‘Hail to the Chief’

Ever since I was a child I haven’t been able to help myself when it comes to sounding off.

The first such letter I wrote was to the RTÉ programme, Motley. It was a kids’  TV programme so I don’t know why they were discussing Finance Minister Charlie Haughey’s tax exemption scheme for writers and artists. Perhaps it was part of a news round up.  Anyhoo, they must have asked their junior viewers what they thought about it, because I seem to have expressed an opinion to whatever adult would listen to me.  I thought it was a great idea:  artists and writers should get tax breaks. Someone, probably my dad, said, Write and tell them. So I did. And they read my letter out on the television.

Reader, there was no stopping me after that.

Which leads me to texting radio shows. Sometimes, I shout at the radio and type out furious texts or social media posts. Then, I delete them – as there are times one shouldn’t become radio fodder. Or, I’ll engage and comment here and there. So, when someone asked was anyone watching the U.S. presidential debates, I offered up my ha’penny’s worth.

Which is how I ended up talking to Ryan Tubridy about the second debate and, in the process, extolling the virtue of the Tunnocks teacake.



They  asked me to chat about the third debate – but ran out of programme time. Then they rang the day before the election and asked if I’d be doing an all-nighter again. I sure was. And I’d be going for the Tunnocks teacakes again as treat of choice. Would I chat about it? I sure would:


Up at 1.30am again – Let the games begin! Poor CAT didn’t know whether she was coming or going. Over to her dish, and discovered it wasn’t breakfast time. To the front door, and discovered it was still the middle of the night.


In the end she stuck with me & CNN until dawn, by which time we all knew the outcome. He’d voted for himself, and made sure The Missus did too, by the looks of this:


Unfortunately, plenty more voted for him too. (Hillary won the popular vote, however!)

As a slightly older child, I wrote to President Childers’ widow when he died, and I received a lovely note from her. Imagine: being a kid and getting a black-edged envelope with the presidential crest on it.  As literary editor of the student newspaper in college, I wrote to our current President; requesting a poem for our Christmas issue. I had a lovely call from his personal assistant.

I’d write to the White House … but I’d end up with a permanent ‘Denied Entry’ stamp on my passport if I wrote what I really want to say. It would not “be a beautiful thing”. Bigly.

So, here’s this ha’penny’s worth: ‘Heil to the Chief’.

That’s SO not a typo.

We’ll leave it there.


Be.COMing a dot com

OOOOH! There’s posh!

I invested a few more euros that I don’t have, and had myself dot.commed.

My website is now karenjmcdonnell.com

Apart from that, the song remains the same – as Led Zeppelin might have said.  There’s a new post up today on my Writer’s Blog: the second one about writers’ retreats.

My writing continues apace. I’ve been re-drafting since the summer trips to Annaghmakerrig and the John Hewitt Intl. Summer School, and I’ve been submitting work. We will pass speedily over the competitions I’ve entered!

My little compadre keeps me company as I slave over a hot PC.

Bessa, aka CAT.
Bessa, aka CAT.

I think this year has been about development, and stepping up to the poetic block. And that’s no bad thing.

Keep on truckin’, bad hombres and nasty women!

I'm not sure about the copyright on this - I'd be glad to rectify that.
I’m not sure about the copyright on this – I’d be glad to rectify that.