Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An open application

Dear Sir / Madam,
My name is Peter Goulding and I would like to apply for the position of Writer in Residence at Farmleigh.
I am roughly the same stature as the last incumbent, Dermot Bolger, though possibly I have a few pounds on him in the midriff department. Furthermore I have come across his footsteps in the field opposite the estate and believe that I could very easily follow in them.
My qualifications for the post are impeccable. I am a writer and my preferred location for writing is in a residence. I have been writing in my own residence for quite a while now and feel it is about time I branched out and wrote in someone else’s.
When I say “writer,” it is true that I may not well be able to bandy words about with the loquacity of Mr. Bolger – in fact, I agonise over “What I Did on my Holidays” - but it is generally accepted within the family that I am a good speller, even to the point of pooh-poohing the spell-checker on my computer on occasions.
I have won many awards for my writing. You may have seen in the papers that I received a gold star for my story of Twinkle Bee in senior infants, the first of many such accolades. My repetitive poem “I must not throw cubes of jelly up at the ceiling” written during detention when I was a mere thirteen year old, drew gasps of praise from all those who read it and I believe my small ad in the Evening Herald attempting to sell a slightly faulty umbrella is still being lauded for its use of stark imagery.
Currently, I am working on what I hope will be the definitive Irish novel of our generation. Without wishing to give too much of the plot away, it is a tale of love, war and famine, set against the backdrop of League of Ireland football. I have already had a tentative inquiry from a Mr. S. Spielberg about the film rights and Johnny Depp has reportedly put his holiday in Bundoran on hold, such is his interest in playing the role of Macker, the one-legged centre-half, who finds love in the strangest of places.
I am also a poet of some renown and my epic sonnet “Open your bleedin’ eyes, linesman” narrowly missed the cut for this year’s Leaving Cert syllabus, unjustly overlooked in favour of some scribblings by a guy called Philip Larkin. I have heard that Seamus Heaney has commented very favourably on my ability to rhyme “cockily” with “broccoli.”
Visiting Farmleigh with its backdrop of the Phoenix Park, I have been struck by the beauty of the surroundings (though I would suggest that someone cut down a few of the trees as they tend to block the view of the rest of the park.) I feel sure that the ambient surroundings of the writer’s cottage would definitely help me complete Chapter Two of my novel, in which Rocky “Rock” McBiscuit, the Scythechester manager, stumbles across an illicit and erotic game of headers and volleys in a field outside Rouen.
On a more general point, I believe the solitude and peaceful surroundings of Farmleigh would definitely aid my writing. You’ve no idea how hard it is trying to concentrate when you have a garrulous canary whistling down one ear and two adoring children looking for money in the other. How much better I could write in a peaceful little cottage in the Park, disturbed only the night owls screeching, the wood-pigeons cooing, the security guards barking instructions on their walkie-talkies and the American Ambassador playing his Lionel Ritchie CDs at full volume.
I understand that with the post of writer in residence comes the almost exclusive use of the Farmleigh Library, which is far-famed throughout the western world for its fascinating collection of first editions. Can you tell me if it has the new one by Elizabeth George? I have been trying to get it in Blanchardstown Library for a while now and am dying to know whether Havers and Inspector Lindley finally get it together.
On the application form it requests that I submit “names and contact details of two authorities in your field who know you and your work.” I am afraid that I do not own a field, nor am I ever likely to. It seems a rather strange requisite for the post, if you don’t mind my saying so. Maybe I could rent one for a short period of time and entice two authorities in to it?
I see that I am also required to list a description of the work I intend to undertake if I am successful in my application. To be honest, I hadn’t intended to do much work. Of course, I’ll sweep the kitchen floor occasionally and may even give the skirting boards a lick of paint if I have a free afternoon but other than that, I intend to spend most of my time writing.
There is also a requirement to provide samples of my writing, which is not a problem. I still have a recent letter of complaint to Bord Gáis on my computer and my collection of adjectives now extends to almost two pages. Would this be okay? Sadly my note to our life assurance agent, detailing that we had just popped out and would be returning forthwith, was blown away by a sudden gust of wind and so this literary masterpiece is now lost to posterity.
Can I ask if Mr. Cowen intends to take up residence at Farmleigh during the summer? I only ask because I’ve heard he’s a bit of a hip-hop freak and I’d be a bit perturbed about all that thump-thump music at three o’clock in the morning when I’m trying to watch The Shopping Channel. Maybe you could have a word in his shell-like? Of course he’s welcome to come around an odd evening when he needs a bit of advice on the economy but not when “Ireland’s Got Talent” is on.
Before I officially submit my application form, I would also like to enquire about the official view of sub-letting the property at Farmleigh should I be successful. As you know the cottage is located in a highly-desirable location with easy access to the city centre, yet set in the exclusive surroundings of The Phoenix Park. I feel I would have no problems at all finding a tenant to move in, even on a short term lease. With the rent money, I could then enjoy an extended holiday in Coco Bay, Antigua, doing invaluable research in the resort where Macker’s childhood sweetheart spends Chapter Four improving her prowess as an assistant referee.


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

Not only do I remember the stark imagery of your small ad about the umbrella in the Herald, but I actually stole it for one of my novels years ago.

Good luck with your application. Please note that I painted the skirting board of the cottage before I left so that won't be necessary.

Dermot Bolger

Peter Goulding said...

Hi Dermot,

Glad you did the skirting board. My knees aren't what they used to be!
I fear though that nothing I have produced so far comes anywhere near "Walking the Road," which was an absolutely magical experience and probably my cultural highlight of last year.
I therefore await Farmleigh's response more in hope than expectation.