Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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Skelleggin' Ireland

Bleary-eyed Bill O'Donnell

Bill had something to prove, the first time I met him. He was a tortured soul. You could see it in his watery eyes. From the way he and his daughter Barbara fought. He talked so much of writers and writing, but didn't seem to do any himself. His pub was all about travelling, living a romantic life on the open sea, in exotic locales, but he was stuck in small town Ireland.
He was always ready to talk about writing, authors, destiny and duty. The first time I met him, on August 6, Bill sat down next to me and asked me about my schooling. That question, along with telling him I planned to be a writer, developed in to a two hour discussion of sincerity, experience, youth, life, simplicity, Hemingway, expression, small words, work, travel, leisure, school, etc.

One of the most interesting and troubling things he told me (after we'd been talking for some time) was that I had a tendency to smile when he was talking very seriously. He was quick to point out that this was a habit of the young (he mentioned, both in confidence and in particular, the bar maids, he reported they do that quite often). He said it didn't bother him, because he knew it was a nervous reaction, but other people more serious might take offense to it.

On August 9, bleary-eyed Bill came up to me and told me he had a small job for me in the back. When I went back there with him, he told me I had taken an important first step in buying a copy book (two hands on two shoulders, eye-to-eye) and he told me about an author friend of his who got up every morning around 10 to 9, and played until 9.30 then he had to work (write) until 11.30, at which time he could get the mail, "then and only then could he get the mail. You see laddie?"
So we talked about work and writing for a teensy bit more and then he had to go back out to the bar. He did tell me not to show my copybook to anyone unless there was an appropriate "sense of occasion" which I thought was useful advice.

"When God made time, he made plenty of it." - Bill

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