I have to share the happenings of last Saturday night (9th November)! I was at the Irish Tatler Women of the Year awards where I was nominated for the Arts and Literature prize. This is a very glam and exciting affair so I was thrilled to be asked. But I honestly didn't think for a second I might have won. I sat and listened to several other categories until mine came around.
Unlike other award ceremonies, Irish Tatler do the most classy and flawless thing... (If Carlsberg did awards ceremonies they'd be like this one.)They don't call out a pile of names and then announce one winner, leaving the non-winners feeling totally deflated yet forced to smile and look nonplussed. Instead they do a little video and blurb about the winner only. So there's no need to sit and smile and pretend you're not mortified you've lost. When my story began to unfolded on the screen I must've been like a rabbit in the headlights! I never win anything and couldn't believe I was actually about to be called onto the stage. Thank goodness I've spoken in public enough to be able to cope with making a speech. But I had nothing prepared. I assumed I was only there to smile and wave.
There's only one thing for it in a situation like that and it's to speak from the heart. I have no idea what I said! It's all a blur. The applause and sea of smiling faces are all I recall. I'll remember that feeling for the rest of my life.
As you all probably know by this point, I began writing by chance while I was sick all those years ago. But I have learned so much as time has elapsed. With each book I feel a little more confident in who I am as a writer. As time goes by I understand more about the craft that is involved with writing. My award on Saturday night meant so much because I knew I was being recognised as more than a cancer survivor, I was being recognised for my writing. That's humbling.
I got to meet all the other award winners too and it was quite simply awesome!
The style and glamour was out of this world. I'm a people watcher at the best of times, but as myself my hubby Cian and my agent Sheila Crowley stood and sipped chilled Champagne I swear my head nearly turned a full 360 degrees! There were lots of full length gowns in fabulous colours and a whole host of cocktail length ones. But I have to say hand on heart everyone looked stunning. The minimalist look is gone - hurray! There were feathers furs crystals and more bling than you could shake a stick at. There was even a Christmas tree in one corner. Does it get any better? I think not.
Because these awards are to recognise women who've done fantastic things in life the sense of camaraderie and good will was palpable. Nothing worse than being at a 'do' where you feel bad vibes. This was all smiles and hugs.
Half the awards were given out before dinner and the other half afterwards. It wasn't the usual situation where people are shifting in their chairs looking for the next opportunity to skip to the bar or find haven in the bathroom. Each and every woman who stood up silenced the room. I've never experience emotion like it. I'm totally blown away that I was part of it.
I've had a bit of a knock health wise. I'm afraid cancer has come knocking yet again. As my cousin Andrew said last week - you're just showing off now and you're trying to reach double figures with these diagnoses. He's probably right! It's in my neck and on the back of my head. Yet again it's doable. So there's no need for alarm. Nobody is allowed run about setting off fire extinguishers or yelling frantically - unless of course you'd particularly like to... I'm starting treatment on Wednesday. It's radiation again and I hope it'll zap all the cancer and put me back on track in time for Christmas. I had the awful job of telling family and friends again. That never gets easier. I hate that part the most. But all I can do is look forward and hope that I will be able to tell them that the cancer is gone again soon.
Meanwhile I'm planning on dancing my way through. I've signed up for 'Strictly Against Breast Cancer,' which will be held in Dublin's convention centre on December 7th. I think there'll be high lights on TV3 at some point. But I am doing the final dance from 'Dirty Dancing.' Yes - the one where he says 'Nobody leaves Baby in the corner...' My partner is the lovely Damian and we're both attempting to figure out how to do all the moves without falling over. We'll get there and I've no doubt we'll have a blast on the night! If you live near Dublin and would like to come along tickets are available from www.breastcancerireland.com
Also this Sunday I'm speaking at Dublin book festival along with Emily Hourican and Roisin Ingle at 12.00 o'clock at Smock Alley Theatre. Please drop by if you can. I'd love to see you.
Life is busy folks! The cancer is having another go. It can knock but it's not getting in! I'm sore at the moment as the nodes on the back of my head make it uncomfortable to lie down. But I know it'll improve. I'm hopeful my treatment works and that I'll be physically better soon. Meanwhile I am in a whirlwind of positivity. 'Driving Home for Christmas' is out in paperback and has already hit the Irish best seller list. Thank you to everyone who bought it. For those of you who haven't managed it yet - I reckon it's time you started your Christmas shopping! Halloween is over folks. Buy as many copies as you like! I'll let you all know how the dancing goes. But for now, I'm off to referee the homework. God, I hate homework. Especially when I can't understand half of it any more. You know you're old when you're children are taller than you and you can no longer work out their maths problems. Sigh.
Stay well and may the lights of Christmas begin to flicker on in your heads. The time for tinsel is so close I can almost see it!! Keep smiling and keep shining.
Love and light