Saturday, October 20, 2007

Test post

This is a test post to check transferring of the blog has worked.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chapter 3

Shea got ready for the night's drive up and down the T of the town. Another night taking the same route. From the middle of the main road (the horizontal of the T), he would drive straight up to his house, have a cup of tea. Then, back down, he'd turn (down the perpendicular of the T) out to the
building sites: warehouses on one side; further down on the other side, a large housing estate.
From the building sites, where he'd invariably find kids to chase away, he'd head back into the main street and either coax or scare some drunks home. Then he'd do it again. The official capacity was challenged by being on first-name-terms with just about everyone in the town.
Wine gums in the coving of the dash, bottle of Coke beside the gear stick. He was ready to go. "Lock and load" he said to himself as he started the two minute drive home for a cup of tea.
"Well, will you be busy tonight?" his wife asked, placing a bun and mug of tea in front of him.
"Ah. A bit. Kids down at the Beautiful Bog, Jimmy tells me. And some stranger came into town today. Traveller. I want to keep an eye on him. See if any more come."
"Sure what would they want with here?"
"Who knows. Who knows travellers?"
After his tea, he got into the car, popped a wine gum in his mouth and said "Lock and load".
Down at the beautiful bog, voices hushed only by distance confirmed the information from Jimmy.
They were in one of the shells of houses at the end of the estate. The walls were up, but little else. They were sitting in the sitting room; drinking, laughing, using the bathroom in the bathroom. The rooms being only spaces made it all the funnier for the kids. That or the drink.
Shea got out of the car, and walked down to give them a good scare. Flashlight in hand, he got ready to switch it on, and start shouting.
A flash of light from behind lit up the turning heads of the kids in front. A loud boom, followed by the airy whisper-to-roar of a growing fire. He turned, and saw the glowing smoke. He called it in, called for the fire brigade from Oldbog, the nearest town. He ran back to the car and headed for Molloys, where the barn that just exploded was.


He walks into the bar, takes his hat off, opens his paper and says "Pint there, please" to the barman. The barman, looks at him a moment, then steps sideways to pour the pint. Tommy reads his paper.
"You. Fer fuck's sake." Tommy didn't need to look - it was the manboy that he'd put manners on before. For manners, he turned his head. "You're not fuckin' welcome here!"
"Shamey. What's going on?"
"This lad. Bringing Mary into town today. Mary."
"Oh. Well, whatever you're going to do, you won't be doing it in here."
"No need to look at me like that. Order a pint, go back to your seat, or fuck off. There'll be no fighting in here. Or outside."
"Don't think this is the end of this"
"I don't even know what this is." Tommy takes a sip of the pint just placed in front of him and goes back to reading something about a woman whose dog was savaged by a rat, only to be saved by her daughter's cat.
Shamey slaps his hand on the counter, looking at Tommy. The barman says "Shamey." and he walks back to his seat.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chapter 2

The Bastard Boy's Blog

And now, the time has come... face the final curtain.

This is the last post.

Last night, or the night before - I forget which, I haven't slept. It went too far, even though it went no further than usual. My vengence on this town continued apace, but this time, it went too far.

A man died.

I only discovered this morning, or maybe the other night, I can't remember. But even I, disgusted as I am by this town and my existence in it, can see it was too much. Why oh why did this town drive me to it?

I heard about it downstairs. I'm up here. Up here all along. Hiding out, stealing out to start my fires. Wreak a bit of havoc on these people. Not to kill anyone. But that's what happened. And now what?

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, Ill say it clear,
Ill state my case, of which I'm certain.

They'll pin it on the stranger who's been looking after Mary all this time, I know it. Some inside information, you could say.

But walk a path, don't waver, and you'll get to the end. They'll find me.

This God damned town. All I wanted to do was get away. All I tried to do was destroy it. And now it's destroyed me. Well done, Muck. And goodbye.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

bye bye

This duck has died, I'm afraid.
It flew little, it flew long ago.

Read my shorts at:

Or, my growing collection of poetry and short stories at

There is some repetition in the two.

Hope to hear from you over on the shorts site.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006


All go here. I've created a new blog to put up my shorter writing (short stories, writing about life, etc. - see link on the right) so I can keep this blog totally dedicated to the novel I'm not writing.

Also, chapter 1 is to change. There are two ways to do this, so bear with me while I tell you about it.
Why Change?
I quite like chapter 1, however, it's not doing what it's meant to do as a chapter. I think the bones of a good short story are there, but also the bones of a good chapter. But it can't really be both. As it was conceived as a chapter, what it needs to do is drive the story behind the novel. I'm old school like this. While the writing must be good, I think the story needs to shine. In this case, the story isn't shining (and the writing could do with a bit more of a polish).
There are two ways to make the story shine: language/idea and plot.

An example of language/idea: A guy can't get out of bed. His family and boss all stand outside the door telling him to get up. He doesn't. Fairly mundane, except the reason he can't get up is because he turned into a bug overnight. Nice one, Kafka. You're gripped by the opening line; it makes you want to know a) what's happening, and b) what 's going to happen next. Instant compulsion. Also, Beckett can write fantastically about very little indeed. Although it takes me three reads of anything to really "get it", because I'm so busy looking for things that aren't there. Anyway, hopefully you get the idea; so onwards.

Plot: Plot is a more obvious way to make the story shine, and in some ways harder option. More obvious because by adding more action, you keep people hooked. Harder because the action you add has to hook people in the first place. Also, the actions can't just be plucked from the cosmos. You have to ensure that characters' actions make sense , as well as feed the plot (although, personally, I want to write a book of chaos where this rule just doesn't apply). Of course, most Westerns are plot driven, so the clue may be in the question there. But at the same time, a ponder is called for.

Adding ideas/language would flesh out some ideas, maybe try to get a but of humour in there, and try to make the chapter more compulsive of itself. Maybe a bit more dialogue, possibly some limps, blindness or other physical attribute would be added. A dead horse could fall on the roof of the van - who knows? Adding to the plot would speed up the whole thing. Instead of arriving into the town at the end of the chapter, that would happen at the end of the first paragraph, and we could get a bit of a scan of the town as Tommy McDonagh gets into fights, talks, drinks, etc, pushing us right into Chapter 2.

While I ponder this, I'd appreciate any input you may have. Let me know which approach you'd prefer - do you want to get some action going, or would you prefer to take it easy, sit back on the porch and drink a beer. I'm taking a straw poll, so you can mail me a mail (see link on the right), or leave a comment. All contributions welcome.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sketches from Chapter 2 #1

Shea pulled up beside the billboard, graffitied to read "The Beautiful Bog - Holes for the Effluent." It was a new estate, designed for the influx of middle managers with the building of the warehouses on the other side of town (graffitied "Whorehouses to Let - Competitive Rides"). He mumbled "Just going in to the Bog to scare out the kids." A static screech implied assent. He took the torch from the backseat, and walked through the rubbled entrance.

"What do you want?"
"A pint... and is there a B and B around here?"
"Hmmph. Course there is. I don't want any trouble, hear me?"
"You'll get none from me. Unless I can't get a B and B."
"Comedian, eh?"
"No, a philosopher of sorts. Tommy McDonagh's my name." He looked at the hand, glanced at the rising stout, and went on wiping the counter.


When he got back, he saw the locks busted on the shed door. He went round the side to look in a window or something. No joy, so he went back to the big double doors, and carefully pushed them in with his foot. There was a smell and a sound. He walked in, toward the sound, and as it turned out, away from the smell.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm no legal expert, but...

What a week for the law. Up in arms are the opposition politicians, to whom exactly the same bad-PR would have come had they been in power. The meedja are really whipping up a fury. I don't even know the difference between tabloids and broadsheets anymore, excepting that tabloids are easier to carry and read on the train. And, considering tabloids wear on their sleeves the fact that they exist to insense, cajole, threaten and generally use shock tactics and breasts to report the news, they suddenly seem much more honest, somehow.
The considered opinion of respected journalists doesn't seem like much when the Indo runs a Comment on how paedophiles from all over the world will be landing on our shores, because we have joined Thailand, Cambodia and Amsertdam as stops on the International "sex-tourism route". For one thing, "sex tourism" is surely a circuit, which includes a lot of Europe, and areas of the States where prostitution is legal, and pornography is nasty.
For another, surely it's time to stop this dangerous, ill-considered commentary when the P word raises its ugly head. No one likes a peadophile, that's established. But when you provide General Ignorance to a nation at large, mothers get terrorised, peadiatricians get threatened, and innocent people get hurt.
Already on Morning Ireland, the daily round up of trite newsbites, intended to be as digestable as a meusli bar and a smoothie, they are talking about the flow of prisoners from Arbour Hill. Which will surely serve to send the incensed up to Arbour Hill to "find out who the bastards are". Which will lead to tabloids and broadsheets sending up their cameras. Which could lead then to visitors who are male, and between 30 and 60 getting done over for being 'paedos that got off'. With no more proof than the fact that they were seen leaving the prison. This can't be right.
The law is there to protect the innocent as much as it is to prosecute the guilty. In fact, before that, the law is there to be used as a measure of guilt. What happened? How did it happen? Who appears to have done it? Can the answers to all of these questions be linked up reasonably?
Protecting the innocent is possibly how we got here today. I'm no legal expert, but a quick think about the facts of the law and the constitution suggests that Statutory Rape was an easy, and almost painless form of prosecution for those forcing themselves on minors. As there was no defence, there was no need to put a child to the trauma of reliving the experience, there was no media spotlight on parents, actions, etc. Simple. Straightforward. Sorted.
But no. It never could be that easy. I almost remember having a drunken conversation at about the age of 17 or 18 with a man who is now a legal expert. He was telling me then that there was no defence for statutory (which, given the age of consent was 17 for women, was a serious issue for us. Given that we were in a kitchen drinking beer and Jack Daniels at three in the morning would suggest we hadn't much of a chance of getting done for it that night, anyway...).
"Surely that's against the constitution?"
"Yes. Unfortunately, something really nasty is going to happen, and it'll all blow up"
This is the more sober translation of the conversation. There were a few curses, slurs and digressions, but you don't need to know about those.
It seems to me that this has been known about. As much as defense lawyers may be called negligent, and government officials have been called useless (which is unfair, given that the law hasn't been in existence since 1935), I think many people have had a similar conversation to the one above. So why not change it? Well, I forgot about the conversation until this story broke. So, I guess constitutional law isn't high up on the moral meter for many people. But also, wasn't it handy to have a tool that could be so executive? Just admit guilt, and away you go. No long process, no jumping through legal hoops, no media circus, no features analysis...
Essentially, as much as our outrage demands it, there is no pariah here. Or, every single one of us is at fault. This is a democracy, and as much as we hand over power to our governments to manage the country, it would be up to each and every one of us to approach a politician when we had this conversation about the law. This has been on the back burner, what seems to me a handy number to deal with the most devastating of cases without having to resort to the raw emotion of victimhood, or the cruel intention fo the villain. It was a law that opened and shut like a bear trap, taking with it the guilty party. And the guilty party are considered the lowest of the low in our society. Who in the name of Christ is going to untie that knot?
The question is not of blame. It is, of course, what do we do now?