Lighting Up My Life

Years ago, when I started writing for profit, I read how ‘profit’ doesn’t have to be just cold, hard, cash; and how competitions (this newsletter is full of them) where your literary talent garners you top prize,  even if the competition isn’t ‘literary’, can still be counted as ‘writing successes’. I wasn’t sure I agreed with this – until yesterday.

Last night, my eldest daughter had the honour of turning on the Christmas lights on Dublin’s Grafton Street (with a little bit of help from Westlife).  This came about because I entered a competition in her name (you had to be between 5 &10) for the job of switching on the lights. In order to win, you had to answer three questions and complete the slogan ‘Dublin City Centre is magic at Christmas because….’. My ending was: ‘when the heart of the Capital lights up, the hearts of the Capital light up as well.’

Turning on the lights would have been enough. But there was more – there was so much more. First off, my little one was treated like royalty from the time we arrived at Powerscourt Town Centre (at 4pm!) until we left Bewley’s two hours later. Everyone from the PR ladies, to the Executives of Brown Thomas and Bewley’s, to the Lord Mayor, to the officials from Dublin City Council, to the very gracious David Brennan of Dublin City Business Association to Martin King, Louis Walsh and the members of Westlife treated my daughter – and, indeed, her sister and myself – with utmost courtesy, kindness and consideration.

But there was more. The traders of Grafton Street – most notably HMV, Bewley’s and Brown Thomas – put together a huge hamper for us as well. My daughter, who is seven, would actually fit into this basket, I kid you not.  It contained goods and vouchers worth approximately €1,000.

Best of all, though, was the joy, excitement and sheer pleasure my daughters both experienced as a result of my penning the winning entry – which included a live interview with Tom Dunne on Newstalk this morning. It was a good result for ten minutes’ writing work.

So while, on this occasion, my writing may not have earned me a place in the halls of literary fame, it did enrich my family on a number of levels, and it did give my children memories they will treasure forever – which is surely, the most rewarding profit of all.