Hello readers, writers and listeners, I’m Damien Donnelly, a 43-year-old Irishman born and reared in Dublin until the age of 22 when I took off to Paris with a degree in Fashion design but without a word of French. I instantly fell in love with the city and it was home for two years until I fell in love with someone else and found myself leaving the City of Light and moving to London where I rested for 6 years until Amsterdam and The Netherlands tempted me with work for 10 years until I finally decided to return to Paris at the age of 40. My day job enabled me to make these country moves. I am a pattern maker these days, not a globally recognised Fashion designer (far too much pressure) and have worked for various brands including Reiss, Pepe Jeans, G-Star, Calvin Klein and now & Other Stories. So, for now, that’s my back story, a story that has reached full circle with my return to Paris. I guess I’m back where I’m supposed to be, for now. Everything takes time to line up correctly.
I’ve been writing since before I could crawl, poetry mostly, but delve from time to time into flash fiction and short stories while also working on a final draft my first fictional novel. My 1st short story was published in the book ‘Second Chance’, from Original Writing, in Ireland in 2015, a 2nd in the magazine The Fable Online, followed by a horror short story in the book ‘Body Horror Anthology’ from Gehenna and Hinnom Publishing. My poetry has been featured in the Firefly zine, Scribe Base zine and in the book ‘Nous Sommes Paris’ from Eyewear Publishing, an anthology commemorating the Paris attacks of 2015 and also in The Runt Magazine. In April 2018, I was invited by Irish surrealist poet Kevin Bateman to speak at one of his poetry events in Dublin, and we since received over 10,000 views on You Tube. Another poem was featured in the 3rd issue of Barren online literary magazine.
I’ve recently branched out into Spoken Word and have used Soundcloud and now You Tube to bring a deeper layer of understanding to my poetry. All my poems feature one of my photographs or drawings, again to further enhance the story telling and occasionally to add a little colour.
When I’m not writing or photographing Paris from every possible angle I can be found in the kitchen baking disgustingly delicious carrot cakes, chocolate cakes or, a personal favourite, Baked Mars Bar Cheesecake. I have a secret dream to sing out loud and lots of other bits and bobs that make me, well, me…
Okay, what’s been going on since I wrote this mars-bar filled profile…
I managed to survive Paris for 4 years, it is now August 2019, but I have decided that’s it, no more, they have had me for too long and I am off on a new adventure back to Ireland, after 23 years, the leaving date to be somewhere in December 2019, that way I can pop up to the north Pole, help Santa for a few weeks during the rush and then grab a lift with him and Rudolph down to Dublin and arrive home to Dublin and down the family chimney as a christmas present. The eventual dream is to set up a base in Galway, the big-mamma-term-dream is a Bed and Breakfast/Writers Retreat/eekend live music witha creative coloration in a constant flow, make a bi-annual journal of writer’s works who’ve come to stay and cook and fill everyone with Carrot Cakes, Mars Bake Cheesecakes and Irish Soda Breads!
What esle: The novel is doing well in the planning, great reaction from a few publishers so I am now doing another exciting edit based on their suggestions, and I am hopeful to see it on store shelves and your bookshelf one day soon!
I finally made it to La Chat Noir, the most famous Open Mic Poetry Event in Paris in the 11th arrondissement Monday nights and took to the stage and clamed by right to call myself a poet and artist. Much fun was had and many talents discovered. Highly recommended for anyone in the area.
But for now, Paris and I will say au revoir or maybe more fitting; a bientot! I will be moving out of the fashion environment where I have been a pattern maker now for almost 20 bloody years! Where did that time go to?!? I have been working at the Paris design atelier for & Other Stores for over 3 years now (go check us out- we are really cool and have dresses and bays and hats and scarves and magazines and shoes and makeup and underwear and a whole range of everything a woman needs all under one roof) and it has been a total joy to work in such a creative environment surrounded by a group of dedicated professionals who also realise that the length of a skirt is not the end of the world.
Okay, deep breaths and on we go…