Friday, 23 August 2013

Message in a Bottle

























I got an exciting package in the post again yesterday. That never normally happens but has now happened twice in less than two weeks! Again like the last time I had no idea what it was. But when I saw the cylindrical package something clicked and I remembered: about a month ago the wonderful Apples and Snakes recommended me - as a poet - to the Tullamore D.E.W Irish Whiskey Company.

Opening up the package I found several large scrolls of paper inside. There was nothing else inside. Just the paper. But instructions soon turned up in a second box about 30 minutes after the first, along with a bottle of Whiskey, an exclusive batch of charcoal pencils and a memory stick loaded with a video of photo-realistic artist Barry Jazz Finnegan (check him out he's amazing) using the first piece of charcoal from the 'Furnace of Resurrection'.

In return for the free whiskey - and a small fee - I will be creating a poem inspired by 'Death to Dishonesty', which I will have to handwrite (do I know anyone with nice handwriting? Mine is terrible) onto the parchment with the charcoals created - by ceremonially burning Tullamore's Facebook fan's suggestions about everything that is fake in society - in the 'Furnace of Resurrection'. 

The poem needs to express what Irish True means to me (a Welsh boy who has never been to Ireland). They want to know what "epitomises realness to (me)? Is it beauty? Or courage? Or humour? Or defiance? Or emotion?". At the moment I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure I won't be writing about beauty. Maybe emotion? Possibly defiance? (who knows) And understandably they would prefer that I avoid "twee Irish or irresponsibly drunken stereotypes".

I'm really excited about this opportunity because - although there isn't much in way of payment - my poem will be framed and displayed "at a number of locations across the UK, on Tullamore D.E.W digital and social media pages, and in PR activities to demonstrate the meaning of Irish True." I also got a tad excited - even thought they don't know me from Adam - when reading "we want to work with the best emerging talents from around the UK - and you are one of them" which although slightly misplaced is a massive ego boost (sorry I know by quoting the letter in that way it sounds like I'm showing off and maybe I am a bit but I just wanted to share it because it was a pretty cool thing to read - ok I'm just showing off haha). Although to be brutally honest (which I almost always am) to still be described as "emerging" at the age of 29 is more than a little disheartening.

Stereotype alert: Disheartened by said comment I reach for the beautiful wooden box - I'm keen to keep and make use of in someway - that contains the free bottle of Tullamore D.E.W triple distilled Irish Whiskey. I love Whiskey! But there is one small rather large problem. I no longer drink! I haven't for the past 3 and a half months - during which time I have been on two stag dos,  to two weddings, on nights outs, to birthday parties and even to a festival without drinking and so I've known temptation - and I have no intention of ever going back to drinking alcohol again. The official explanation is that "I'm in training". The real reason is more personal and so I'll have to leave you intrigued for now. Until some point in the future when I'm maybe feeling more up to sharing my reasons with the whole blogging hemisphere (if we're good friends in the real world you'll probably already know and if not, feel free to ask). 

& me dad certainly doesn't see my not drinking as a problem. A positive in fact as he's already made it pretty clear that he has his eye on the whiskey and is more than happy to help me empty the bottle. I think my mum had a better idea though. A raffle! I haven't thought about the ins and outs of it just yet but maybe I can raffle it off and put any money raised towards my big swim. (I somehow managed to make the post slightly relevant haha).

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