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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Uncategorized

Nineteen

I’m nineteen years old. Just finished my Leaving Cert (again) and hoping that I’ll be accepted into college next month. Every morning I get up to a few pages of my novel American Gods, followed by a glass of juice and a few episodes of Community. Every afternoon I either spend out with my friends, scaling the heights of an abandoned mental institution, playing football or making a blissful attempt at being a writer. Every day I wake up safe, my only worries the misfortunes of youth and my only fear is dogs (no way I can say that poetically, they scare me… don’t judge…)

Overall though; being 19 is fun. I’m too young for the weights of adulthood and free of the restraints of childhood. I’m luckily threading a fine line which unfortunately I’ll have to cross soon into the unknown waters of girls, college exams and work.

Recently however, I heard a statistic. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bother you with facts and statistics of historical events which will bore us all to tears and leave us with a sour taste in each other’s mouths.

One evening, while driving home with my Dad from a game the song 19 by Paul Hardcastle came on the radio, a song which, I’ll admit shrugged off, until I heard one line in the song.

“The average age of the soldier fighting in the Vietnam War was Nineteen Years Old”

I’m nineteen.

Most of my friends are nineteen.

Down to the great lottery which God plays we all happened to be born into 21st Century Cork City.  I know we complain and all that; how there is nothing to do and how we’ve no money, but imagine if the dice rolled wrong into March 1965? We’d have been thrust head first into the Vietnam War, our lives never to be the same again.

Between the period of 1965 and 1973, the American Army was embroiled in a bitter struggle against the Vietcong over the battlefields of Saigon and South Vietnam. During this period it is estimated that over 600,000 men fought deep in the jungles, with the average of nineteen. Meanwhile, young men who were deemed as intelligent by the American system and in college, were left out of the draft and saved from warfare.

Over in the battlefields of Vietnam, the young men trudged through the jungle, not fighting the trench warfare of days gone by or the tank battles of yesterday, but to take on gruella warriors coming from all angles. In searing heats, they marched through the thick bog land not knowing who their enemies where. Men and women would have been hiding anywhere, to spring upon them at any time, with no one to be trusted. Truces, such as on the festival of Tet in January 1968 where short lived, ushering in a battle of constant tension and danger.

Personally speaking, I can’t imagine crawling upon thorn and thistle, while bullets whizzed through the air and any step could bring death.  But imagine having to kill a person? To decide a person’s faith and being told to carry on that you did the right thing? When we see it in movies it’s grand, we all have sat through the new Batman or James Bond watching the Joker kill another innocent while Batman races to stop him, but we all shrug it off. Imagine seeing a person’s head taken off next to you in a heartbeat? Or even to sleep and shit in the same room with a person for six months then to have them gone in a second?   Following the Vietnam War, it is estimated that half of the Vietnam War soldiers returning, of an average age of nineteen suffered from the medical condition, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” to which the experiences of battle have been burned into their memories. One soldier, named “Roy” described it as, ““You can’t take a 19-year-old brain and subject it to the constant threat of death or injury by rocket fire and expect it not to be affected.”

These soldiers, whenever after six months of heavy combat or the medic in the sidelines, each came home battle scared and worn, with an estimated 100,000 “still fighting the war ten years on“. The problems of Vietnam where tumbled into the seventies and eighties, with many of the veterans suffering from drug addiction, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts which lingered around leaving an almost thirst, with 100,000 having succumbed to these urges by 2015, with other homeless on the streets, and others constantly reliving the war in their only private theatre; forever nineteen.

Imagine having your whole world changed at nineteen? To be forever altered into such a way that you can’t hold down a relationship or even function from day to day? It’s something which scares me, fascinates me and intrigues me all at the same time. Like every other young person out there, I want to travel and experience the world, but not under the conditions of a foreign countries war and problems. I don’t want to kill a person. I want to grow up, get married and get a job.

Unfortunately though, some people are forever destined to be nineteen.

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Uncategorized

The Life and Times of Eleanor Rigby

Eleanor Rigby, she was born she was raised,

A life of tea and waiting to be saved,

Between the pot and the sink,

She was one who never wanted any praise.

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one?

Of course not,

Well, this isn’t any fun.

Summer, autumn, winter, spring,

She was never one to have a fling,

Always alone, never to complain,

Just sitting by, waiting for the phone to ring.

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one?

Of course not,

Well, this isn’t any fun.

Years seem to pass her by,

Mr Perfect, he was never the right guy,

But she never gave up hope,

Eleanor could feel it, her time was coming nigh.

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one?

Of course not,

Well, this isn’t any fun.

A life most basic from start to middle to end,

Hoping that something would break this trend,

Endless nights waiting,

Could she not even have a friend?

Then one day, for all her prayers,

She was found at the end of the stairs,

With not so much of a smile,

But in some far off land, they were walking off as pairs,

Eleanor Rigby had found a friend.

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Uncategorized

The End?

I’m going to tell you a secret. Don’t worry; it’s not going to be some large Earth shocking secret which will shatter the Earth to the core and cause a Crisis on Infinity Earths or lead to a hundred people queued up outside my front door gunning for my head.

I don’t like endings very much. They’re rude and nasty things which plague us in the dead of night and ruin a good cup of tea. Since I was younger; I’ve hated endings. Whenever it was leaving primary school or the ending of my favorite cartoon (Batman: The Animated Series) I always longed for one more, something to go back and capture the taste and feel one last time.. no.. not one last time.. that was too little!! If something was going so well; why end it? If it’s not broken don’t fix it!!

All jokes aside; something about endings always seemed to scare me; as if: NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN. You spend years building and building; the spot on the carpet where you spilled tea when Alonso scored the equalizer in 2005 or where you curled up with your Batman toys trying to ignore the growing pains around you. Then suddenly, one day, they burn the rug in front of you.

I know you’re saying; that’s life, but at the moment there seems to be a lot of endings…

Today; the 13th of May 2015 was my last day as a Repeat in the Cork College of Commerce. When the clock hit four and me and Mairead wondered out of business, something about me to go back into the room, sit down, and go numb. No Leaving Cert, no worries  insecurities or Cork City’s waning title chances, but to take it in, from every fine detail around me. At the start of the year I hated the place. By the time I finished up I didn’t want to go. I’d dug in and settled roots into Morrison Island,  having a routine which I rather enjoyed. Whenever it was Subway with Mallow Girl and talking for hours, bantering with my own Agent of Shield and Jones, or even talking through Translations with Road Girl, I had a system and enjoyed it. Things all seemed to fit into nice little boxes where I knew where everything was.

Even ignoring the College, on Monday fortnight will be probably my strangest goodbye. After 9 years of drama with the Wolfes, I’ll be having my final drama class. At risk of sounding overly sentimental;  I grew up there. When you spend countless hours laboring over Laramie or burning serous on the Bard; letting it go will be hard…

Not only is it the reason I can annoy you daily stutter free; but it also gave me a sense of identity and place to call my own in the social wastelands of Cork City.

I’m also saying goodbye to Cork City FC’s title chances. Yes. This is probably the hardest to swallow.

But, looking back and looking forward (just encase I walk into a poll or something, you know me) I’m still getting up in the morning. There is still breakfast on the table and opportunities will always present themselves. I’ve enjoyed my time in places, but I’m not going to have a big moral to all this; because really? Endings aren’t real. They’re boring. Quoting 7 year old Dylan:

“To Be Continued…”

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