Thursday 20 September 2018

Emma's joyful testament to a positive life

The inspirational Emma Hannigan died yesterday. Here, in tribute, we republish her in conversation with good friend Emily Hourican for the Waking Hours feature in LIFE magazine in 2015 - in which she summed up her outlook on life and the positivity that kept her going for so long

Emma Hannigan.
Emma Hannigan. "Life is fantastic. There's no point in fighting to be well, in fighting to live - and then being a miserable cow... Life is precious. Everybody has some adversity - but by God you've got to grab the good times..."

Emily Hourican

I'm up at 7am, usually. If the kids have school, I do all the usual morning stuff, like breakfast and chasing teenagers who don't want to get up. They refuse to eat cereal - they're very spoilt - so I make pancakes or French toast. I don't eat, as I drop them to school for about 8.05am, and then I go swimming. I do 20 lengths every day. I count them, because I hate exercise. I only do it so I can fit into my clothes. My husband is a triathlete - I guess opposites attract - and sometimes he says things like, "Maybe tomorrow you'll do 22 lengths," to which I say, "I won't. I'll do 20 and get out, and I deserve a medal for that".

After the swim, I go to my office - which is in Bray too, so it's all very convenient - and make porridge with fruit and seeds. I used to write at home, but it got messy. It was fine when the kids were smaller and we had an au pair, but they got older and I've got busier, and now it's easier to have a space that's totally for work.

After breakfast, I get straight down to writing. I try to edit after every couple of chapters, but if I'm having a real burst of inspiration, I'll just go with it. I don't have any formal training in writing, but it's a craft, something you learn as you go along - from your mistakes, same as with anything.

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