Sometimes there is no guarantee that you can make a life’s work out of doing what you love.

Sometimes in spite of good intentions the time you need to keep the momentum going that is needed for being a serious novelist just won’t be there.

Sometimes the money or programme or encouragement to be able to put that time aside won’t materialise.

Or sometimes it will materialise for others and not for you and sometimes their work will be deserving and sometimes it won’t. And that can be as much luck and timing as anything else.

Though sometimes it won’t be just luck and timing. Sometimes it will be social nous, cunning, charisma and plenty of other things that are not related to writing but seem to help push their work up the greasy pole.

Sometimes you will fight for your work in an environment where people fight dirty. And sometimes you will rest and fight another day.

And sometimes you will be given an unexpected gift of time and fill it up with work. And hope that the work you have given at the end of this time is enough, because you are not going to get that gift again. That is where I am right now.

Sometimes a crazy piece of luck might help turn things around. The right person loves your first novel. Or something in your synopsis inflames the imagination of an international person who might help you. Just something, one thing, sometimes, might lift you out of the cycle. Take the endless striving off your shoulders. That is not where I am right now.

Or sometimes, you might walk away replete with the knowledge that at least you have done your utmost.

Sometimes, it is hard to know what will happen.


Easter – Return to Social Media

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Part of the South Leinster Way going through Inistioge

Forty Days in the Desert

From Ash Wednesday to today, I chose to abstain from social media to mark Lent. (With a four-day interruption caused by the Arch-Tempter Himself, Mr Amazon) This was because I wanted to live more meaningfully and in the moment. I wanted to force myself to live an undocumented life and be less reactive on places like twitter. It was also an attempt to return to the spiritual framework that had informed much of my childhood. I also threw over Goodreads, as there is an addictive quality to that site as well, as well as taking twitter off my phone.

Continue reading “Easter – Return to Social Media”

Easter – Return to Social Media

Morning, Excellent and Fair

Clontarf - Copy
Clontarf, Dublin, 10am Sat 9 January 2016

Happy New Year to everyone.

These past few months there’s been a quiet revolution going on in my head. I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic a little while ago (a wonderful, kind, positive book for writers and artists) and one passage resonated with me. She mentioned a botanist saying that many people were saddened at the degradation of the planet at man’s hands, yet had little to no relationship with nature at all. This was brought home to me when I was talking to somebody and despaired about the damage we were doing to our stripped, exhausted Earth and its non-human inhabitants. In response to my despair, that evening they gave me a plant, a small, unremarkable winter cherry picked up in a petrol station on the way home from work. I should take a picture for readers of this blog, but it is too dark at present. I can tell you that the shrub’s berries are fine and orange (and poisonous) while its leaves are a bit subdued, some dying off. I might repot it soon. But it’s still hanging on in there in the window in bright southern light.

For me, that plant is hope. A tiny bit of hope in humanity and in nature.

Continue reading “Morning, Excellent and Fair”

Morning, Excellent and Fair

My Yoke Is Easy, And My Burden Is Light


Autumn in the Dublin Mountains

I’ve been blogging less of late, largely because my mental health levels have dropped steeply. I am not in the best of places right now. The being an author thing – it’s heavy. A lot of Stuff.

“My yoke is easy,” says the Gospel of Matthew, “and My burden is light.” I don’t feel that way. I feel like Atlas. I am so tired of it all. Continue reading “My Yoke Is Easy, And My Burden Is Light”

My Yoke Is Easy, And My Burden Is Light

A Cracking Review – And Why I Took Some Time off Twitter

taking a break

I’ve been off twitter a few weeks. It was having a not-great effect on my mental health. It’s not people I chat to, you are all wonderful and I miss you! But there are certain things that will always trigger me when discussed. That isn’t all my fault – much of it, I angrily maintain, is Ireland’s – and as Jefferson said, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. But I go through my life unmedicated – that is not a boast, by the way, and I do NOT deserve any medals for it – and honestly, sometimes it shows, particularly in winter.

I don’t want anti-depressants, useful as they doubtless are. What I really want is light, bright natural light, more and more of it. I want to personally nick the sun and put it in my office and then bring it home with me on a dog’s lead made out of some substance that wouldn’t shrivel and melt at the thousands of degrees Celsius my new travelling companion would possess.

Can you tell I’m writing sci-fi right now? 🙂 I’m almost finished a first draft of a story I should have been working a long time ago. It’s looking quite robust, I’m pleased to say.

Another thing I discovered about Twitter – it can mask writing issues. You can castigate yourself for tweeting too much, not realising that once you’ve removed twitter from the equation, you still aren’t writing anything. Because you’re stuck and are losing motivation and it’s VERY VERY DARK ALL THE TIME.

Here’s a piece of light in a newspaper column – a review of White Feathers by Sile McArdle in the Sunday Independent. It’s a cracker 🙂

And here’s a brief audio interview of me by the lovely Brenda Drumm of Artyfacts, Kildare FM.

And my workshop for Carousel Creates is on Saturday, I think it’s nearly full now, yes? I’m talking about the short story and we’ll be having writing fun in beautiful surrounding up t’mountains – kinda good that I’m writing a short story too, to refresh my brain 🙂

And I’ll be back very soon, probably in a week or so, with more news to announce. But for now, am consolidating. And looking for more light!

A Cracking Review – And Why I Took Some Time off Twitter