I’m On Kindle

Posted on June 21, 2013

The good news is that – recently I took the plunge and did a final editing to my most recent stories and uploaded them onto Amazon Kindle for the whole world to see.

The bad news is that – recently I took the plunge and did a final editing to my most recent stories and uploaded them onto Amazon Kindle for the whole world to see.

If you’ll permit me just a tiny little bit of shameless self-promotion…




*I’ve since converted the above books into one and published one more (30/07/13)

**I’ve since turned the two books into three, did a bit more editing, but they’re more or less the same (23/01/14)

*** I’ve since moved my writing from Kindle onto this website so the links above won’t be working (12/03/15)

Yes, of course I am still terrified of bad reviews and not everyone liking me, but in forcing myself to acknowledge that mixed opinion is simply a fact of life, at least now I can say that my writing is finally “out there”.

As for the actual books, the stories themselves, they are a crystallization of ideas which I’ve had bouncing around in my noggin for quite some time, and mostly a simple experimentation of my own writing style; as in, what suits me, and how I “fit in” with everyone else.

Most of all, I wanted to put something out there that is my own creation – but hopefully not quite in the Frankenstein sense, where it goes on a major rampage (unless I wrote something very formidable…). I just wanted to tell a story, or two, or more and see how they do on their own.

A toast – to the not-total-failure of my first attempt at self-publication. Oh and enjoy. If you can!

Culture Vulture

Posted on July 9, 2012

The last thing I want to become – well, not quite the last thing but something I wouldn’t be keen on – is to become a culture snob. Like, the type who thinks that there is an objective standard for the creative arts and that there is no room for argument or challenge, ie., THEY are the elite and you can only hope to be a poor imitation of the values which they pertain to embody.

Yet a sense of culture enhances the sense of standards and values and can be, well, very valuable in being a thoughtful and discerning global citizen. I guess, in a way, this is a somewhat long-winded way of introducing my personal quest to keep my brain alive in the immediate post-graduation stretch of time still lying before me. I’m going for a carpe diem (seize the day) approach, an equivalent of spinning a globe and seeing what country you land on.

Today I went, rather out of my way, to an art gallery in another city for the sole purpose of viewing and appreciating one artist; one Edvard Munch, creator of the iconic painting “The Scream”, amongst many other symbolist and impressionist works which indeed portray a rather wider spectrum of emotion.

I was all set to open my mind to an area of art previously overlooked by myself, but fell almost immediately at the first hurdle. That, alas, was the presence of Other People.

I guess I was hoping, on a late Monday morning, I would have the place pretty much to myself (ignoring the slight embarrassment of knocking around a gallery instead of working on a weekday in the first place…), or at the very least, enough room and space between myself and Other People to be able to mull over this diminutive collection in relative peace.

But I found myself honing the technique of “speed-appreciating” – admiring something quickly, a split-second of reflection then moving swiftly on. Granted this was not my preferred method of art-appreciation, but it was never long before one or more people huddled round a picture so tightly that you are at risk of invading their personal space in order to get a look in. I’m quite miffed that the closest I got to the original copy of “The Scream” was peering over the shoulder of a rather tall person. It was almost enough to make me want to act out the painting…

But the art itself was… eye-opening. It has awakened an interest in Nordic and Scandinavian culture which was already lurking under the surface, but didn’t quite know what to focus on. The work was, for want of a better word, relatable. Works like “The Dance of Life” contrasted with darker images such as “The Lonely Ones”, and other depictions of anxiety and isolation, which Munch in fact experienced much of during his lifetime. The particular employment of strokes and shading gave a personality to each painting, and it definitely made me want to look into it some more. Overall, very brief but quite interesting.

Finally; no I would not like you, upon my buying a ticket, to immediately attempt to “upgrade” me to a family season ticket, given that it’s just me here for the day, and I would to be asked to make a donation to be added onto the ticket priceI do not appreciate the built-in guilt trip this request contains and I will make a donation, but in my own way and in my own time.

It’s almost enough to put me off the whole “culture” thing, which is a shame.


School’s Out. For A While.

Posted on May 19, 2012

The last exam is over and I have now officially finished with university. I thought it would feel quite a lot different  but it’s going to take a while to get rid of the nagging feeling that I should be doing something intellectual all the time. Of course I still want to keep up the “way” of writing but, for once, it will really ease the pressure on me not to have to write for approval and to forever struggle to get a grip on the academia ladder’s next rung.

I had the rather unexpected good fortune, on a night out celebrating my sister’s birthday (and my new freedom), to meet one Peter Mullan, the locally living actor turned director, who took the time to listen with admirable patience to my writing woes, and to give some rather sound advice. One thing I have always allowed to turn me off writing, or anything that I like doing, is the criticism and/or disapproval of other people – being able to reply quite dependably upon rejection can’t really be a good thing – but it’s also the case that life cannot be all about sucking up to said people. I wouldn’t feel too good about myself if I knew that’s the only reason I got to where I might end up someday.

I want to be able to say, at the risk of injecting a risky amount of cheese, “I did it my way”.

I guess it’s come to that point in life when, after all the grinding away at something with more often than not an uncertain outcome, it’s time to put that aside and start doing a bit of living day to day. Or minute to minute even.

That Which Is Forthcoming…

Posted on April 27, 2012

So this is what being a graduate is going to be like…

A whole lotta: applying for all the jobs and positions going, waiting for replies that rarely come, feeling like I should be doing something more productive but, more often than not, not really seeing the point of setting foot outside. Because, it seems, that unless I am seen to be in company, it seems that I am not entirely welcome. Being ignored completely in a cafe – then being asked to shift seats more than once because I was *gasp* A-Lone, and probably wouldn’t mind being squished in between people, the corners of whose newspapers would be close enough to poke me in the face.

The inspiring, but equally depressing, Virginia Woolf novella/essay, “A Room of One’s Own”, inevitably springs to mind; inspiring because it articulately depicts the plight of many in an example of a great literary essay; depressing, not least of all because, although to have a room of one’s own is, historically, a relatively new luxury for many, it seems that even today once you step out the front door everyone wants a piece of you – and maybe it’s just me, but it can get a bit draining. But then you would probably ask why don’t I put this time I do have alone to good use, try and produce something worthwhile maybe..? Well I do try, but at some point one needs a bit of inspiration from a source elsewhere.

Therein lies the dilemma, how to stay sane in a world gradually making less and less sense. Yeah, unless absolutely necessary, for the foreseeable future staying in might be “the way” to go.

Pre- vs. Post- Modern Culture

Posted on April 21, 2012

Oscar Wilde is truly awesome. Why can’t we have more people with the steady flow of wit and sharp observation of contemporary culture today?

I even wrote a poem on the subject as a tribute.


(Inspired during a trip to Dublin)

“An Apology to Mr Wilde”

Greetings Mr Wilde,

I believe you were expecting me

To drop by – or quite the opposite.

I can only say sorry

Things happen (the temptation to indulge my curiosity)

As they do in your town.

Your place of residence is open

To scholars and selected people only.

But I would like to give it a try.

I would rather listen to a word or phrase

Of your devising, than a whole conversation full of plagiarised pop culture

(if that is the right term for the mediocrity which is popular today).

But you were “not in”. Not to a passer-by like me anyway.

But an excuse – a good one, a better one.

I have none. I rarely have the words to say

Which capture the essence of what I really must say

Before the moment also passes by…

I will try again another time certainly.