Monday, December 31, 2012

Introspection on the Eve of the Year-Death

It's that time of year again folks, the time when I wake up in a cold sweat after weeks of partying and realise that another year is about to die and that I'm not sure if I've achieved anything, or bettered the world in any way possible. Y'know, that lovely ould feeling of mortality that conspires to make you feel like as worthless as a flea-ridden badger pelt.

I love that feeling. It's ace.

The past weeks have, if I'm honest, been a bit of a blur. Company xmas party (where I danced for 5 hours in a tuxedo and a fez), team xmas party (where we dressed up as medieval sorts and attended a wench-served banquetting hall) and the endless succession of festive catch-ups with friends and loved ones.

Then there was christmas itself: christmas eve, christmas day, and Boxing Day...all accompanied by food and drink...copious amounts of drink. I took the missus home with me to spend the holiday with my family, and now she's considering entering rehab. It was a lot of fun, but now I'm just about ready for a massive spell of detox and rest.

So now it's NYE, and I'm sitting in my boxers watching my (slightly insane) girlfriend dance around listening to 90's dance music while she gets ready. She's like a demented toddler, on crack, but the song is good for the end of the year.

SO, introspection. What was good, and what was shite about this year?

  1. Social retreat (from almost everyone I hold dear) and the loss of huge swathes of memory.
  2. Physical deterioration (I gradually became a big huge fat fucker, topping at 15st 8 - #fatcunt)
  3. Near-perpetual money worries.
  4. Horrendously neglecting, and forgetting how to blog (three posts in a year! woohoo!!).
  5. Doing nothing to move away from a job I realise I seriously dislike. 
  6. Procrastination in writing, the thing I actually want to do for a living.
  7. Drinking too much, sleeping too little, taking my health for granted and waking up on the floor of my living room a few too many time.
  8. Psycho-fucking-therapy.
  9. My best mate moving away from London.
  10. Not finishing writing the novel I promised myself I'd complete, in spite of having loads of time to do it in.
  11. Finding out last week that one of my best friends was knocked over in a hit and run collision, and is now lying in hospital in Belfast. The cunt driving the car hasn't been found, and Stephen is in an induced come, though showing signs of stability and improvement.

So that all sounds pretty shite, eh? But there were a few great times as well...

  1. A holiday I took with the Missus to Italy in September. (The pasta!! The wine!! The PIZZA!!) and another not-so-good (but fun) trip to Egypt in April.
  2. Paying off my debts with my annual bonus.
  3. Writing a pilot drama script for a Channel 4 screenwriting competition. I didn't win, but I  completed the fucker in two days and was really pleased with it. It gave me a bit of confidence that I could do this for a living, in spite of the rejection and mad, murderous doubts.
  4. Finally figuring out what I want to do with my life, and coming up with a rough plan for the next year. (It involves a lot of writing).
  5. Getting back into boxing and exercise and shifting some of the blubber I'd accumulated. Much more to do there.
  6. Running the Dublin marathon on 29th October and finishing, despite twisting my knee. 
  7. The trip to Dublin for the marathon; meeting my best mates, staying in my first 5 star hotel, and going on some epic Dublin pub crawls.
  8. Xmas with the Missus and my crazy family.

On the whole, it seems this year had more bad times than good, but I'm quietly optimistic for the new year. I'll be 26 in a few weeks, and I'm spending my holiday India! Plus, I've got a few resolutions that I'll be trying my best to stick to, and which might make me a bit happier in my life.

So I think that's enough introspection for now, although I sadly realise that all these good and bad points could have made a separate blog entry, so I'll have to stop being such a lazy bastard.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have a lovely evening, and you all have a wonderful 2013.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Proud We Are

So I've been a fight fan for about 10 years, and there's nothing better than seeing an Irish boxer doing well.

At this Olympics, our tiny country won 4 medals. That's almost 1 per every million. Basically our fighters are 1 in a million.

I cried my eyes out when Katie Taylor won her gold. She blasted the glass ceiling off the world of fucking boxing, and I love her.

Who inspires you?


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

'The Cave Dweller', or 'Whatever happened to the last few Years?'


So I haven't blogged in a while, a long while. Yesterday, I happened to click into my bookmarked pages, and this bloggo came up, and I shamefacedly had a look.

Nothing. Nothing happening at all. It was about as much fun as a 'Make a Wish' daytrip to Chernobyl, and not even half as entertaining. I looked over at the section marked 'The Past' and was surprised to see:
2011 (3)
2010 (42)
2009 (78)

Not even a single post from 2012 - how terrible.

My little blog had gone from being a (hopefully) funny and well-written online journal, to a dirty, festering, stinking, lethargic pile of shite; lazy and insignificantly dull.

In the last two years, I more or less gave up on the whole blogosphere heart-on-sleeve approach to writing, and tried to write a book. Also, I got a girlfriend, a real life one this time, and the relationship soon surpassed my previous record of 9 weeks. I soon got involved in the trivial and wonderful aspects of having a lady-woman to report to, part of which probably meant quitting from divulging my shameful, drunken antics to internet strangers, and I 'settled down'. Yuck.

Anyway, I'm still with the lovely woman (she's a mad Jewess with curly hair and a wicked sense of humour) in our little cave that we share in Fulham, and I'm still writing my book, which is about a crazy man, but I'm happy to return to the Pizza Box and pick up where I left off.

One reason for this turnaround is that I have no memories from the past two years, and very few from the past three or four other than the ones I can glean from Facebook, the photos saved to my harddrive, and past posts here. Seriously, hardly any at all!

I lived in a bit of an insomniac, drunken haze since I moved back to Ireland from the USA, and I stayed in my little shadow world thereafter, until a few weeks ago when I had a sudden moment of awakening and found to my horror that I was 25, and sleepwalking through my life. I had ballooned in weight, was seeing a shrink, had taken to sleeping all day during the weekend, and went for days at a time without speaking. When I did speak, it was either to snap or bark at someone, or rasp sarcastically. I had gone from being a cheerful sort of chap to becoming a bit of a cunt. I'd even fucked my career up! I was supposed to be a lawyer, remember? But I can definitely recall being invited not to continue my career with the firm I was supposed to work with. Good job, Conbot.

Years had passed, and I had lost the way of myself a bit and woke up to the great hangover of the truth that I had missed at least four years of my life. My personality had completely changed, and I had no idea who I was. I'm sure there are people I knew when I was younger who wouldn't even recognise me.

It's bizarre, I rummage through my bureau in my room, and find the manuscript to a novel I've been writing and it's 60,000 words. I have only vague memories of writing a lot of it, and have had to rediscover the characters and the plot.

Other things are harder. I saw a picture of a friend of mine on Facebook, a girl from University. She and I were 'rather close' then, and I can barely remember more than a few glimpses. Not even the bad stuff, which I'm sure was abundant (if she was hanging out with me!)

So I contacted a load of my friends and gave them the skinny. I had fallen off the radar and plummeted headfirst into a large quagmire of shite and doubt, changing from a happy scamp into a hairy recluse man. I asked those friends I could remember to help me by loaning me some of their memories, and that's why I'm back.

Over the next few weeks and months, I'll post what these friends reply to me with, and try to add my own memories of what they mean to me. It'll be as new to me as it will be to any of you suckers who stick around to read.

At best, I might get some memories back and maybe rebuild my blog. At worst, I'll chase what remaining followers I have into the ocean.

We'll see.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I got a critique for a short story I wrote

So I wrote a short story recently called 'A lullaby for Bosco Sweeney' - and submitted for consideration to a big Irish short-story competition. The Fish Short Story Competition is a bit of a hero-thing of mine, so it was great to hear back from them.

One point though - the character of 'Val' is supposed to be a man...just saying haha

"The direct appeal to the reader/listener in the opening paragraph succinctly creates a sense of immediacy and orientates the reader swiftly within the narrative, raising expectations and creating ample space for the unexpected. No explanation about who the narrator might be is necessary as the writer has trusted the reader to find the answer through the language presented which in turn motivates us to ask all the right questions essential to propelling the story forward. The anecdotal and informal voice of Johnny draws us to his story with ease and peppering the prose with unique word choices and syntax works well to render his voice distinct and credible however the repetition of the phrase “I mind” is overly intrusive. Phrases such as these, (I felt, I saw, I remember, it seems) tend to distance the reader from participating imaginatively in the story and notably in this work, fractures the tension in pivotal moments of the plot, in particular in the passage: I mind taking Bosco into the toilet.... where the character of Bosco is revealed both physically and emotionally before the climactic fiddle playing scene. Reducing the frequency of this phrase will mean the prose is stronger and slicker. The author has skilfully guided the reader’s interpretation of Bosco through a compelling and well-observed selection of detail. This is the story’s strength; the creation of this three dimensional and complex character that the reader is compelled to invest in emotionally. This astute attention to detail extends to the setting and the writer has created a vivid living that serves well to engage all the senses and convinces us that we are surrounded by this fictional universe. The narrative arc is crafted and consistent, building in a structured and suspense-sustaining manner and the shift from the “story” to “real time” marked by the inclusion of Val the bar maid propels the plot forward, apart from the interjection beginning “No, he didn’t show up at all, Val...” where its length causes this traction to waver slightly. This aside, the subject matter, structure and narrative perspective work successfully in producing a tender and insightful short story where all the elements of story-telling have been satisfied"

I can tell you, after years of rejection letters, this sorta stuff is like tuna-flavoured crack to a ghetto cat. Huzzah!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Fatso on the Tube and my broken clownshoes.

I bought a new pair of red Converse yesterday. Yes, I exist in about 2006.

So I'm coming into work, very hungover, and tapping my heels together like some gangrel Dorothy with the booze-fear, and the train starts to fill up. I make myself as small as possible, and try to read my little book.

Eventually, there are too many people and they start to file into the aisle, to make space.

I'm reading away, trying not to think of the word 'vomit' and my right foot suddenly feels crushed, like mangled.

I look up, and there's a big fat woman repeatedly stepping on my shoes, my big fucking clown shoes, and looking the other way. The pristine white rubber toecap is smudged and blackening.

"Could you stop stepping on my foot please?" I ask, as politely as my broken foot will allow.

Fatso snaps "Can you not pull your big feet in?"

I have size 12 (US 13) so it's a fair question, and I struggle not to point out that her hoofs have the same texture, hue, shape and general appearance of two massive hunks of cowflesh, carved off a Creuztfeldt-Jakob'd bovine bloater, so I return,

'They're back as far as they can go, would you watch where you step please?"

She looks like she wants to slap (or eat) me, and her voice shakes as she says,

"Well...can't you FOLD them in at least?"

I laugh and say "I'm not a PENGUIN!", loud enough for everyone to hear, and with enough rage to allow a little raindrop of spittle to land on her fouracre, sweat-drizzled hamface.

Now my new shoes are desecrated, and I smell like the fury of an obese woman. Winning.

I'm moving flat in 2 days, the commute will be better...ins Allah!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm losing track of time..

Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Rules of Writing - Kurt Vonnegut

One of my favourite pasttimes is reading interviews with writers I love, especially when they impart advice rules or advice on the process of writing. Sometimes they can say ridiculousy pretentious and fucktardly things (eg "you have to be true to the child in your soul" etc) but some of the real heavyweights have fascinating insights into their craft.

At the moment I'm trying to write, but find that I'm lacking the motivation to sit with my notebook and beat my head until something comes out. Watching youtube and reading interviews of my favourite writers is really refreshing and I find it helps get you in the right frame of mind to write


I've been a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut since reading 'Cat's Cradle' a few years ago, and he imparted eight rules for writing short fiction:
  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
So there you go, thems the rules.