Drogheda-born poet Ciaran Hodgers is a lesson in patience and perseverance, both of which have paid off with his inclusion in a new anthology.
Now based in Liverpool, the local scribe has just seen some of his work published in Escape Wheel, which is described as a' dynamic collection of contemporary poetry and short fiction from established and emerging writers across the United States and beyond'.
While the months of lockdown stifled many, for Ciaran it was a fertile bed for creativity, and he made the most of the time.
'It's been interesting talking to other writers throughout lockdown. People seem to lie somewhere on a spectrum of having what I've heard called Thriver's Guilt or total writer's block,' says Ciaran, who is originally from Mell, and his mum Edel and dad Gerry are well known in Drogheda, his father a popular musician.
'As our lives shrank to the confines of our homes with lockdown, it might be that because we're unable to live our lives in the relative normality we're familiar with, that our creativity has taken a back seat. More pressing matters arise such as securing our health, shelter, food, exercise and maintaining our mental health'.
While he says there is already a wave of 'COVID' pieces coming out into the world, novels dubbed 'timely', live-streamed theatre or films with the notable feature of having been "made in isolation" - with Escape Wheel, he feels this book is trying to offer some reprieve from the constant reflection on what's going on right now.
'The arts have a unique position of connecting us, entertaining us and moving us. It shows us the world so that we may celebrate it, understand it better or change it,' adds Ciaran, who returned to Drogheda last October to launch his debut collection 'Cosmocartography' in the Droichead Arts Centre.
'I can see it clearly in how nature writing seems to be finding new audiences as we rediscover the luxury of back gardens and local parks, and also in the Black Lives Matter movement, where we need to face the ugly truths of those facing the sharp end of our societal structures'.
One of his poems which emerged from this period of confinement it Cicatrix, and has made it into this anthology of work from writers across the globe.
'I hugely admire this work and am delighted to be involved with them. It also feels great to be doing a short reading alongside some of the other contributors, to connect (even if only digitally) with an audience again,' he says.
'I can't wait to get back home and see my family, and also begin to explore the natural spaces around the place I grew up and think about how they might've shaped me'.
Escape Wheel is published by New York's independent publisher 'great weather for media', they're hosting a reading of work included in the anthology with writers from across the world on Saturday 5th September at 9pm via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/great.weather.