2017 – A Year in Review

2017 - a year in review

2017 was a strange old year. The world continued to come apart at the seams, my health, both mental and physical, wasn’t great (again) which affected my writing and I spent a not insignificant amount of time trying to figure out how, y’know, to do life. It wasn’t all bad, mind; I wrote some stuff I am proud of, dedicated even more time to activism and met some brilliant people.

Here is a whistle-stop tour of my year, totally inspired by Grace Latter’s 2017: a year on the blog.

Notes on being pro-choice

In January, I wrote about my goals for the year. My aforementioned health issues meant I didn’t manage to do everything, but I’ll carry them over to 2018 because all we can do is try our best.

On the reading front, I wrote about my plans to read differently and focus on quality over quantity. I’ve really enjoyed picking up books that catch my attention, when they catch my attention. I reviewed Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan, All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan, Relativity by Antonia Hayes and Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie. I kicked off my ‘5 questions with…’ series by interviewing Liz Nugent.

I looked at my complicated relationship with self-care and why it isn’t all about treating yourself to material things.

I rounded out the month by sharing my submission to the Citizens’ Assembly about how I went from being anti-choice to becoming a pro-choice activist and organiser.

View from Mercy Hospital

February saw me spend ten days in hospital due to post (routine) op complications, which were all kinds of fun. Not. I did manage to interview Lisa Gardner and write about rape culture; following a certain politician’s ascertain that it didn’t exist because he had never heard a rape joke. Sigh.

#Strike4Repeal Poster

March was Strike 4 Repeal month! I was interviewed about our Kerry for Choice Strike action, on Spin South West. A hospital appointment meant I spent Strike Day in Cork, so I missed our local event but stopped by the demo in Cork to do some shouting.

Shorter blog posts were the flavour of the month, which saw me write about writing, coffee, the search for the perfect gluten-free pasta, smashing the patriarchy, walking home alone, female body hair and why you can love red lipstick and still be a feminist. I also shared some of the songs I listened to.

A post shared by Paula Dennan (@c_musings) on

April was a month of planning to take over the world! Seriously, though, I got to spend a weekend with some of my fellow Bi+ Ireland Coordinators. It was a weekend full of fun, laughter, chats and planning how we can make Bi+ Ireland the best group it can be and Ireland a more inclusive place. We also joined the demo, organised by Limerick LGBTQ Pride, against the Chechnyan concentration camps for gay and bi+ men.

On the blog, I chatted to Orla Shanaghy and Denise Deegan. Review wise, we had Mercury by Margot Livesey and The Lauras by Sara Taylor. Oh, and, there was another playlist.

Notes on writing - part two

In May, I interviewed Michelle Adams, Evie Gaughan, Anne Goodwin and Tiffany McDaniel. I wrote about writing, again, and shared my feelings about the marriage equality referendum on the second anniversary of the vote. I started a newsletter (sign up HERE!) and listened to (even) more music.

Elsewhere, I wrote about getting my first period for Aisling Walsh’s blog – OVarious.  It was fun. No, really, it was!

Notes from a coffee shop

June was when I hit a funk. A funk that would become a major depressive episode, but I didn’t know that yet. It was just a funk.

On the blog; I interviewed Triona Scully and Caroline E. Farrell and continued with my monthly playlists. For my newsletter, I wrote two essays; one about activist burnout and why it shouldn’t be seen as a badge of honour and the other about my complicated relationship with alcohol and how we view problem drinking as a society.

Highlight of the month goes to hearing Bi+ Ireland founder, Aoife O’Riordan, stand on stage at Dublin Pride and say “I am bisexual and I am not confused.” I shed so many happy tears listening to Aoife’s powerful words. The full speech is up on the Bi+ Ireland website, you should watch it!

Notes on 33

I turned 33, in July, and wrote some reminders to myself. Reading wise; I chatted to Margot Livesey, reviewed Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and shared some queer fiction recommendations.

Highlight of the month goes to appearing in GCN, along with some of the amazing Bi+ Ireland team, talking about all things bisexual. You can read it here (we’re on pages 53-55).

Kerry for Choice - #ARCRoadshow17 - Tralee

August was Abortion Rights Roadshow time for Kerry for Choice! We held a day of action on the 12th, with information stalls in Tralee and Killarney.

I was back in hospital for follow-up surgery; thankfully it was only an overnight stay. I’m not sure I could’ve coped with a repeat of last time.

Blog wise; I shared podcast recommendations and wrote about the bloggers and writers who inspire me. A back log of book reviews saw me introduce quick-fire reviews here and here, I also recommended some books about living with bipolar disorder.  There was also some music.

My essay about what being diagnosed with bipolar disorder taught me about myself was published on Stigma Fighters. I wrote it earlier in the year, when I was in a better headspace, so sharing it was a little strange but it reminded me that I can and will get through bouts of depression.

I took part in Bi+ Ireland’s ‘We Exist’ interview series and attended Cork Pride, which was a glitter-filled blast.

Highlight of the month goes to being shortlisted for the V by Very Blog Awards Ireland in the Books & Literature (Personal Blog) category. It was a lovely surprise given how sporadically I wrote about books compared to previous years.

March for Choice 2017

September was March for Choice month! I’m still blown away by the overwhelming positive atmosphere on the day and the dedication of the amazing volunteers of the Abortion Rights Campaign and its regional groups, who work tirelessly to make the march happen annually. I appeared on Spin South West discussing the March and all things Kerry for Choice!

On the blog, I recommended five books about abortion rights, both here and abroad. There were four quick-fire book review posts; here, here, here and here. From my newsletter, I shared the piece I wrote about finding my way in feminism.

I was featured in this article, by Taryn de Vere, for Her.ie to mark Bi Visibility Day!

I wrote an essay about love, marriage, mental illness and risotto. It is a companion piece to this blog post, written by Paul. The kindness, support and good wishes we’ve received since is something I will never be able to say ‘thank you’ for enough. <3

Highlight of the month goes to seeing Tori Amos live at the Cork Opera House. It was such a great night!

Sunday Evening Skincare

Only two blog posts in October, one about #MeToo and why I’m tired of all this talk that doesn’t lead to action from men, the other saw skincare make an appearance for the first time in forever.

I became one of ARC’s Partnerships & Outreach Working Group Reps and get to work alongside another group of dedicated and passionate people as we gear up for a referendum.

The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins

November and December were quiet, with more quick-fire book reviews here and here. I also rounded out the year by interviewing Olive Collins.

Writing wise; I completed Laura Jane Williams’ brilliant six-week online course, Don’t Be a Writer, Be a Storyteller (sign up for details of future courses HERE!) and am looking forward to spending time putting many words on many pages and re-drafting them many times. Because stories don’t appear fully formed, they take time and work. But getting those initial words on the page is important.

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Happy New Year! Here’s to a 2018 full of kindness. Oh, and, Repealing the Eighth.

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