Fighting Words and Apples

oil painting of apple by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Hallowe’en Apple no.8,   20 x 20cm, oil on canvas, 2015

Roddy Doyle Ha Ha Ha – I’m sure you heard of him, the author and Booker Prize winner, but did you know that he was also the co-founder of Fighting Words. Yes indeed, Fighting Words is the charitable organisation that he founded with Seán Love to provide mentoring in creative writing, free of charge, to young people. More about that at:

So why am I talking about this? – Well, the Olivier Cornet Gallery has a group show entitled “Hopscotch”, which will be first seen at VUE in the Royal Hibernian Academy this weekend.  It’s a show based around childhood memories and children’s games and he has been working in collaboration with Fighting Words to inspire some young people to get writing.

Olivier Cornet preparing for VUE at the RHA
Olivier Cornet preparing for VUE at the RHA

Each young author chose an artwork and then wrote a piece which will hang alongside the work in the exhibition. Christian Pierce (aged 15) was inspired by my apple paintings and he wrote a passage entitled:   “Climbing”  – I am delighted to reproduce it here on Scéalta Ealaíne…


“I bet you can’t pick the highest apple in the tree!” your friend says. But you’ll show him. You’ve been climbing trees for as long as you can remember but you can only remember about four years or so, and having to get help out of the tree in the garden.

But this time you won’t need help, oh no, no help needed today. All the eight years you have lived have led up to this moment. “The first steps are easy”, you think as you pull yourself from the ground up to the branch.

The next parts are like a climbing frame: up you climb, branch by branch, one by one. Through the tunnels of leaves, a bright green colour this time of year. Ignore the other apples; they are of no purpose to you. You are searching for the holy grail of apples, the golden apple, the one Adam and Eve took a bite from, the most treasured apple in the whole wide world.

You’re in the heart of the tree now, rustling through the curtain of leaves to reach the ladder of branches that will bring you to your watch tower of north.

You’re here now. You have arrived at your destination. The bronze apple is glinting in the sun.  Go and pick it. You have earned it. It is your prized possession.

You are above everyone now, like a king. Look over your kingdom at the summer colours: green, yellow, purple, orange. This land is yours now. You control all the things, alongside the apple.

But really, it’s just an apple. You passed dozens on the way up. Your time of rule is over, you were the best king ever but for now, it’s time to go back to your friend.


Your comments are always welcome – but especially this time 😉  Click on the little brown speech bubble up at the top right of this post and you can put your comment there. Thanks, eoin





  1. I like the idea behind Fighting Words, I love your apple and I’m inspired by Christian’s story!

    Only a few hours ago I was reading an article on creative writing, so this post goes well with my theme of the day – thinking of ways to make my blog posts more interesting and finding my own voice. K.


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