Sometimes it’s good to talk to strangers

Popular author Michael for Arts Centre

Cavan man, Michael Harding, is no stranger to talking. The popular writer seeks out conversation with all manner of people and has a knack of highlighting the many quirky characters he meets on his travels across the country, both in his books and in the column he writes for The Irish Times.

  On Wednesday, November 9th, Michael will be in Roscommon Arts Centre where he will be discussing his latest book ‘Talking to Strangers’.

  Michael spoke to me earlier this week about the book and the art of talking to strangers. Michael was diagnosed with depression in 2012 and beautifully summed up what ‘Talking to Strangers’ is all about.

  “The story covers the year when I was in Romania and then I was Bull McCabe in ‘The Field’ in the Gaiety in Dublin and I was touring with another show around the country and that’s a lot of activity.

  “Sometimes when you suffer from depression, there’s no better cure than talking to other people. That’s really what the book is about.”

  As our chat progressed, it became clear that Michael is a man with his finger on rural Ireland’s pulse.

  “I think everybody suffers a touch of melancholy in the winters ya know? I think that really what affects rural Ireland is isolation and that’s really the cause of most of it.

  “I think people in general are very chatty and strangers will talk to you.”

  Describing himself as a “story-teller”, Michael added: “I’ve written six books and when you’re doing it for a living you try to get good at it! When you’re meeting people you kinda keep your ears open and you listen to what people are saying to you. That’s one of the great tricks of story-telling: it’s not all about talking, it’s about listening.”

  Michael described his books and columns rather humbly as “funny stories” people tell him, but having read the column and extracts from his books, I can assure those attending next Wednesday that they are in for an entertaining and eye-opening evening.

  Michael will be appearing at the arts centre next Wednesday at 8 pm. For more information, contact the booking office on 090 66 25824.