Writing Courses and the Invincible Hero

I am about to start an online writing course with The Big Smoke Writing Factory. I am looking forward to it and to making a start. For years I had wanted to do one and for one reason or another I have never done. Was it down to a snobbish idea that writers are born pen in hand (which would be more agony for the mother) and not taught? It may have been, and if it was, then it was certainly misguided. It isn’t about learning how to write its about sharpening or solidifying the tools that you already have. I think anyone can write poetry or a short story, you just need the idea. And, as is evidenced by the massive gaps between blogs, they are not easy to come by.

Secondly, my wife and I are training to do a Half Marathon in Dublin over the August Bank Holiday. My progress is not as nearly entertaining as hers and you can read her excellent blog here.

Finally, I retuned to reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, in particular, the third one “Tripwire”. Whilst it is an excellently vicious thriller and is engrossing, entertaining and other superlatives, one thing struck me. And a similar thought occurred whilst wading through the massively plagiarised shite that is David Baldacci’s “John Puller” novels (lawyers note: this is my opinion, I am not saying they are plagiarised but if someone was to check the two I am sure someone would be getting a cease and desist letter, at least one would fucking hope so). That is: the hero is invincible, the smartest man (always a man) in the room, irresistible to the ladies etc. In Baldacci he is also impossibly and annoyingly patriotic. Does this serve as wish fulfment for the reader? He (always a man) works in a shitty office and goes out with a girl called Belinda who has a glandular problem, the hero is everything he wanted to be but isn’t. He cannot be killed and will always be a step ahead of the bad guys (again, always a man). Would a story of a normal man thrust into a violent world sell or does he have to be Super Massive Hero Military Cop? Something to ponder.

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Summer Running and The Silence of the Lambs. Half Marathon training week 2 day 4


So the dreaded ‘Saturday’ or long run had arrived. I’m meant to run for 60 minutes but just think “fuck it, might as well do 10K”. The previous week, I had attempted a 10K, I had to stop at 4.87K, and couldn’t go any further, so I headed out yesterday feeling anxious and dreading it.

Again, the elements were against me. This time it wasn’t windy, it was sunny and hot. 14 degrees C or 57.2 degrees F! Now this may be positively cold for some people, but bear in mind; I live in Ireland and I am Ginger and my pallor is one befitting a red head. I am not made for the sun, I like running in the dark, bitter cold, with no wind!

The result…I was slow. I was dragging my arse around our route, and dying of dehydration and what I firmly believed to be; heat…

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An odd day all around

It has, all in all, been an odd week. It started with The Death of Tatcher on Monday. The news, not only confused a transition year student at work but it almost ruined lunch. Shortly afterwards came the inevitable onslaught of bile on Social media. I do not pretend to be an expert on 1980’s British politics as I was seven when she was booted out of power.
Any political awakening for me was during John Major and the Tony Blair era. So any comments I made was more or less on the situation at present. It does seem that the current British Government are reapplying Tatcherism but that is for other, better minds to decipher.
Though not to feel left out I posted a relatively tame/ not overly funny comment on Facebook. Which was the following:

I was going to post a poem I wrote about Tatcher dying. But I deleted it because I am not a wanker. Instead, I am telling you all about it because I am actually a wanker. Hashtag

As I said, not massively funny and I wouldn’t have expected it to be anyway controversial. But people moaned about it and said I was a wanker.
As an aside, I never understood why the phrase “wanker” or “wank” has negative connotations. It’s something universal and a little bit magic.
Anyway this led me imposing a mini Facebook exile on myself. The content annoys me no end but yet it seems too great a step to deactivate the account. That seems too final. Almost like changing your relationship status from “I’ll tell you what’s on my mind” to “utterly disillusioned”. Once it has gone, it is gone. I deleted the app and reinstalled it two or three times but I have decided not to post for a while.

To add to the growing sense of surrealism I discovered that my wedding pictures are going to be published in VIP Magazine. That, for anyone not in Ireland, is a glossy celebrity style magazine in the style of “Hello” or “OK”. They include ordinary people’s wedding photos. I will admit that I knew nothing about this and am delighted for my wife as she looked stunning on the day. Who would have thunk that I would be in a glossy magazine. It is nice to be in print and I hope people like the photos as we are both really happy with them.

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Spoilers on Facebook

I watch a lot of TV. Not an obsessive amount. But it’s on most times I am in the house. A normal amount I would argue.
I am of that generation that still believes in “Event TV”. That’s when you suddenly think; ‘no matter what I have to see this show next week’.
Obviously with Sky Plus and the like it does not really matter if I am in when it’s on as we can record it and then watch it later. It is fucking great that we can do that. Seriously, it’s ace. Much better than taping it. Which was a pain in the arse.
So, with that in mind imagine my anger when someone has watched a show, I also watch, on the Internet before its broadcast and then GIVES THE CUNTING ENDING AWAY!!!

I have no real issue with downloading shit off the Internet. Other than it is going to hit that shows ratings and if they fall too much it will get cancelled and it’s against the law and it is doing people out of a job. That is your choice, download or stream or watch it when it is broadcast with a brew. Whatever.

But don’t go on to Social Networks and give the ending away! Not only is it annoying it is massively inconsiderate to other people. You can get across how great it is by not being a prick. For example:

“Just watched The Walking Dead. What an ending. Jaw meet floor!!”


“OMG TWD was amazeballs”

There. Fucking done. People who have seen it will know what you mean. People yet to see it will not.

It is not that big a deal I admit when you consider sexism and if you’re a bloke and you read too much feminist blogs you’ll grow to hate your penis. It is just something one person will be looking forward to ruined by someone else.

Even if it was a “joke” status (which I doubt) it isn’t particularly funny.
Almost as bad is when someone will watch a TV show and then go to Facebook and complain about it. Like it fucking matters. If it annoys you don’t watch it. If you love it don’t give the fucking ending away.

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It is the weekend and because of St Patrick’s Day it has been a short week. So all the same crap but in a shorter amount of time and since I was off last week more crap. But this weekend I have set myself a target for writing. That is a decent sized blog on here (subject suggestions welcome) and about 2,500 words of prose. I do need to start again. So, fingers crossed.

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A very real concern


I have an odd dream, more like a recurring concern. I know that it’s irrational and, for the most part, improbable but it’s there and it isn’t going away. Kind of like an annoying family member or Blackburn Rovers.
It is that one day I will wake up and be trapped in the mind and body of my cat (above).

I wake up and I am lying in some improbable sleeping position on a pillow. I can see my human self looming, all gangly limbs and massive hands. I stare at myself as I walk about the house. Following myself to the kitchen I jump on to the table, surprising myself with the ease of motion I posses. Probably, I will think later, due to the fact that I only weigh 3 kilos. I sit and watch. I try and tell “me” that I am him and not me but it just comes across as a miaow. I try repeatedly but still as a “miiiiiaaaaooow”.

Slowly the much larger me turns and makes unintelligible noises, walks towards me. Rubs the top of my head, shaking my brain and forcing my eyes closed. It doesn’t hurt but it is really rather annoying. Like, really fucking annoying.
Large hands then approach grab hold of me, I am powerless as I am lifted off my paws and into the air. I protest, but, again it is just a “miaow”. All that runs through my mind is, “I am going to bite you. Not now, but soon you prick”.
He then places me down and walks off somewhere. I am left on the table consumed by hatred and an overwhelming desire to clean my legs.

I wake up as myself, in human form (or as near as I ever am) and the cat is looking at me. Unblinking. She approaches and then bites my arm.

The little shit

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New Pope, Infallibility and Kinsale

An Argentinian has been elected to the Papacy. Apparently, he came second in the last Papal Conclave. He seems like a nice enough bloke, you know, yeah he is going to be against all the things that a man in his 70’s who is a member of a conservative religion is going to be against. Like gay marriage and women’s rights. The last two Popes (John Paul II and Benedict XVI) have been conservative, will Francis be any different? Probably not.

Another issue I have spotted is that of Papal Infallibility – where the Pope speaks directly for God in a kind of “best buddies” deal. This is not the case for every Papal utterance. That would be mental. Every time the Pope wanted eggs it would have to be assumed that it is because God wants eggs and I doubt that a Supreme Being would eat breakfast. It refers to only specific moments when the Pope is talking about an issue of Dogma or “From the Chair”. Of course, it is a moot point as there isn’t a God to speak for. 

I went down to Kinsale this week, it is a little fishing town in Cork. I went to celebrate the wife’s birthday and spent most of it quite pissed. I would recommend that people go, eat at Man Friday and what have you. There you go a review of a whole town in a few paragraphs. 

Fuck Yeah.

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