Snow in Ireland

It snows here, a lot.

It never snows in Ireland. Well, sometimes it snows, and now, but under normal conditions it does not snow in Ireland. I’ve lived here for over a decade. I’ve seen snow fall a few times, and I’ve seen it stay on the ground once.

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Sure, it probably snows more often in other parts of Ireland, further up north, or at higher altitudes, but it does not snow where I live, in Cork, on the south coast.

Except now.

It’s coming down in sheets and droves.

The schools are closed for the rest of the week. Shops are closed. Offices too – including mine. I lived in Sweden for nearly 30 years, and I never got sent home from work or school due to bad weather, but now it happened.

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Yesterday we had the lovely fluffy kind of snowfall. Big flakes that cam drifting down slowly, or danced around on the wind. Today, it’s a different kind of snowfall. Small flakes whipped around by the wind and getting in your eyes.

It’s not as pretty or as pleasant to be out in, but it’s still snowfall, and it’s still mesmerising to watch.

As a kid, I always used to go out and go for a walk the evening the first snow came. For some reason, the first snow always came in the evening. It probably didn’t, but it’s how I remember it, so let’s go with that. There’s something magical about millions of snowflakes the size of your thumb drifting down towards you from the darkness above.

2018-02-28 21.01.20I loved standing under a street light looking up. It was kind of the same last night when I walked around looking at it. Tonight it’s not the same.

What’s happening outside the window is lovely and beautiful, but it’s also wrong. It will probably cost a fortune in damages and delays and whatnot, and in a few days it will all be gone. It’s just a single freak storm.

The snow will melt, the river will flood (yes, there’s a flood warning too), and things will go back to what they were a week ago. It’s weird.

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Snow in Ireland


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I just saw an ad for a panel discussion to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. This reminded me that International Women’s day is coming up (March 8th), and this in turn reminded me of something I’ve been made aware of in recent years:

In some countries, International Women’s Day is celebrated by giving flowers to women.

To me this seems weird. It’s not what I grew up to understand that the day was about. It’s about celebrating the achievements of women, and about the struggle for gender equality. For me, it was never about men showing their appreciation for women.

Then again, that’s me, and apparently there are plenty of others who feel different.

I wrote a little bit more about it a few years back (here), and then again last year when I made an art project out of it (here).


Essentially, I too wanted to give flowers to the women around me, but it felt wrong to do it on International Women’s day. I would also need a whole lot of flowers, which I didn’t have, and which I couldn’t quite afford buying.

Instead, I waited until the day after (March 9th), and then I drew flowers for everyone. Simple basic flowers. Pen on paper. Nothing fancy. For each flower I drew I wrote a small dedication, took a photo of the drawing with my phone, and sent the photo to the friend I’d drawn the flower for.

I don’t remember how many I did, but I know there were a lot of them, and most of my friends seemed very happy about it.

I’m going to try to do the same thing this year, and I’m going to try and encourage others to do the same. Also, this isn’t really about women – it’s about showing some appreciations for your friends.


It’s Begun

Yesterday was my last day at work for quite a while. I’m taking an extended leave to focus on my writing. Twelve weeks. Starting today.2017-10-01 12.18.33

It’s scary. I’m nervous.

Actually, I’m feeling kind of fine right now, but if I sit around and think about it for too long I get anxious and nervous and worried. I’ll try not to do that and instead get on with the writing.

I’ve got a pretty good plan and I believe I can stick with it. I’ll strive to beat it, but it won’t be by much. Write the first three novellas in my series, and publish an older one that’s already written – that’s the plan.

Originally I’d planned on starting to publish the series as well, but then someone pointed out that Christmas is coming up. Supposedly, launching as a new and unknown author during that period is difficult and expensive. I don’t recall the exact details, but it made sense at the time, so I’ve decided to put publishing off until January.

This gives me more time to write, which can only be a good thing, right?

To celebrate my last day at work I went to an arts/poetry event/party last night. I’d written some words of my own for the open mic part of the event and that’s what’s in the picture here in this post. I tried to sum up what I’m feeling and how nervous I am about this whole thing.

Hopefully it’ll be fine. First though, breakfast.

It’s Begun

A New Space

I spend a lot of time in pubs and cafes writing, but sometimes I write at home. My ambition (one of them), is to try and spend a little bit more of my writing time at home. To that end, I finally got around to setting up a new writing spot.

Here’s how it used to look:

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Mixer, turntables, CDJs. Great fun to have and to play around with, but I haven’t actually used them for anything but collecting dust for several years.

And this is what it’s like now:

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A very visible reminder that I should be doing more writing.

I do need to get myself a proper chair or I’ll ruin my back and that’s not so cool. I like my back and I plan to keep using it for a while yet. For now though, this will do, and hopefully it’ll have the desired effect.

I just need to clean away all the junk that sat under the desk so I’ve got somewhere to stretch out my legs.

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The sun setting behind an empty whiskey bottle and a lego bulldozer.
A New Space

Me, On A Stage

Today, for the first time ever, I stood in front of an audience and read a poem I’d written. It was also the first poem I’d written.

And by “first poem I’d written” I mean the first one I’d written on my own initiative, for myself, with the intention of trying to say something. I’ve written poetry in the past, back in school, and once or twice for a song-book while at uni, but not like this.

This was, for want of a better expression, for real.

It was really good fun. I’d do it again. I was nervous as a really nervous thing, and afterwards I had to sit down, take a few deep breaths, and drink real deep from my pint – and even then it took me a while to calm down.

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I’ve thought about poetry for quite some time. Thought it’d be fun to try. Thought I’d enjoy it. But until now I’ve not done more than thought about it. I did that book, and it’s in the poetry category, but it’s not quite the same. It doesn’t work off the page. The small black words and the big white paper is a part of the experience. It doesn’t work when read out loud – other than as a series of silly puns.

This was different.

This was me standing in front of a group of people, most of whom I’ve never met before, and reading a poem I’d written. I really really enjoyed it.

And what about the poem?

I didn’t have much time, and I didn’t quite know what to do, so it’s a poem about me standing in front of an audience and being nervous about it – which is what it was. It worked really well, but I don’t think I can ever do this one again.

I’ll write another one for next time. I’m so looking forward to there being a next time.

Me, On A Stage

Room For Misinterpretation

I’m a little bit nervous.

For a few years I’ve been part of the article team on Mythic Scribes. It’s been good fun and I’ve learned a whole lot writing for the site. At first I was a bit nervous about people not liking what I wrote, or that they’d think it was stupid, or that I’d turn out to be wrong about something. That’s probably natural, and with time I got over it.

This time it’s different.

Previously, I’ve been writing articles about how I believe things work, and about how I do things when it comes to writing. It’s been quite factual, even if at a basic level. What I’m doing this time is much more personal. I’m writing about myself, and my goals and ambitions as a writer.

EDIT: The article in question is now live here.

When the topic comes up on the forums it always causes a bit of discussion – sometimes heated. The reasons people write are probably as many as there are writers, just as the way they do it. That doesn’t prevent people from having opinions about what ought to motivate others, and what oughtn’t.

It’s the art thing.

Why do you make art? What’s your reason? Who do you make art for? What do you want to say?

My concern with this article, and what I’m nervous about is that it’ll set off a discussion along those lines. Someone’s going to get the notion that my priority is to sell books, or that I think I’m not good enough, or that I should just follow my heart and write any way I damn well please.

So, to set things straight…

  1. My priority isn’t to sell books. My priority is to learn to write stories that people will enjoy reading. This goes hand in hand with a desire to sell books, but it’s not the same thing.
  2. I don’t think that I’m not good enough. I think that I’m not as good as I could be if I knew what I was doing.
  3. I am following my heart. This is what I want to do, and that is why I’m doing it.

That’s it really. I don’t feel like I’m flailing about blindly grasping at straws. I feel like I’ve set out to do something that I want to do, and like I understand the consequences and implications. I have a goal, I want to reach it, and I will.

And, well, that’s really all there is to it.

…it’ll probably take a lot longer than I want to though, but that’s another story.



Room For Misinterpretation

I’m back: 14 irrelevant things that happened since last

It’s been a while since last. A month, probably more. Not quite too, I don’t think.

I’ve been thinking for a long time I should write a post and share something of what I’m doing. There are plenty of things going on, and there’s no lack of things to write about. I just haven’t gotten around to it. No excuses. It just hasn’t happened.

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No blogging, only coffee.

So, to try and get back into the swing of things, here’s a short list of things I’ve done since last I wrote anything – which was back when me and J returned from our walk along the Thames.


  1. I’ve had a lot of coffee. Not so much beer, but don’t worry, I’m fine.
  2. My dad visited and taught me how to temper chocolate.

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    The ganache is the best part.
  3. I stupidly hurt my arm during a workout, but I’m slowly recovering.
  4. I decided that the massive novel I was planning to write would be better off as a series of short stories or novellas.
  5. I’ve started on a new mix-set in the Magical Mixtape series.
  6. I’ve released three other mix-sets, two of them for running.
  7. I’ve gotten back into running again and I’m really happy about it.
  8. I found a real nice little cafe up near where my friend M lives. The coffee’s not particularly exciting, but the view is amazing.

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    Told you the view is nice.
  9. I went to Dublin to collect my dad’s iPad that he forgot there at his last visit a year ago.
  10. I’m trying to get into the habit of doing a little more cooking of my own. It’s sort of working out in a vaguely positive fashion.
  11. I changed shift at work and I’m with a new time working different days and slightly different hours.
  12. I bought an aeropress and can now make my own fancy coffee.
  13. I figured out the GoPro camera is still working and I’m shooting time lapse movies of clouds again.


I’m back: 14 irrelevant things that happened since last

I Ran

It’s been long since I ran a proper distance. Over the last year I’ve ran only a handful of times and only about 3-5 kilometers at a time. Not far, not fast, not often.

Today, that changed.

I haven’t written much lately, but I’ve started to get into shape, and I do quite a bit of working out, trying to drop a little bit of weight. It’s going pretty well. Some of the guys at work are in on it too, and we’re pushing each other to keep at it. I’m getting stronger and I can feel it.

It makes me happy. I feel good about myself.

The last time I ran a longer distance was still working evening shift and I could go for 14 kilometer jog at 1 am after work. It’s over a year and a half ago. I’ve felt the urge for a while now. I’ve been wanting to run, and today I finally got around to it.

The plan was originally to do a workout with some friends at the gym at the office, but I forgot to pack my clothes and I really didn’t feel like working out in my underwear, so I skipped it.

Instead, I went home, found my clothes and went for a jog. Just over ten kilometers. Just under 60 minutes. It’s nowhere near as fast as I want it to be, but I did it, and I’m not dead.

I’m glad I didn’t go for the 14k run as I’d originally planned – the one I used to run at nights back when I was working late. I think I’d have pulled it off, but I’m not sure how well I’d been afterwards.

Now, I’m fine. I’ll be in pain tomorrow I’m sure, but I’ll get over it. Most of all I’m happy I did it, and I’m happy to do it again. I’ll probably leave it for a bit later in the year though, it’s still too bright out at this hour. I like running in the dark better.

I Ran

Silent for so long

I feel like I haven’t written here in ages. When I check, I see it’s been over a month.

Too long.

Things have been slow lately. My story has stalled and I barely write on it at the moment. I’m nearing the end, and the way it’s going I’m just not feeling it anymore. I also don’t have the peace of mind to sit down and dig into it properly. There are other things going on that needs my attention.

I’m doing a lot of writing for my Burning Man camp. Every year, I send out a series of mail to the entire group to get them in the mood for what’s to come and to explain to the newbies (virgins) what they need to know to survive the event.

Last year, and the year before that, I just copied the mails from the previous year. It gets the job done, but it’s no fun for the old-timers to read, and it makes me feel like I’m cheating.

This time around I’m re-writing all of the mails from scratch. It’s going pretty well. I’ve cheated once because I had visitors and re-ran one of last year’s mail, but for the other ones I’ve reworked the texts completely. It feels good.

Unfortunately, it takes my attention away from my story writing.

So not only am I losing faith in my story, I’m also distracted by other things. Perhaps that’s good? Perhaps it means that once I’m done with the mails and with Burning Man I can go back to focusing on my own imaginary world? I hope so.

That’s not everything though.

I also have another project going. It’s a secret. I’m really excited about it, but it’s still a secret. It’s taken a lot of creative energy, and it’s surely contributed to not getting any writing done on my story.

Other than that, I’ve gotten a bit more serious about my health and fitness, and I’m working out a bit more, and trying to eat more reasonable. I’m not doing a diet, but I’m cutting down on snacks and junk food. It’s working out pretty well for me.

That’s about it for now.

Silent for so long

Vacation in the Land of Forests

I’ve been on vacation in Sweden for about a week now. I’m flying back to Ireland later this afternoon. It’s been good, but it’s gotten to the point where I’m looking forward to going home.

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Elves dancing over a field in Lerum, Sweden.

I met up with my mother and father, and I met most of the friends that matter.

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Lerum, Sweden

Ireland is great and all, but the forests around where I live leave a lot to be desired. They’re just not the same as the ones back home. Fortunately, I had some great opportunities to get out and about and wander among the trees.

I’ve probably mentioned it in the past, but it bears repeating: I’m a forest person. There’s something special about walking among the trees that I don’t quite get anywhere else.

The hills back in Ireland provide stunning views and magnificent scenery. There’s a grander scale to the landscape when you can see so much further.

Often, in a forest you don’t get that in the same way. You usually don’t see that far, but there’s still a sense of greatness. Now and then you can climb a hill and be able to look out over a forest that stretches towards the horizon. You get a glimpse of how large the forest can be and for a moment you get a sense of perspective.

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Måröds Lyseberg, Hjärtum, Sweden

The forest isn’t visible, but you know it’s there, you just can’t see it for all the trees. You get a view of what’s near you, and you get a feel for the rest of it through glimpses and imagination.

I think that this may be a hint to why I like it so much. It tickles my imagination in just the right way. It gets my thoughts running and the ideas flowing.

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Gipenäs, Hjärtum, Sweden

The forest also makes me feel safe and comfortable in a way I rarely do in other places. It’s probably related to how I’ve spent so much time there. I grew up right next to a forest, and my family was very active in the sport of orienteering. We traveled all over Sweden to take part in competitions and events, and I’ve seen most of what the country has to offer as far as forests go.

By far, my favourite kind is the one showing here in these pictures, where pines and firs stand tall and straight, and where the land buckles and twists into hills and ravines.

It’s been great, but it’ll be good to get home again too.


Vacation in the Land of Forests