Pat McLoughlin, pictured with a copy of his first book, To Weave with Words,
FOR the past decade or more, Pat McLoughlin has been tapping away on his laptop at his home in Newcastle West, quietly building up a body of writing that has now, to his deep satisfaction, found its way into print.
”To Weave with Words”, his first collection of short stories will be launched in Newcastle West next week and Pat is understandably “having a few butterflies”. “It is a bit nerve-wracking,” he acknowledges. “You don’t know what way the book is going to be interpreted or how people will react.”
But Dominic Taylor, from the Limerick Writers’ Centre which is “delighted” to publish the book, is confident it will be well received. “Writers, like Pat McLoughlin, prove that there is a well of creativity out there among our population, young and old, just waiting for an opportunity to blossom”.
“I was always interested in writing but it wasn’t until I retired that I started putting things down on paper,” Pat says, but it was the creative writing course for older people, run by the Limerick Writers Centre which pushed him into print. “I got a lot of encouragement from people. Our tutor was Ron Carey, a poet, and he really encouraged me. He said I should think about publishing.”
“I still had doubts so I asked Dr Paddy Fullam to pass a critical eye on them and apart from some very good suggestions, he was very positive. His approval and encouragement were the push I needed.”
Pat delivered a draft to Dominic Taylor last Christmas and the task since has been to ready them for publication. “The one thing that has amazed me is the amount of work that goes into publishing a book, the stitching and unstitching, the editing and the going back,” he says.
Dominic has described the collection as “eclectic “, where Pat draws on his own life experience and on events both past and contemporary. “Some of the stories are based on actual historical events – ranging from the national to the international. Other stories are the fruits of childhood memories that made a significant impact on Pat’s philosophical world view.” Pat, he adds, is the second writer to publish as a direct result of the centre’s creative writing course for older people,
“I am always fascinated by the human condition and how people respond to different problems and situations,” Pat says of his writing. “I try and write the stories with honesty and compassion. I am not writing for fame and fortune. I like to use dialogue and I like conversational tone in writing. That is what attracts me and I try to do that.”
“I always liked a good twist in the end,” he adds with a laugh. And this he has achieved in several of the stories in this collection. “I think I have stitched in subtle little messages, about how we treat each other, our planet and the flora and fauna and so on.”
“I like to use dialogue and I like conversational tone in writing. That is what attracts me and I try to do that.”
Now, for Pat, who writes the Newcastle West notes for the Limerick Leader every week, the creative writing has become a constant in his life. “I wake up very early and write for two three or four hours, depending. It is a struggle some mornings but other mornings there is a flow and I go with that. Being retired allows me to do that.”
“My first reader is my daughter-in-law Orla. I send it to her and then I work on it again and then my good friend Paddy Fullam will throw his eye over it.
”I have enough stories for a second collection,” he adds. “And I have a lot of work done on a novel.” But he still isn’t sure that it will ever see the light of day.
There is an open invitation to the launch which takes place this Friday, June 29 at 8pm in the Longcourt House Hotel, Newcastle West. “People will be very welcome to attend,” says Pat. Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan will formally launch the book.
To Weave with Words, will be available for sale on the night, priced at €12, at O’Mahony’s Book Shop, in local shops in Newcastle West and through the Limerick Writers Centre.