Mo O’Connell and Mary Tynan

“I get to express myself here. It’s still a fight. Always.” – Mo

“Security, safety, friendship, family. All of that, I suppose.” – Mary

I left this one fairly raw.

Not me personally, you understand.

One of the things about written language is that it’s so much less precise than the spoken word. That may seem counter-intuitive but it’s true. Writing is a blunt instrument: it requires honing through context and precision. You only get one shot at making your message clear.

Speaking, on the other hand: now that has finesse built in. The capacity for repetition, the nuances of intonation, the immediate possibilities of clarification. It’s what makes conversation “lively”, while prose – at its best – can only hope to be considered “deathless”.

Anyhow, it’s not me that was left raw here but the interview. Under normal circumstances, I spend ages hovering over mouse and keyboard trying to mitigate against the worst gaps and buzzes that online, Zoom-based interviewing can provide. I know I’ll never get rid of all the bumps but I try to make it as smooth a listening experience for all concerned.

This will often mean cutting out the occasional sentence where the interference has become too much – but nothing that takes away from the sense or intention of the interviewee. Perhaps I mean pruning rather than cutting. Again, the need to hone when writing.

I didn’t this time, or at least not so much: not because I’m lazy but because the passion and candour of both Mo and Mary demanded I “published” them as they were: sonic warts and all.

I’m privileged each week to have such warm and giving interviewees as Maureen O’Connell and Mary Tynan trust me with their stories and thoughts. Each week I go back to square one and hope that I do justice to their faith in me.

I think that I have but it’s not for me to say. That’s down to them.

And you.

Because the one thing that truly makes the spoken word more of a precision tool than its written counterpart is the listener. To hear those repetitions and nuances and clarifications and create something from them for yourself.

Something that isn’t so raw.


Maureen O’Connell:

Details about Spa Weekend:

Dublin International Comedy Film Festival:

Mary Tynan:

Notes From Xanadu online arts centre:

Xanadu Theatre:

Published by dougdevaney

Doug Devaney is a writer, performer and journalist. He is the presenter of The Plastic Podcasts. The Plastic Podcasts have been supported using public funding by Arts Council, England

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