“This is my church
This is where I heal my hurts
It’s in the world I’ve become
Contained in the hum
Between voice and drum
It’s in the change
The poetic justice of cause and effect
Respect, love, compassion”

( Bentovim/Cato/Fraser/Armstrong )

A week of bits and pieces.

Headed up to Dublin on Monday for my second eye-stabbing and my Soulmate felt sorry enough for me afterwards that she accompanied me to the Chester Beatty Library to see the First Fragments exhibition of 3rd and 4th century papyrus pieces of the first gospels. The piece I found most delight in though was a tiny cylinder seal, about an inch tall, which relayed a chaos-combat myth from the Babylonian ‘Epic Of Anzu’, dating from the 9th century.

This story appealed to me for two main reasons. Firstly it involves the theft of a book, the Tablets of Destinies, and I’m already thinking of a story where someone randomly finds it . The tablets were supposed to confer great power on the bearer and contained a legal contract which god derived his power over the Universe from. And secondly my Soulmate has recently started referring to me, lovingly as her “Garbage Loving Chaos Goblin”. Love it !

I have fantastic notions sometimes of writing something that means something to someone…ideally to many, many people , with resulting film rights deals and insisting that it’s filmed in Monaghan. But most days I don’t, and am content to write bits and pieces for myself.

I read somewhere this week that people chase fame, likes, impressions, views, and want bigger and bigger numbers/audiences , but it may mean more if a single person connects, or has their life improved by something that you’ve done/wrote/drawn/sang. I like that. A few hours after coming across that my brother Stephen told me that he’d sent a short story I’d written to a friend of his and that his friend had commented that the story had reminded him of this poem :


Woke up this morning with

a terrific urge to lie in bed all day

and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.

And gave over. Put myself entirely

in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?

Make the same unforgivable mistakes?

Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

– Raymond Carver

I take that as a HUGE compliment , and will buy Colm a pint sometime.

And this evening I saw a post on Twitter about a gig in The Grand Social in Dublin last night where a new band from Cork , Cardinals, finished their set with a cover of an old song ‘I Think I Miss U’ by Whipping Boy , a Virgin Prunes/Velvet Underground-esque Irish band from the late 80’s that were terribly under appreciated at the time.

Paul Page, Whipping Boy’s original guitarist was at the gig and was taken by surprise to hear his 32 year old song being played by this up and coming band. He tweeted :

“  Happened to be there to witness this. Have to admit I got the shivers, a little emotional perhaps. For years I thought we had failed as a band. Dismally. But this means something more than record sales, fame or any of the other bullshit. It means it was worth it.”

Brilliant !

I mentioned before that I’m in a Creative Writing class in Crocus, our local cancer care charity, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

This week Elizabeth, our illustrious leader set us a few challenges which I’ll share. They were prompts to get us started writing something. The prompts are in italics and my efforts follow.

Exercise 1 – 5 minutes writing on :

Describe how a particular colour makes you feel.


The Sky and the water, eternal, gives me hope, promise.

Blue is our home colour, this little blue dot in the heavens when viewed from afar, from the moon.

Blue is life. The birds in the sky, the fish in the sea.

Blue surrounds us.

Even on the darkest days there is a hint of blue, somewhere, up there, so we always have hope.

Exercise 2 – 5 minutes writing on :

 What’s one thing you wished you knew 10 years ago

That everything would be OK.

That the worries that consumed us would not in fact materialize, the Inter Certs would be passed, the junior discos would be survived, hearts would be mended, Leaving Certs would come and go, dark days would be followed by beautiful dawns, and we would be together.

Exercise 3 – 15 minutes writing a story :

A delivery package was left at your front door, but no one expected what was inside the box.”

 The arrival of the package itself was not a surprise. Packages arrived daily at our house from booksellers, sports shops, games companies, and many, many fashion retailers. This package was different. It was on the front step , nestled in among the others, but it bore no Amazon branding, there was no address label, and it was wrapped in old fashioned waxy brown paper, and was tied with string.

                It was picked up and bundled into the kitchen with the others and placed on the island where they were assigned to Eileen, Jake, Robyn, Elliott, or myself. And then it was on it’s own.

“Maybe we should give it back to the postman in the morning ?” Eileen suggested.

“But there’s no stamp on it. We don’t even know which courier delivered it.” I countered.

“OPEN IT !” the others shouted in unison.

“I suppose they’re right.” Eileen agreed, as she unpicked the string. The removal of the paper revealed an old Lyons Tea tin. A very old  and rusted tin.

“Who the hell would send that ?” Jake asked , disappointed.

Eileen opened the tin and took out something wrapped loosely in old yellowing newspaper pages. She placed it on the table and carefully removed the newspaper pages to reveal a rather cheap and cheesy looking ceramic cat, black and white, with a smug grin, and a series of cracks on its belly which had been glued back together.

“No treasure then.” Elliott sighed.

“This newspaper is ancient , it’s dated 1734 !” Jake was more interested in the newspaper wrapping now than the cat.

I picked up the sorry looking cat and tossed it to Robyn saying “Here, you like cats.” But she was also distracted by the old newspaper and looked up too late to catch it and we all watched in slow motion as it bounced off the edge of the table and smashed on the floor.

“Crap !” Robyn said, and then “Wait ! There’s something inside.” She bent down and picked up a tiny leather scroll which she placed on the table and carefully unrolled it. “A map !” she exclaimed.

That’s when our trouble began.

Fragments of my week.



Author: paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *