vision to watch him because he won’t stop staring at me.

I lock the car doors.

He reaches inside his coat, pulls out a red envelope and scans the parking lot.

He’s a slippery character is what I’m thinking.

Cripes. Is he undoing his belt? He stops to pick his nose then clomps across the parking lot to another car. I put on my sunglasses and watch him in the side-view mirror. He leans into the open window to speak with whoever is inside. I’m pretty sure that we’re dealing with a ‘builder’s-butt’ situation here and am glad I’m not close enough to see it.

“What is he doing?” I ask myself. I don’t unlock the car. I sit and wait.

Mr. Fun Fair says, “Blaaaaaah. Hey. Hey. Blah-blah. Come on!”


Back at his car, ants-in-the-pants circles once. I see that he still has the envelope. I think, ‘it must have been the wrong whoever in that other car’.

He stares and paces. Smokes and stares. I’m feeling a teensy-weensy bit uncomfortable.

The Relic

The Relic

I pick up The Relic, phoney dial and start a conversation with Mr Mc who is not on the other end.

“Hello,” I say and pause to give Mr Mc time to say hello back.

“There’s a super-freak in the parking lot. He’s staring at me, jiggling around and in general, acting suspiciously”. Pause. Fake laugh. Nod.

I lower my voice because I feel stupid talking to no one.

“Anyway. He’s smiling now. There’s nobody here but me and he’s smiling in the other direction. I swear if he comes over here I’ll deck him.”

Ants-in-the-pants leans on the car next to his. He looks at the envelope before stuffing it back into his jacket. It’s raining again.

“So. Ya. Listen,” I say. “If you could tell her that when you get a chance. Ya. I know. I know, so that’s what you should do anyway. And then if you can do that it would be great.” I have no idea who I’m talking about.

Mr. Fun Fair says, “Blah, hey, blah, blah, come on, blah.”


I scope ants-in-the-pants in the rear-view mirror. With The Relic to my ear I shake my head, ruffle my hair and say, “he’s standing in back of another car and I can’t see his hands. I think he’s having a pee.”



I try ventriloquism.

“Weirdee-weird,” I say without moving my lips. Well, they move a little. “Are you coming back to the car anytime this century-I’m talking to you-I feel like Dee Wallace in Cujo. I can’t open the window and I’m suffocating in here.”

Minutes pass. Ants-in-the-pants is back near his car. He sits on the bonnet then slides off.  I’m so bored. I try speaking in tongues but all that comes out is gibberish.

“Chran chrink tu tu. Inkta oonktah. Maninta poojaloo. Valeena, goruna, gooktah.” I growl into the phone. Then, I make believe I’m raising my voice.

“Eeeeeneeee, eeeneee. Poopala smooner.”

For dramatic effect, I throw in a few angry gestures and then, revert back to English.

“What are we having for dinner anyway? I really don’t feel like cooking. I’m always cooking.”

I grimace into the mirror. ‘Ants-in-the-pants’ sees me doing this, gets into his car and drives away.


Two minutes later Mr Mc returns.

“Sorry that took so long. Wanna go check out the Fun Fair?” he asks.