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everyday stories can heal a few of our growing pains

Adrian Millar (inset) is a published author and former columnist with The Irish Examiner. He's a stay-at- home dad - and proud of it: "People thought I was crazy - a man with two PhDs giving up a career to change nappies and wash dishes. I thought I was crazy too. But it was worth it. Soon, two more babies followed. In my idle moments, which were few, I began to write."

He's recently edited a lovely volume in aid of Teen-Line Ireland called The Beauty of Everyday Life. The result is thirty five wonderful stories from the likes of Frances Black, Joe Duffy, Bressie, Sinead Moriarty, Luka Bloom and Colm O'Regan.

It's a terrific read, and one that you'd be just as happy to give a teen as you would an adult. This is down the fact that Millar's own teen daughters had in hand in some of the decisions taken, and also in the essence of the brief given to each writer.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE CHARITY?

Teen-Line Ireland is a registered charity which provides a free-phone helpline for teenagers who may be feeling alone, worried or distressed. As of December, it also provides a free text service. It was founded by Maureen Bolger who lost her teenage son to suicide, and who writes a magnificent foreword to the book. It receives no government funding and depends on voluntary fundraising.

WHERE DID THE CONCEPT COME FROM?

One day, a friend said to me that he felt that "the beauty of everyday life" was my thing. By then I had started writing a weekly column in The Irish Examiner about my life as a stay-at-home dad, and he had loved it. So, I decided to get a website together - www.thebeautyofeverydaylife.com - and to invite people to write stories for it. Best-selling authors Martina Reilly, Roisin Meaney and Caroline Finnerty were among the first who kindly sent me their stories.

HOW DID THE PROJECT KICK OFF?

My three daughters drew up a fantasy list of everyone from Liam Neeson to Siva Kaneswaran and I began to contact people on Twitter asking them to write stories on the beauty of everyday life - the everyday stuff: a conversation with a friend, a moment with our children, an encounter with a stranger - little incidents, love, relationships, friendship, work. Even the things that were difficult but which they got through with the help of a friend or family.

HOW DID YOU GET ON, ASKING FOLKS TO COME ON BOARD?

I knocked on Niall Horan's door in Mullingar (my daughters insisted!). Unfortunately, he wasn't there. My kids kissed my hand when I returned home, and they wouldn't let me wash it for a week!

I door-stepped Joe Duffy at a book event in Kildare. My cousin's wife knocked on Donncha O'Callaghan's mother's door in Cork and put me in touch with Rob Heffernan. Soon I had thirty-five stories and was ready to publish.

The Teen-Line number is 1800 833 634 and is open seven days a week from 8pm to 11pm (Wednesdays 4pm to 11pm). The Beauty Of Everyday Life costs €12.99 in paperback and in e-format on Lulu.com


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