Be Kind (and Books are Great)
June 6, 2019

One of my super-quick scribbles... I just finished the new book in the Skulduggery universe: "Bedlam". As you know, I've always been a fan; author Derek Landy is a writer I know I can count on for fun, character-driven adventure novels. My mind drifted away from the book temporarily as I was sitting on a bus, (I blame the pot-hole) and I wrote this on its margin. Sorry book, I cannot control when inspiration strikes. At the same time though, thank you book for inspiring me!

Hope you all like it.

Be Kind
Be Kind

Be kind when no one’s watching
Be kind to show you care
Be kind because you can be
When someone needs you there.

Be kind when you don’t want to
Be kind when things seem wrong
Be kind so unexpectedly
Though you’ve been there all along.

But most of all remember:

The Home Stage
May 12, 2019

There are some things in life that pass by us, like a reel on a loop, just showing us glimpses of memories to be quickly forgotten. Then there are some memories that get stuck in our reel and they tick, over and over again, in our minds. For me, that would be my life with An Grianan Theatre, and I just realised last night that I have never really spoken much about it. That needs to change, I think; I need to carve out this experience somehow, and because I don’t have a cave or a rock (or a hammer and other useful carving utensils), I figured this lovely blog of mine would do.

An Grianan helped shape who I am as a person. As a young teenager, I found my inner confidence because of my weekly trips to the youth theatre, and I also found a place where I felt welcomed and safe. It saved me from feeling nothing but anxiety and exam-stress. I learnt about stage performance, vocal projection and the joys of eating a shop-made sandwich on the way to rehearsals. I met lifelong friends there, I met my future boyfriend there (who at the time was sporting a fantastic head of hair), and I realised my dreams there as well.

Because of An Grianan I went to college to study drama. Because of An Grianan I met the most amazing group of people, from staff to drama tutors, to future lecturers and guides, to fellow YT members, and because of them I found who I was meant to be. I left as a young theatre-lover and returned with my first play, The Bull. They didn’t even hesitate to offer my play a night on my home stage, which meant the world to me. You see, it’s the endless support from An Grianan that makes me realise that I’ll always be a part of their family, and every time I walk through the doors I feel like I never left. It’s a diamond of a theatre that has given me memories that will last forever. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I will be forever grateful to them for that.

The Desk
April 23, 2019

It's important to have a writing space. I think it's a way of training your brain to not focus on day-to-day thoughts, like life's worries and what to have for dinner (and what snacks will fill the void in between). A writing space helps you to settle down, focus on nothing else, and start writing.

Therefore a desk a wonderful thing, and I haven't had one in just over three years.

That's a long time to be a writer with no desk.

That's like an alien without a spaceship. Or cake with no tea. It's like an incorrect mathematical equation, (I imagine it to be like: 1+0=1676.25678). It's very confusing; you don't have to be a mathematician, or a baker, or an alien to realise that a writer without a desk is just not right.

I used to have a table in Belfast, that also was our dining room table, and it looked out over the balcony. It was also close to the kitchen, which meant I was close to the kettle, making it the perfect space. There, I would write away into the late hours, drink tea and eat biscuits, and it was wonderful.

Back at home in Donegal, I used to treat it like my holiday place, where I wouldn't do much writing but I'd do a lot of things that involved having fun (see photo of climbing Muckish for evidence of the fun). I didn't much worry about the lack of desk, cause I had my writing space in Belfast. Now that I'm home, I've sort of been writing in an opportunistic way - writing in quiet corners, by kitchen tables, in cars and by beaches. I've written on envelopes, on napkins, and even on my arm. While all of these spaces are great (not so much the implements), they're not quite the atmosphere I'm looking for: none of them are really ideal for establishing a writing routine.

So, three years on, I need a desk. The dream desk.

In my future, I want a bright space with big window so I can see the sun rising. I'd like big bookshelves and colourful soft rugs and fancy beds for the pets to sleep on as I work. Right now though, I'd happily settle for a table and a chair. That's the dream, and I'll keep you updated as this dream becomes a reality. It's all starting with moving around furniture, to create the ultimate "writersroom corner". A hugely important part of this process involves tidying up too; as my six-year-old nephew said to me, with wisdom far beyond his years, my soon-to-be writing space is currently "a bit of a mess."

What you should take away from this blog post is that writers like their space, but will write absolutely anywhere if necessary. Just as long as it gets the imagination going - then that's what writer's want. It's important to have that sense of routine, though. As Stephen King describes:

“I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places…The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon. - Stephen King”

Some work from the writeathon...
March 30, 2019

“Your friend, your twenty years of a friend...”

This is a section from a short story I'm developing... all thanks to just free-writing for ten minutes each day. I think this process has helped me to refocus; I'm more aware of how my day-to-day experiences can influence my work. I used to do this while I was in college, but I think I just lost it a little somewhere along the way. So now I'm back to the notebook being filled with words and scribbles (and some doodles when my mind goes off in a completely different direction). Anyway, I hope you like this story taster!

Beside you, was your friend, all tucked up in a blanket; a blanket that should have been yours. Your friend, your twenty years of a friend, sat with you in the mornings as you drank your steaming coffee, waiting for the 6am news on the telly. Your friend would talk to you too, and you would talk back; although you never could understand each other. For twenty years your friend would often sit in silence as you cried into your hands so nobody could hear. Your friend though, knew different. Your friend saw you in a way that others did not.

Ten minute writeathon
March 25, 2019

I've been a bit quiet recently. I'd like to say that I was battling dragons, filming my next award winning film or enjoying an incredibly long and sunny holiday break (with lots of incredibly majestic and adorable animals), but honestly life just got in the way. So no sun, dragons or movies. Instead I've been enjoying a cocktail of late nights, early mornings (far too much coffee for a non-coffee drinker) and lots of walks with the dogs.

I'm back though, (hurrah!) and, even though I'm incredibly busy, I've challenged myself to write for at least ten minutes every day. Starting today. This is day one of the ten minute writeathon. I think it has a bit of a ring to it, so it might be worth trying yourself, if you too fancy writing some words! So... ten minutes, every day. Come join me!

(if so let me know by tweeting me, and use the hashtag #10mwriteathon.)

The Tide and Me
February 14, 2019

Warning: this post has nothing to do with Valentine's Day.

I wrote this as I was staring out a window of a café, drinking a really good cup of tea. I realised it's very easy to be hard on yourself, and inspired by that thought I wrote The Tide. It's me basically saying, "you are stronger than you think". Which is very true; we all are stronger than we think we are. I suppose it's a case of believing in ourselves.

Also, I decided to use metaphor of the tide because the beach will always be my spirit home.

Happy Valentine's Day. Make sure to love yourself!

The Tide
The Tide

What a foolish thing to do,
To discount the tide
In a way that
hardly thinks of it.

Perhaps it’s disconcerting
To think of it as it really is -
Perhaps therefore it
Is easier
To walk past it
With your eyes beneath your feet.

What a foolish thing to do,
What a foolish thi…

Welcome to my new website!
January 30, 2019

Well, would you look at this! I have a shiny new website, which also means exciting things are on the horizon. But enough of that for now; lets talk about TBoS.

Three Bags of Sugar (TBoS) was thought up back in 2012, named after the first short story I ever wrote. Since then, it has evolved into this fabulous new creature. In the past, it had photos, drawings, daily musings and the occasional book or film review. At its very heart though, it has always been about writing, and that's what I wanted to bring it back to. So from today, it will be filled with my writing (of course) as well as my experiences as a writer. There's a wealth of material there; I have many stories from the moment I realised I quite enjoyed "imagining up worlds" during my undergraduate degree (a few light years ago). I'm also sure there will be more stories to come as I navigate my way though the next chapter of my life.

If you're new to TBoS, and to me, then hello! My name is Karen, and I go by the slightly more writery name "K.M.L. Quinn"; my friends just call me Karen though.

This is a website for people who like to read, write, and maybe even dabble in a bit of both. It's also one that will be for filmmaking fans too, so don't change the channel just yet. I promise it's going to be fun.

So hello friend, my name is Karen and I am a writer. Welcome to TBoS.

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