Art, Life, Short Story, Uncategorized, Writing

Good Vibrations

“Did you ever just not feel it?”

“What?”

“Like, you know sometimes when you’re properly chilled out listening to a record, you feel the music. You get the story of the record like an album, and you can feel your blood pressure rising with the rifts and sink with each acoustic bit?”

“What are you even on about?”

“Music”

“I know that”

“Now do you get me?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about”

“Music”

“Jesus Christ! I’m on about music, the good kind. None of that shit they throw on in the club. But, proper music. Real Music. Music where you feel it”

“Ah I see what you mean”

“Thank you! So, what I was saying was that… well, it’s eh… did you ever hear of The Clash?”

“Yeah?”

“That’s fucking punk! Guys up there beating there chest and rallying the troops for the little man…. really makes you feel man! Goin out there and wanting to change things. Johnny Rotten too in the Pistols going on about that bitch over on her high thrown and the state of the Union and how holidays are like prison; that’s punk! People out there singing about stuff”

“Too bad there all dead”

“Yeah”

“What I’m trying to say is this, and please by all means try and knock me out if you think I’m making this up; but I think we got happy. People got money, fancy cars, went off all over the gaff to places I can’t even pronounce and then got fucked on wine and whiskey. Even people on the dole got good dole. None of the piss poor stuff, you could actually live like. People got to go to school. Nobody went on strike. What was the point in complaining?”

“I’m not being rude. We did mess things up”

“Yeah… let me finish will you? That was when we fucked up. That’s when we completely got screwed over again and saw the high stool was wobbling, and before we could finish our wine we were out on the bar floor too drunk to stand up. By then, people were out on the streets protesting; giving out that the world was unequal and we were all going to go to hell. The world went to sleep and people got so fucked on TV and their smart phones nobody had time to make music anymore”

“Your man Guetta makes tunes. I don’t know what you’re taking about”

“All on a computer! Real music died. People like making stuff that’s easy and as easy to listen to and the idea of playing guitar and singing about the world became boring. For fuck sake people got all emotional and sad so we put people on stage to depress us even more. If you weren’t scraping by for a slice of toast or broken up with you were listening to your misery”

“So what are you trying to say?”

“I forgot myself now”

“Something about punk?”

“Oh yeah. Punk’s dead. End of story”

“Sad”

“Yeah”

“Pint?”

“Alright”

“Can you play music like? Cause your always on about it?”

“Fuck you”

“Can you?”

“I play guitar like. My buddied and I do a few gigs here and there”

“I write”

“Ah cool”

“Want to do a record?”

“On what?”

“I don’t know… The world?”

“Like the whole world?”

“Yeah”

“That’s fairly big. Could we?”

“Could try?”

“Sounds good”

“Let’s try and up to something sure”

“The shootings and the racist people?”

“This thing writes itself bud!”

“Where to else?”

“Starving children… and and and human rights and all the wars over in the Middle East and the whole thing of England and all the immigrants from places they were in”

“Maybe the worlds not as cool as we though”

“Yeah”

“Think we can help it like?”

“We can try?”

“Alright”

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Football, Life, Reach Out, Uncategorized, Writing

On Writing 2.0

As I write this it is 18:37 on the 16th of September 2016, you could be anywhere. Alongside of me; in the Amber lit sitting room turned kitchen, my Nan potters on. The kettle is filled and the television drones on in the background like a far off sirens. 

You could be anywhere. You could be anyone. You could be reading this five years down the line in a cafe in some thriving metropolitan cafe or a sleepy and silent cafe, wondering, “whatever happened to him and his stories” . You could be at home and seeing this on facebook and wondering where is this going. You might be laughing at me, cringing, crying or actually interested. Whatever, where ever you may be: hello. It is nice to talk.

I hope your well. I hope your tea is warm and sweet. I wish you a world of walks through fluttering autumn leaves and reading books in the rain. I wish you all the friends and family in the world to write and text you at every moment, to smother you in support and good wishes and never a fret of tomorrow’s worries. I wish for your time.

Time. You can neither see nor touch. Yet, you are the worlds oldest friends, the most bitter of enemies. Time moves on. Time is never sits still. Time is the girl who got away. Time is the goal that never will be. Time is the punchline you will never get.

This year. I’ve gotten older. But, for once in my life I’m not looking back with a wince but a smile. It has been a good year. A nice year. In 12 months I went from the awkward bumbling City fanatic to the bumbling writer who even once got called “successful”

It has been a year since I made the decision to write part time. A year since John and John took on my work at the Evening Echo as a freelancer. A year of breaking Rob and Brian’s heart week in week out. Another day of pitching and working with the Irish Examiner. 

I don’t know where to go with this. But, in a great grand hall of moments. This was the day, the actual moment where I can say that I became the person I wanted to be. 

I remember being in schooland feeling like a broken Lego block. I couldn’t sport. I could do maths or spell or Irish, I scraped by as someone who was average. Standing out was making a fool out of yourself.

For some reason now I’m a writer and get to dress like a writer and get to sip really pretentious coffees in little coffee houses in back streets and lanes that my mother best not know of. The Express have become family. When you wake up and grow into your shoes it’s scary. 

What’s even more scary is the time. It’s 18:55 now and the news has finished. Words have been written and stories have been told. If you’re still reading; I thank you. To everyone who has read me: thank you. To everyone who called and greeted me: thank you. 

Someday I will write something cool and happy and it will be funny and sweet with little heroes and villains in even littler houses in streets with nothing more than a loaf of bread. Hopefully we will all laugh and shake hands and feel a bit happier going to sleep at night as we tuck it away. Until then they’ll be even more god awful poems and endless match reports.

Time is boring. Let’s stop the clock and tell a story.

Thank you. It has and always will be a pleasure.

Dylan 

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Art, Life, Reach Out, Uncategorized

CIVIL WAR 2: My Mental Health and Me 

In a little tucked away part of the book shop, hidden deep with it’s own brandish title, swashbuckling heroics await. 

While the forefront is the yellowing threads of yet another book shelf, another brick in the wall; what lies behind is deeper. The imaginative spectrum dips and dives and slides through the system, creating a twisted tale of death, destruction and the end of days. Welcome to tomorrow. Universes are dying, our heroes have failed and here I can clamouring away for the next chapter.

Then the heroes win and the world is safe. 

The end, right?

Now that’s it. The end. Everything for nothing. You’ve wasted your time to get back to where you started. Aren’t you a fool for reading the same book again and again, to expect a different outcome? Quite don’t tell anyone you’re still reading!! 

Usually that’s when I leave the book shop and step away from my head.

On fave value; I’m a happy person. Today I past first year college, saw Cork City beat Dundalk and stepped up in my journalistic career. My mother says “I won the treble!” My Nan says “you’re then person you wanted to be!”

In turth, in the bare boned honesty: behind doors and looking in the truth is in the bookshop.

Like comics, it’s another issue another event. I’d give anything to stay busy, stay in projects. Working two jobs. Volunteering with St. John’s. Writing. College. Comics. Football. Never a moment to think to dwell but in the next big thing, keep the momentum going. 

And like the great bust of the comics industry in the 90’s; things fall apart before me. Sitting on thought I realised who I am: an arrogant, ungrateful, stupid, wannabe, pity case; the embodiment of shit. An excuse of a person.

From waking up to feeling nothing and wishing sleep had swallowed you, even the massive highs. Bouts of happy, sad, and the blurred lines between. 

I’d be left hitting walls, wanting to get stuck on myself. I once said that if I stood before myself I’d hit myself over and over. 

Through bouts of self hatred and apologising for existing  I carried myself through college; afraid to talk. Afraid to slip up and be an attention seeker; but to save everyone and to help anyone.

What I’m getting at here, isn’t about tags. One day I snapped and realised I needed help. So I went to my parents, broke down to my best friend about looking over my shoulder, embarrassed and red in the face booked a counselling apoinement.

In a nutshell; there isn’t a massive dramatic diagnosis. There isn’t some big reveal. Words like anxiety where thrown out, but I  was told that I was on the verge of a breakdown and depression after. 

There are no tags. I am Dylan. A 20 year old comic book fan, Cork City fanatic who still thinks asking for the premiership scores is a good chat up line. 

What I’m getting at here, isn’t a big reveal, but when people say mental health; it’s not about tags. It’s not a tattooing Oxford English Dictionary definitions across our foreheads. 

Everyone has to deal with it. By tagging someone you’re taking away any individuality there. If something isn’t right (me not being able to sleep, avoiding food, hitting walls, constantly angry, tearing into myself at the littlest of think, afraid to talk without a G20 summit on what to say) say something. Go reach forward and talk.

No one is alone. No one is ever alone. My sister is in the next room, my parents asleep, my Granddad watching some movie and my Nan counting sheep. We’re a few of many. Everyone has a life a story. Sometimes we meet villains; or own Thanos and we need to team up with others to defeat them before they can their Infinity Gaunlet. 

Never tag or label. We’re all the same, all step in puddles, sample poor pastimes and dine at the wrong tables.

What’s important isn’t polarising each other or strapping on tags; but embracing what we are and talking.

Batman has Alfred. Spider Man has Wolverine. Superman has Martha. 

I may not be making a fool out of myself; but to get one person to talk, or to listen to someone out there, is a victory. Bigger than beating the Skrulls or stopping an inter deminsional incursion.

Sure, what harm?
(Disclaimer: Counselling so far has lifted the weight and helped **slowly** rebuild my sense of self worth and esteem; the right road. Thank you mother father, Emma, Dan, Rob for puttin up with this!!  

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Art, Life, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

The One Hundred Year Prayer

Do you remember the days,
Back when Yeats wrote his great poems and plays,
When big Jim Larkin gave himself a sore throat,
While the poor Shinners only wanted a vote.

Cast yourself back to that Easter Morn,
When the most terrible of beauties was born,
It is here that the lily stood most bright,
As O Connell Street burned, a new fire would take light.

Green white orange gold,
From our bogs and bushes we began to take hold,
Out of this fire and brimstone our country was born,
And in our wee little cottages or country was born.

Buried deep within our own personal reason,
We created our own forms of treason,
With the crown still upon our heads,
We set out to take down the last remaining threads.

From here on in our world grew static,
All the promises and pledges stuck in the attic,
While up in Dublin the flat caps reigned,
With each passing day the lily grew more stained.

Now, the lily was put away to bed,
For we only had our prayers left to be said,
And off we went each day to work,
In our low lie farmland, down amongst the murk.

Cast yourself back to that summer of sixty nine,
When we rioted and revolted in weather so fine,
Yet, on the streets with every coming clash,
Our newfound freedom was gone in a flash,

Where you in amongst the herd,
When we where thrown in cells for reasons so absurd,
Or when the soldiers let their rifles run,
And ruin thirteen innocents of their poor fun

Soon the country was rattled down to its core,
Finally people where forced to deal with what was on their front door,
But for every march and flag we held so high,
Away in the blocks another would soon die.

Where were you when the children wept,
While in some bog land the Gardaí swept,
What was it but another empty bed,
Another name amongst the dead.

Out of the blood and bombs and internal rage,
Would come the suits which would be our eternal cage,
Yet, bombs and bombs kept on falling,
As Downing Street burned and London was calling.

One hundred years have come and past,
This great fire we knew would not last,
Now, stuck down in some long forgotten drain,
The lonely little lily left out in the rain.

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Art, Life, Short Story, Writing

The End

 

All in all, and every fact considered down to the last comma and full stop hanging on for dear life; there are no endings. Wherever you are, whenever you are; people may come and go, relationships may build and break, but in the end of the day our stories live on. Even when we close our eyes, sipping the last remnants of daylight with our weary gaze, our mind drifts to an age of euphoria and good will where our deepest darkest desires run free over hills in a forever Friday in the eternal summer. Sometimes it is here with these endings where we find out who we are, then as we think that we’ve finally reached together and drawn ourselves together over the childish insecurities, a longer road begins of where we go from here. Truth be told, in life there are no motorways just miles and miles of country roads forever leading us to that one town where everyone looks alike, but ignoring the urges to run and find that motor way; we seem to take the town as our own, and here we will build.

In some strange way, in the only way you can on a fixed diet of stale bread, yogurt and dodgy chicken, Jimmy; a nineteen year old Cork man born and bred in the terraced houses of Fair Hill, seemed to find himself in the sprawling urban concrete jungle that is the Irish capital of Dublin. After six months, of up at six and hopping on the battered and bruised bus to Guinness each morning, Jimmy seemed to find the ending he was looking for. A fact which is rather amazing considering that he didn’t know what he was doing there at all in the first place, rather like the population of Dublin and surrounding areas; he imagined, a useless piece of information which oddly made him feel more included in the vast armies of Americans, Asians, English, French, Germans and even the occasional Dub.

Now, after the revelations of a half arsed journey to self-discovery laden with whiskey and the lunch time special from the local chipper; Jimmy was finally happy. Everything was finally where it was supposed to be. For what takes most people the bones of ten years in finishing school, getting a degree and the symphony of hums and haws, it took him a mere six month and with less liver damage to show for it. He had a real busy people job with actual legal thing to do that didn’t make him feel like the Guards were going to round the corner at any time, a flat that when you ignore the faulty lighting and the guys bait from gear next door isn’t an actually bad place, and about as much drama as any nineteen year old male would wish for, minus football. Even his mother and father began speaking to him again and stopped sending death threats over the phone. If that’s not a victory then he didn’t know what was.

All in all; Jimmy was happy.

Until it came to Christmas.

Trapped inside a pub, which in itself was forever imprisoned in a laneway which is better left forgotten about in a side of the City which again was left behind as the centuries dragged on and the millennium dawned, Jimmy sipped at his watered down Guinness and wondered where all the early mornings worth it. Somewhere God was crying. This Guinness was shit. No, the whole pub was shit. The lights where dimmed taking away the last bit of hope of sobriety from its customers, the furniture was wooden and rotting with various initials and death threats etched in for good measure, and the air seemed to taken on a life of its own in the form, so much so that it had now run up a bar tab. Even the music reeked of days gone by. Jimmy loved a bit of Christmas tunes as much as the next guy, even the occasional republican stuff as much as any other young Irish male, but this was a new low. It wasn’t even music but a monotonic everlasting drone which seemed to infect every crook and cranny and rot them down to their very last fibres, creating a mood of pure stillness in the bar.

“You’re from Cork are you?” muttered the trench coat from beside Jimmy.

Startled, and lost for words, “Yes, yeah I am”

“Living up here are yeah or just passin’ through?”

“Living yeah” Jimmy sipped his pint, or well stomached some more of it.

“What part?”

“That way” Jimmy pointed in a random direction somewhere north which he guessed he probably lived in if you wondered around long enough and had enough money for a taxi fare.

“Which way?” the coat lurked closer to Jimmy along the bar.

“Do you know Dailymount?” Jimmy swallowed, “The football pitch?”

“Know it? I used to play there”

“Well no where near there” Jimmy stared down into his pint, “I’m up Northside, don’t ask me where. I know the way home from here and how to get to work, that’s me sorted anyway. Sorry, I’m just getting used to the place”

The coat looked up, revealing a man with trenches dug deep across his face from years of chain smoking, pints and probably a war or two. Yet, amongst the hardened eyes of the inner city alcoholic, Jimmy seemed to see a man crying out for some company, to have his story told.

“Look, I’ve been living in Dublin all my life. Born and raised in Sandyford, I’ve still yet to escape the place after all these years. Think I know this place? Not chance. Until Dublin finds out what it is, then there’s no hope for us” he said and took a mouthful of stout, “You’ll know your way around yeah, who to avoid and who to stay friends with, but apart from that this place will haunt you for the rest of your life”

Jimmy, and his new found friend sat in silence, neither one plotting an exit or escape, but rather enjoying the company on this miserable December night.

“It’s a city of ghosts. Everywhere you look you’re looking behind at something; the famine, the rising, that fucking spire. No one here looks forward and just looks at what they have and sits back and actually tries to enjoy them self. Instead we’ve gotten so into of what it takes to be Irish as opposed to actually being Irish” he paused, gathering his words, “I’m a little drunk I’m sorry”

Jimmy apologized abruptly, not wanting to ruin his newfound friendship.

“What brings you here anyway?”

“To Dublin?”

“Yeah”

“It’s a long story”

“We’ve awhile to last call, might as well. It’s either that or the Premiership and I really don’t fancy debating that shite, especially tonight, besides can’t bait a good story”

Before Jimmy had time to find the most suitable way to tell his story in a way that didn’t make him out to be a dream chasing county boy or an ungrateful city boy who just got bored one Sunday morning before mass, he shot back with, “Why are you so angry?”

Immediately taken aback, the elderly man sipped at his pint. Jimmy swallowed hard, pondering was it too late to run. He wasn’t even the bar an hour and he had already offended someone, a new record. Usually that kind of carry on would wait until he was tucking into his chips on his way home, as; as always does happen on nights out in Ireland, something will be said to someone, which in return will have arms and legs and a whole new spine attached to it, leaving what was originally, “I’d murder a bag of chips” to, “I’d murder your mam and stab your dog” followed by Jimmy pelting it up through a housing estate desperate not to spill his chips and not to have the shit kicked out of him.

Eventually, in what felt like eternity, the elderly man turned to Jimmy and through eyes damaged from years of early mornings, late nights, bitter whiskeys and stale cigarettes, said, “I’m old. I’m tired. I’ve walked these roads here going to work on the ships since I was fourteen. I never got married. All I wanted to do was join the navy and go off and see the world, have a little adventure, fire a gun, you know. Eventually my back went, the Navy wouldn’t even look at me. The ships after a while grew quiet and folded. My mam got sick and died. My brothers and sister all went up to Scotland and America and I got stuck with the flat. I’m seventy now. You say ‘Happy Christmas’ I say ‘have a good day’. Time means nothing to me anymore. You wake up, go to work, come home go for a drink and go to sleep every single day for sixty odd years and what do you have left at the end of it but another year broken and even more coughing and spurting which each passing season. When I see you all out there, buying your presents and holding hands getting all snuggled up with each other and wishing each other a good new year, all I think about is how meaningless it all is”

Jimmy stuck for words looked up to the meek fan above for inspiration. Words didn’t come easy and he sooner nodded and patted his friend on the back.

“My name is Mike by the way”

“Jimmy”

They drank.

“What do you see here?”

“See where?”

“In Ireland?”

“Well my family are here and I’ve a job. I think that’s a good reason to stay”

Mike started laughing, a coarse laugh laden with the coughing and spurting of a rusting tractor, “The real reason”

“That’s it honest to God. I’ve been to England a few times and between you and me, the place wrecks my head. There’s far too much commotion over that one in Buckingham Palace and I’d be paying a load of taxes for no reason in some shitty flat with scumbags for neighbours and the place is way too big to make friends. At least in Ireland we’ll start a bit of a chat and have a bit of a gossip at the weekends, not look at you funny for sneezing” Jimmy took a sip and resumed ranting, “America is too expensive and knowing my luck if I went to Scotland I’ll end up in the wrong side of Glasgow getting knifed on a daily basis while fucking junkies try and rob- wait. That’s Dublin”

The pair laughed and clinked glasses.

“Dublin is a shit hole” he laughed, “It’s a fumbling drunken mixture of politicians running ragged with their briefcases caught up in their knickers while junkies get the good stuff down the side streets as the Asians back in the glow of Ireland and what it takes to be Irish. The Dubs and people lie you then are fucked in the corner and told to serve their bidding to make a living to stay in this God awful City. We spent eighth hundred years trying to get the British out and then in about sixty years we’re back down leasing our land to our own, expect this time it isn’t some all-conquering and all powerful army but rather an economic noose which chokes us into renting and serving them while they get to do our work and be Irish for a week. It’d make one good mind fucking story one of these days”

Jimmy turned, handed the barman a tenner and slid a whiskey across to Mike.

“Happy Christmas”

“What’s this?”

“A little cheer up present”

They drank.

“Better now?”

“Ah I’m an angry old man. I’m sorry about this” he finally broke.

“No, no you’re fine”

“Do you want to know a secret?”

“Okay?”
“I’m going to be dead in six months” Mike looked down, “Happy Christmas to you too”

Jimmy stared upwards hoping for inspiration. As per usual, the magnificently ever twisting and turning and forever moulding and mashing teenage thought process proved futile and he was once again left speechless and nodding in amusement. Did this call for a polite nod and a cheeky smile followed by another round? Or was this one of the special situations his mother talked about where you needed set clothes and couldn’t talk unless you were spoken to? Jimmy decided on the latter and grimly nodded. Somewhere back in Cork his mother smiling.

“You’re one jolly man”

“Thanks”

“No seriously, and this is probably the drink talking, but how long have I known you now? About twenty minutes? But, like, it’s Christmas and here you are telling me how no one is really Irish and that you’ll be dead in six months. What does it make?” Jimmy rattled on, “Like, I could be knocked down walking home or stabbed, I could be dead in five minutes. Christ, when you live in Dublin six months is a lifetime!”

Mike started laughing, again channelling his inner John Deere, “No… no… not like that at all! My chest is bad, been coughing a lot…”

“And the car could finish the job!”

“Are you threatening me?”

“I don’t know how to drive yet?”

“Then how do you get around?”

Jimmy stopped, “Hey, don’t change the topic here, this isn’t about me and my shitty bus rides up and down the country every few weeks, this is about you properly hating the world like”

“I don’t hate the world” Mike croaked.

“Certainly have a difficult way of showing it”

The pair erupted in laughter. Mike doubled over and grabbed at the bar table, much to some of the other more drunken regular’s amusement. Jimmy simply buried his head in the rotting wood. For the first time since his arrival in Dublin, Jimmy was making a friend.

“I love it here, it’s just the people that piss me off”

“Ah we’re not that bad. Without us you wouldn’t have Guinness and stuff to do” Jimmy carried on, “Imagine a world with no people? We’d be bored out of our nut”

“No women”

“Thought you were single?”

Mike winked at Jimmy.

“What about yourself? You’re a young man, you’re making money and the looks. How come there’s no women hanging off you?”

Jimmy’s words spilled, “Eh, well. It’s a long story?”

Mike started laughing, this time the coarse dominated almost machine like laugh seemed to collapse into a feverless show of delight and emotion. Through the battered and bruised rags atop the city centre bar, the once young and bashful young man began to shine through the years of cold winter mornings and weak whiskey.

“It was my first girlfriend and heartbreak”

“Ah” went Mike and laughed, “The vinegar of youth. What happened between ye?”
Jimmy paused gathering his words, “We just met in the wrong order that’s all. She was a bit older with a lot of shit going on, and I was beginning to get my act together. If we met in any other time frame or place things would have actually worked out, well at least better than what happened; all the fighting, arguing, the endless mixed signals and flirting topped off with the constant texting and talking to each other”

“She must have been special to say you moved all the way up to this shithole”

Jimmy laughed, “Yeah… she was. A whirlwind in a blizzard while thunder and lightning reigned supreme. I’ve never been swept away by someone like that, to meet, to click and to get along like that! Before I’d always be this awkward and bumbling kind of fool who’d pretend that he didn’t know nothing about anything to try and be some way attractive. The only girls who ever batted an eyelid only wanted a cheap shift or rebound. This seemed different though, as if two people seemed to just swim into each other’s company. But, things just didn’t work out”

“Is that why you came to Dublin so?”

Jimmy paused, gathered himself up, “That and my job hit the fan. I was planning on taking a year out to work and to build up for my college fees next year, but I was only a few months in the job and it was like I was in deep already. While most of the guys where in their own little offices or stacking the shelves, here was I out in the bins on a lashing Friday evening, a fading thought in my friends heads, and the rain lashing me back down to the tarmac to try and find the locks”

“One day I snapped. I’d lost my friends, a girlfriend, my job, and I just wanted to get away from it. No, I didn’t just decide to quit and walk away, I was way more sensible than that! I planned everything out, learned to cook and clean. Started spending way too much time with a few lads in a flat in town and began to know how the world works; how to pay rent, get a job, you know the usual. Then, over the summer when I should have been heading off to college I got the bus to Dublin and the rest is history”

Mike nodded, “I like it”

“Thank you?”

“No really. You didn’t just stand there and take it, you actually went out there and did something about it”

“Thanks?”

“No really, I’m genuine here and not looking to ball hop with you. Back when I was in your age I was mad to join the navy or army to be off with the guys in Vietnam or Northern Ireland fighting away thinking I was out to save the world. That’s all it was though, a daydream on the docks.  I used to be mad making up these stories in my head of being away in some foreign land, up to my knees in much and trying to fight some army who I knew next to nothing about but they wanted me dead.  I could have done it, but which every night of my head tumbling down through the forests of Saigon, my stomach would twinge and knot. All I was, was a dreamer boy. You actually did something” Mike explained, “They’ll be other girls don’t worry about that. Even myself, a stingley old misery had his share back in the day”

“Do you regret it?”

“Regret it?”

“Not settling down and seeing the world?”

Mike paused, smirked, sampled each of his words carefully and finished his pint.

“Yes”

That was it, an answer set in stone.

Jimmy opened his mouth, yet whatever words and wishes he could conjure up where quickly dissolved in the most awkward of uncomfortable silences. What can you say? What could you say? Everything will be alright? Sure, your day will come? Another drink?

Jimmy paused, “I’m just a coward Mike. All I did was run. I’m no brave man with all the solutions”

Mike crackled and threw his arm around Jimmy, “Maybe we both are so!” as if some sick joke.

As Jimmy clamoured for words, Mike gracefully stood up, steadied himself against the bar, thanked the remaining few and gathered his belongings. Down on the cracked leather stool, Mike clamoured together hoping to God he could say the right thing.

“Mike, before you go…”

“Merry Christmas?”

“That too! But, well…” Jimmy stopped, “I don’t know”

Suddenly Mike erupted into laughter, “Tonight was fun kid. I’m off home to write a few of those stories, maybe someone will like them when the time comes. Keep safe well yeah”

With that, Jimmy himself gathered up his torn and seeping jacket and finished his drink. As the mid-December Dublin air hit him and the alcohol gently warmed him against the wind and rain, Jimmy staggered along. Something tonight was fitting and Christmassy, like that song with the girl and the man in the pub on about junk and your one being a good singer or something like that, expect it’s not Christmas Eve and there’s no girls or anything around at all. In fact, he was alone.

In a city of a million people, where the police and ambulances waged a nightly war of noise upon the inner city traffic and drunken calls and the bubbling whispering of languages and accents mixed and mashed together in between the morning deliveries and night-time sing along, Jimmy was alone.   No one to order and drag him from pillar to post, not a sole to bark and order him around and nothing was there which could bury him any further in his own self-pity.

From here, the world was his to play with. All the loose alleyways and laneways to hide and seek with his own friends, the polls to dance and twirl into his own drunkenness, the windows to entertain and act out his own pantomime of one hundred and one cranky faces, steps to race and challenge himself, and roads to walk and walk until his feet bled and the sun would arise. Dublin looked at Jimmy in the eyes; expect not as a strange entity and long forgotten romance full of mystery and desire, but as an old friend, something which called out. Now wasn’t a time to look back or to creep around the corner at the days which were left bare and awaiting our seal of approval. It was December 23rd.

Everything felt real to Jimmy. He wasn’t back in Cork dreaming of the girl across the road or of some college course which was more focused on the best and brightest as opposed to the little guy down the back who keeps misspelling words and mixing up his sums. Yet, amongst the stumbling and shivering he wasn’t happy. Jimmy wanted more. He had a job, an apartment and an actual life you could say which was reasonable, but he wasn’t happy. This couldn’t be his ending, he pondered, and this couldn’t be his end song. The thoughts and feelings of counting down the days until the calendar faded and it was time to retire into bed with all the crim dramas and chat shows to fill his hearts content, suddenly turned his stomach.

Even the following morning, while pushing cage after cage into a lorry he kept onto the though like a love letter. Over lunch he broke from the typical sandwich and juice diet to walk the streets and discover what was actually here for him. That night while more people where tucking their children away into bed to dreams of Santa’s red sleigh, Jimmy wondered and wondered the streets.

With his eyes ragged, Jimmy tore his ending from the ring bound books which God scripted him too all those years ago and booked his first ticket home in six months. This time, there were no forbidding women or missed opportunities but a whole world back home waiting to be explored and opened. College didn’t matter, first he wanted to see his mother and father, then he was going to take a walk into town and after all the mishaps and adventures of a Cork Christmas, he is going to take whatever money he has and see the world. As if the wave of first love on an unassuming fourteen year old, the world caught alight for him. But, ignoring all his travel plans, the most important business of all needed attending to first.

A Christmas present for his poor mother and father.

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Life, Writing

Random Thoughts…

I genuinely have no idea how to open this blog post. Usually (or at least I try to!) I try and have some shape or form of an introduction which somehow makes it seem that I actually know what I’m taking about and not throwing random words out onto a page and hoping for the best (people tell me it’s good, so I’m not complaining!). For the past couple of weeks though, things have started to speed up. Where once I could have stopped and sampled the little anecdotes of everyday life and the inner goings on across Cork City in various alleyways and suburbs, now everything is almost constantly on the go, days are going by like tablets in water.

Amongst it all though; the changing of the calendars and all the nitty gritty crossing of my t’s and dotting of my I’s, I have to say it is fun. Every day there’s new people and ideas to explore. Everyone has a story to tell or their own different opinions and tastes on the world. Even in my own head; I’m finally starting to creep open the door and get stuck into things (I’M AN ACTUAL WRITER! AND HAVE GOTTEN A CARTOON PUBLSHED! My Nan is very impressed!). Regardless though, one thing is on my mind; in the pace of everything, can you lose who you are?

Okay, stop laughing.

Alright… it’s a little funny.

I’m a nineteen year old college student with a job and in a few weeks I’m going to be watching my boyhood club play in the national stadium; I have no reason to have any questions or queries about anything. Yet, somehow, this one though prevails over it all. Have I lose myself? Am I now trying to be myself too much just because I have to? Don’t worry I’m not going mad or anything. It’s like, these days with everything going on; LECTURERS, TUTORIALS, ASSIGNMENTS, WORK, everything that was once myself has been put to the side. Every morning it’s almost like, “I’ll read the comics later!” knowing full well the stack has been there since June and I somehow have yet to commit myself. Even with sports. At the 2014 FAI Cup semi-final, when I travelled up to Bray with my best friends, I found myself only at 90%, my eyes on the match yet my head 20,000 miles away thinking of what else has to be done, for when and will I be good enough to do it. Even past hobbies are starting to face the blunt of it. Once, I’d have lived and died on a stage, these days I couldn’t recite two lines of Shakespeare even if you asked me, nevermind get up onstage. I’m trying to stay involved in St. Johns, but due to work my hours are suffering.

I think this is what growing up is like, where I start turning into the person that people talk about at dinner parties and when driving home from their child’s match. Still though, against everything and with my Batman comic in my bag on Wednesday and City jersey on, I might as well grin and bear it. Growing up isn’t fun, seeing our own innocence chipped and ebbed away by the sheer pace of life isn’t nice, but there isn’t anything we can do. But deep down beneath the masks we throw upon ourselves every day; the busy bees who dart from one destination to the next, we’ll always be the five year old watching cartoons on a Saturday afternoon. No matter who we are; whenever Doctors, Nurses, Politicians, Accountants, we’ll always laugh every so often and take time to watch some out of this world random cartoon show which anchors us to our innocence. We’ll never shake off who we are, just build upon it; sometimes for the better.

Even myself; at the moment I seem to be getting political, cynical and my jokes even worse. Underneath it all though, I’m itching and dying for a Simpsons reference or the new Batman movie!!

Thanks for reading as always,

Dylan!tumblr_lqqgtlws731qlq731o1_500

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Life, Writing

Growing Up… Growing Down and Everything in Between…

Well four weeks have come and past, freshers week has come and went, and through it all I’ve emerged my bag intact, a stationary supply as weak as water and about as much knowledge of politics and economics as I do on how to speak Hebrew. All things considered; college is fun. I’m waking up each morning and meeting new people, studying subjects I actually enjoy instead of force feeding myself one more geography essay, and I actually (don’t) know where I’m going this year (in trying to find buildings in UCC I successfully located Galifriey, the Chamber of Secrets, a rather peculiar wardrobe and Wonderland).

Meanwhile, when I’m not inside the Booles frantic for that one last slide on something long and psychological (which I won’t begin to spell as my dyslexia will have a field day) or staring into space in the students centre in the morning pontificating the inner most meanings of my tea cup  (COULD be talking to girls. But it turns out that, “Any milk?” isn’t a chat up line much to my best efforts), I’m stacking shelves in Tesco in my first proper part time job.

On paper: I’ve a job and I’m in college doing a REAL degree with REAL career prospects and a REAL job that’s not me at my keyboard thinking I’m Stephen King. I’ve been in college a month and already I feel old, which raises a question which I’ve thought about since I was 10… HAVE I GROWN UP?

Back when I was 12, there was something about growing up which seemed to freak me out and confine me to my bedroom up until about six months ago. For years instead of going out and actually living and going out there and exploring the world I spent my days trapped inside the cosy panels of the new issues of Spider Man and Batman. While most of my friends were out talking to girls and testing the boundaries; there was me at home with 100 or so issues of Avengers trying to figure out the best continuity for them and a way that would make most sense for reading. I also wore black, listened to bands named Slipknot and seemed to have some problem with society and life which eludes me to this day. Looking back I can’t help by cringe at my vain attempts at protecting my innocence and handcuffing myself to a ghost.

Even when I repeated last year and spent a year in the College of Commerce; the trudge to nineteen began. By trudge; I mean it was a one legged man limping through a quagmire blindfolded. Throughout the year I began basic traits of nineteen; what not to say to girls (turns out making constant Liverpool jokes and expressing your disdain towards Dundalk FC isn’t the best way to open up), what guys to for fun (pints, pool and random road trips to Fermoy!) and also how to do a good leaving cert*.

In college now; it’s not that scary. With every new goal I get (job, college, writing stints) new challenges and responsibilities prevail over and sense of complacency and each day I’ve to fight that little bit harder and harder to keep up with the pace.

If life is a race, then I’m getting fit and joining in. No point in strolling in behind, you’ll only miss out. Give me a few more weeks and I could be doing a few marathons even.

Now… if you don’t mind, I’ve a small bit of training to do there. Thanks again as always,

Dylan.

PS: Always hold onto who you are. Don’t cover up what you are with masks and false promise. In between everything sure; you’ll still see me in my Spider Man tee shirts, watching Doctor Who and listening to metal. I’m not trying to change who I am, but adapt to the pace.

*Little bits in moderation, do what you can, don’t over stress and take public holidays seriously and not say you’re going to study and end up stumbling in the door at midnight after supposable two pints.

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