Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Crash and Burn

It was always going to happen, it was only a question of where and when. 'Epic fail, Mammy!' my daughter would tell me pityingly.

I had gone to hear Bernard MacLaverty read from his collection of short stories. He read two- one called 'A Pornographer woos' from 1977 the other called 'The Clinic', from 2012.

They were totally different in content but had the same wry wit and wonderful observational narrative. He had a lovely way with him on stage too- humble, funny and self deprecating, so of course I rushed to buy the book, nominally for my Dad but I'd have a sneaky read of it first obvs.

As I queued up with the others to get it signed, I composed in my head what he might inscribe on it, and pondered the casual compliment I might pay him. I'd deliver it lightly I thought, staying firmly on the right side of gushing, while also hinting at a tentative literary heart beating within.

Graciously, he wrote the inscription 'To Daddy, all my love, Emma' and as he handed it back I told him how much I'd enjoyed his reading. Thank you, he smiled broadly.

At that point, I should have exited stage left, but unfortunately, lost the run of myself and emboldened, informed him just how much I'd loved reading 'Call my Brother Back'  long ago when it was on our first year English syllabus in St Dominic's.

 The smile wavered but only for a moment. 'Ah, now no. That wasn't me actually.' He patted my hand. 'That was Michael MacLaverty.'  Who, as it turned out, died in 1992.
Close but no cigar. 'It's a great book though!' He assured me kindly.

My cheeks burned, I stammered my apologies but he waved them gallantly away. Scurrying, head down towards the loos, I  wrenched the single redeeming thought from the wreckage of my humiliation....there's a blog in that.


  1. Sorry can not stop giggling at that. But easy done

  2. oh sundered!! the first one lived in the same street as my granny lol lol

  3. Oh God, my toes were curling in embarrassment for you ... until I got to the last line and burst out laughing! That's more than a tentative literary heart I'd say :) Great post