Monday, 2 March 2015


As Springs spreads across the land, offering a revitalising massage for our weather-beaten souls, the rebirth of natural life inspires us to think of beginnings.

I’m so lucky to love my work, and there’s little more exciting for any writer than starting a new book. I’ve just begun one with the working title of ‘Arrivals.’

For a couple of decades I moved around the globe, hitch-hiking well in excess of 100,000 miles, searching for something nebulous and elusive. As you’d expect, on the way I enjoyed a myriad of incredible adventures, and as the stories in my new book will attest, arrivals are often the most dramatic parts of a voyage.

Around midnight on November 22nd 1984, I walked off a bus at New York City’s Port Authority, pumping with adrenaline at the realisation that I was stepping onto a new continent for the first time.

My head was filled with romantic notions born out of Woody Guthrie’s masterpiece ‘Bound for Glory’, while my freshly-purchased Blue Bag was making its debut appearance on my shoulder, as overstuffed with unnecessary clobber as I was with excitement.

I didn’t care that I had nowhere to sleep. Having grown up in London, where the prostitutes of Soho shot coy glances from dusky shadows, I thought I was city smart, but Manhattan was a revelation.

As I wandered onto the street a tall woman walked straight over to me, her hand grasping and then slowly massaging my boy bits.

“Are you gay?” she asked.
“No, but I am broke!” I replied, striding away, humming that line from Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Homeward Bound’ about “... come-ons from the whores on 7th Avenue...” which I customised to say “...I did not take some comfort there...”

A few hours later I’d somehow managed to blag my way into a free night in a luxurious hotel suite just off Broadway. I bounced up and down on that plush bed, the thrill of victory pulsing through me on that first night of my first round-the-world trip.

Several months and two continents later I walked into a huge Holden car dealership on the outskirts of Melbourne, and asked for a job. The bossman asked if I was the usual Pommie bludger who'd sit around on my arse doing nothing all day. I replied that if I was the usual Pommie bludger I wouldn’t have walked into his garage asking for a job.

“You start Monday!” he replied, but I had to wait another two weeks until I really arrived, after I’d been challenged to a beer drinking competition by my workmates and left their local champion dribbling on the pub carpet.

One of my favourite arrivals was the moment I stepped into the Caribbean sea off the coast of the Bahamas, realising in a single second that I’d been lied to throughout my entire childhood. All that nonsense talk of how I’d “get used to it’’ as my body turned hypothermic blue off Brighton beach, yet here was sea water I could not feel against my skin. As I eased myself through that turquoise warm liquid I promised myself that I’d never again swim in cold water, and I haven’t.

There was my arrival in New Zealand, lost in my own madness and paranoia, and my arrival in Noumea where I was kept under house arrest as civil war tore apart the Pacific island. There was my arrival in Maryland where I lived with drug dealers and deer hunters, and my arrival in Cambridge, where I inveigled my way into the privileged lives of England’s rich and beautiful people, who lounged around indulging themselves in their world of glittering prizes.

My favourite arrival was my last one, when in the West of Ireland I finally found my home. Back in 1992 an Italian golfer stopped to pick up myself and Inne, hitching by the bridge in Oughterrard, and as Connemara unfolded before me for the first time my chin dropped, my heart melted and I knew my search was over.

I’m really looking forward to writing about these and several other tales of my arrivals and as always, incredibly grateful to live off my writing.

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a writer, or would simply like to have fun while improving your writing skills (look out - here comes the plug!) why not sign up for my Craft of Writing Course at the Galway Arts Centre?

My course has been enjoyed by everyone from fresh 20 year-olds to wise souls in their 80s, who have plenty of stories to tell; from complete novices to published novelists. Nobody can teach talent, but skills can be nurtured and imaginations stimulated. 

More importantly, while mystery and wonder certainly inhabit the process of writing creatively, everyone benefits from understanding the craft of writing. Anyone can master this craft. There is no mystery to it.

As well as learning how overcome fear and write a first draft, I’ll show you how to develop characters, structure, plot and voice. You’ll discover how to use shape, pace, tense and dialogue to enhance the power of your words.

I love teaching this course and my students seem to have a lot of fun doing it. More than anything, it really boosts my students’ confidence, as we all write together in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

I’ve published over a million words in Ireland and the UK, and had three plays performed (one of which won a prize), so I’ll also give advice about how to sell your writing.

To maximise the effect of the lessons I keep class sizes small, so there are only 10 places available on this course. To ensure your place is safe, book now by contacting the Galway Arts Centre:

Charlie Adley’s Craft of Writing Course
Thursdays, 7:30 - 9:00 pm, from March 26th for 8 weeks.
€110 /€100 concessions.
Galway Arts Centre - 091-565886
Facebook: Charlie Adley’s Craft of Writing Course :

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