At just under six foot in his socks and weighing in at fourteen stone, Ronan Brady is a solid slab of rarest Roscommon meat. He has a natural tendency to throw himself about – some would say recklessly, others would say enthusiastically – into whatever he sets himself to. Ronan had a ‘normal’ childhood in Roscommon and knew by the time he was a teenager that when he grew up he wanted to play football for his county and become a teacher. Ronan had achieved his life ambition when he took up ‘Flying’ as a hobby. A hobby that transformed his life and took him to heights he never dreamed of, performing in the smash hit show Riot alongside Panti Bliss, and going on to tour the world. Worlds Apart is an open, humorous account of Ronan’s life journey,
1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
No. I tend to be a very active person, always bouncing from one thing to the next when I am out and about. My reading is always done at home, in a quiet environment so I can properly focus my attention on the story in front of me.
2. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
You always want to be ‘the good one’, but in truth, everyone is a bit of both. There’s people in my life that would view me as the best friend they could have ever had. There are others who probably have very little good to say. In the end, I hope that I have enough courage to understand when I’ve been wrong or have wronged someone, so I’d like to think that as long as someone is being truthful, I can stand to be ‘the bad one’.
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
At home and at night, with a cup of coffee and some biscuits, with some music on in the background and only one light to read by. I want the reading experience to be like a portal, so I can give over to the world entirely, regardless of whether that’s fiction or non-fiction.
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
There is no one answer for that. If I’m not training for circus, then I tend to be travelling and performing for it, taking in small towns and big venues alike, travelling alone or in a large troupe of beautifully crazy artists who are never short of things to capture your attention. Even when I’m at home, I like to be out and about. My house banks onto the River Shannon, and whenever I can I am either in it or on it. I’ve also just bought a campervan, so goodness knows what’s next in store.
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
This will sound terrible, but I often pass them without entering. It’s not that I don’t love them as spaces, they are gorgeous. It’s just that when I latch my focus onto something, be that performance or fun, I will move with purpose towards that thing to the exclusion of pretty much everything else, including bookshops. I only stop into them when I have something to buy. More often than not, I have a clear idea of what I’m looking to read, so I don’t spend too much time browsing.
6. What are you most proud of?
My creative work. The ability to collaborate and an openness to having my mind changed. To date I’ve co-created two shows and written a book: How To Square a Circle, Sub Rosa, and Worlds Apart. To do this, I had to launch myself into worlds and processes that I had never experienced before. You know that moment where you feel the fear, and do it anyway? I love these moments and constantly pursue them. They are often tipping points for brilliant experiences or a catalyst for something you never even dreamed of. That said, none of these projects would have happened without the help of others, which is why the ability to
collaborate and trust others is so important. It is often through working and conversing with other creatives that I’ve been challenged in my own thinking and beliefs. I’ve formed new perspectives to the world around me, and generated new philosophies. I love that personal growth.
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
I sure I’m not alone in this, but the first thing I do with any book that passes through my hands is to open it up and to take a giant sniff of the paper. There’s such a comforting smell that comes from pages printed on paper. That first smell speaks of where the books comes from: new or second-hand, hardback or soft, thin paper or gloss. It’s like a handshake. It’s how the book introduces itself to you, and you to it so you can then go on to discover the world that lives inside those pages.
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write little lots rather than a lot a little. It’s better to do one-hundred words everyday than to do three-thousand once a month. I spend a lot of time training my body, doing stretches, weights, push-ups etc. If I don’t do it daily, then the muscles atrophy and my capacity decreases. It’s no different with writing. Treat it like a muscle and tend to it regularly.
9. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
This is tricky. I’m a conversationalist. I simply love chatting people. More often than not, I find myself in deep conversation with people that I’ve never met before as I move about the world, performing shows and seeking new experiences. I feel there is so much to be learned from other people, be that your neighbour, your sibling or a stranger on the other side of the globe. Everyone has such a wealth of untapped knowledge and a unique perspective to share, but often we spend so much time talking about the surface stuff, we never get a chance to dive into the deeper, more meaningful topics. It often takes is a safe environment or just the right questions to unlock these answers. I love surprising people with these questions… so I guess the answer is anyone with an inclination to share.
10. When and where do you prefer to write?
Very early in the morning. First thing after sunrise or close thereafter, before the brain gets its defences up and before too many other things can steal my attention away. It’s the time when I find it easiest to be honest with myself. Your mind has woken up in the new day as empty as its going to get, so I like try and take advantage of that space and see what arrives within me.
Thank you, Ronan Brady and Love Books Group
About the author
Ronan Brady is a physical performer, aerialist and hoop artist who is recognised internationally for his expertise with the Cyr wheel. He is a native of Roscommon, where he was a teacher and played intercounty football, before embarking on his stage career.