Making the snow come…

Making the snow come…

I sometimes feel like fresh snow watching the rain fall.  Happiness like fresh snow can be a thing of such incredible purity and beauty, but even a soft fall of rain can decimate it and as though it were never there, it is gone.  And so I must wait for snow again or perhaps the spring carpet of colour will warm my heart again.

My melancholia is my companion and has been throughout my life.  That I am happy is beyond doubt, but my burdensome friend never strays far from my side. The absolute battle to keep him at bay is far more titanic than even those who truly know me could ever understand. Perhaps that is why I pour so much of him into my books.  I want to exorcise my companion and relieve some of that weight. Yesterday I heard such sad news that it overwhelmed me and I took my sadness for a walk.

I walked with him into danger last night.  I took him with me to a place I knew was unsafe and exchanged him for anger, hoping, desirous in truth of confrontation with some wayward creature of the darkness. I thought perhaps my new friend anger could be my escape from sadness but nothing happened.  I met no unworthy foe. I was foolish and as I walked, anger got bored. We were never good bedfellows anyway and I realised that I had no use for such a stupid friend.  In truth I knew it when he jostled his way into my thoughts.

But there waiting for me, the moment anger had gone, was melancholy once again.  He was sitting on a stone pillar kicking his legs as I approached, head bowed, a little shadow boy who immediately fell into step with me.  My old companion took my hand a led me down the darkest of paths until I finally found sleep. I awoke this morning at precisely 5.35, my very own witching hour.

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That time has some as yet to be revealed, hidden meaning for me. It was at that time, that my other dark shadow man first made himself known to me when I lay in my hospital bed and I knew he was a demon of portent.  I looked for him in the near total darkness of my room this morning. He was not peering in my window nor slithering across the ceiling as he had done before. Perhaps he wasn’t there, my shadow man, my Mr. Squiggles.  I knew that naming him had not made him go away after all.

I looked to my right and there he was, right there by my bedside. He moved a little but only enough to chill my soul and it was my soul that he stared into.  He has no eyes my Mr. Squiggles but he can see into me and I could feel the ice of his stare. There was malice in his presence I knew that much and I closed my eyes hoping he might leave me. He held his ground, searching my soul until he found what he was looking for and I felt his piercing, long-nailed fingertip, clawing at the places I needed to preserve from the likes of such a creature.

I opened my eyes and stared at him and his featureless shadowy face smiled before he scuttled away beneath the curtains.  I watched his shape wiggle beneath them and then he was gone. Such was my morning and such is my day now.

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I have to wait for my snow to fall. I know it will come but I need it soon. Until then I must wear my mask and imagine I am someone other than the man who holds the hand of sadness.  There is a new year on the way and I know it will be as this one but that is ok, for I am such a contradiction in my happy place poking back the sorrow that, I know tomorrow will come just as surely as today.

I have tales to tell and tell them I will.  In their telling will come respite, for my wounded bleeding soul will stain the pages and bring relief. Sometimes I am so aware of the sense of me, my own essence and sometimes I am a little boy lost. I am reminded of my favourite opening from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:

It wearies me; you say it wearies you;

But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,

What stuff ‘tis made of, whereof it is born,

I am to learn;

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,

That I have much ado to know myself

Let the festivities begin for I desire the light. Draw back the curtains, show me the sun, give me mirth and merriment and I will be the heartbeat of the celebration.  So many people let their sad companion lead them and darken the path ahead.  It is not my way.  I see his hand and take it but then I let him go.  He still follows me, watching from the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to take my hand and lead me astray but that will always be so for I think he joins me for a reason.  Maybe he likes my company who knows.

I don’t make new year resolutions for they symbolise regret and desire for me.  Some say, regret nothing; I’m not sure if that’s good advice.  As for desire, it must be your servant not your master.  That being said I have my goals but they are not restricted by a calendar. Tomorrow is my new day, my next step in life.  I will awaken to the light and find the good where I can.  I will give of my heart and love as love is all important.  I will hide my darkness and keep it for my writing and I will share my joy as only I can.

What will make the New Year special?  I will make someone smile and I will smile too. I will have my heart warmed and I will warm hearts in return.  I will give and try not to take so much and I will be the best I can be. No resolutions no regrets only desires that I master, things I will do.  Happy New Year and if you still haven’t understood where my bleeding soul ends up, make a resolution to read one of my books in 2017…

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

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Or   why not read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

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Sniffin’ chocolate boxes…

Sniffin’ chocolate boxes…

If you get to my stage in life, the chances are that not every Christmas was filled with delight and wonder. Statistically at least, it’s likely you will have suffered bereavement, been financially disenfranchised , struggled with a relationship breakdown,  drank too much and made an arse of yourself to the level of mortification in the embarrassment stakes, spent time in hospital, been generally sick or had some form of hitherto unmentioned catastrophe or disaster befall you. That being said, it’s also likely that you have made many happy memories along the way.

I know every culture is different and we all have our own traditions and ways, but in an odd way Christmas seems to set a focus on things that no other time of the year does.  I come from an era where it was very much a time of religious festival.  As a child, part of Christmas day meant going to mass.  We had hymns, the baby Jesus in the crib and all the tales of the nativity were very much to the fore. It was a far less commercial time although we still had Santa or Santy as we used to call him.  I cried my little eyes out when I realised there was no Santy. My wonderful mother let it slip by accident and it broke my heart.

Those were tough times and every small crumb of fantasy and wonder helped keep me afloat as a boy.  I couldn’t really afford to lose such a precious wonder.  Still I muddled on.  Everything gets exaggerated by the occasion.  I remember my first Christmas after my father, mother and brother passed away.  Those 25th of December days should have held no more significance than the 25th  of January but because that day is one of celebration and family, the losses illuminate and become magnified.

Missing people near and dear is always tough at Christmas.  My own un-shareable circumstances make Christmas day a particularly painful day for me, yet it is also one I ultimately make the most of and I very much enjoy the sense of occasion.  Most of it is nostalgic if I am to be honest.

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I remember being a little boy and lying underneath the Christmas tree on my back.  My mother always placed tiny porcelain bells at the bottom of the tree, adorned with their own little green and red painted trees.  I would lie there in the darkened room, lit only by the multi-coloured tree lights and gently tip the bells to hear their tinkle.  It was such a simple thing but it was magical.

Every year my dad bought chocolates for my mother and the minute the first layer was gone, I would commandeer the empty plastic tray, usually coloured brown or purple and lie beneath the tree to look through the plastic at the lights.  They would seem more spectacular as the light was changed by the filter of the uneven plastic and best of all, when I placed the empty chocolate tray over my face, I could smell the chocolate.  Ahh I’m inhaling as I remember it right now, sucking air through my nose.  It is an unmoveable memory for me.

Sometimes, I’d just lie there and squint as I looked up through the tree at the lights.  They would splinter in the watery squeeze of my eyes becoming stars of many colours.  No wonder it was a magical time.  It wasn’t just Santy or the tree; there were so many other rituals.  My Mam would cook the ham on Christmas Eve and we would make toasted ham sandwiches. They were mouth-watering, finger-dripping, buttery delights and I couldn’t go to bed without one.

My father liked to bring home a fresh turkey a week before Christmas and he would hang it over the bath, much to our dog’s distress.  To a city boy like me it was a barbaric thing in a way, the only meat we ever ate that we got to see in its un-butchered state.  I remember being tasked to use my tiny hands to pluck the turkey, a thoroughly thankless task and worse still, I recall being thought how to clean the bird out.  It was my first encounter with the inner workings of any creature and it was not pleasant.  And yet it forms part of one of my happier Christmas memories.

 

Mass was in truth inconvenient as a child.  It kept me away from my toys which for the first ten years of my life more than likely meant a pair of guns, a holster, a cowboy hat and a sheriff’s badge. The trick was to pray before you got there.  I used to pray for Father Connolly.  He was as mad as a brush, but the upside was he could whip through the whole ceremony in twenty minutes excluding communion.  It was important not to go to ten o’clock mass as they tended to be filled with happy-clappy singy types and you could nearly fill the hour if you were unlucky. With unintentional irony, I prayed for a quick mass.

We’d dress up in our best clothes; shoes polished from the night before and hope that my mam wouldn’t bump into someone on the way home.  They could talk for ages those women.  Back home we’d eventually go and then it was straight into the Christmas morning fry up.  Sausages, rashers, black and white pudding, toast, fried egg all washed down with a mug of tea.  The Turkey would have been cooking since early in the morning and the house was filled with wonderful aromas.  We generally had a turkey big enough to feed a small country, so it took hours to cook.  The fire would be lighting and we’d play in the warmth of its glow, while my dad tried to convince one of us to let him cheat them at cards and my mam got on with the cooking.

At some point my da’s brothers would appear and they’d drink a few drinks and talk about the same thing they always talked about, none of it of any interest to me.  My old man was a heavy cigarette smoker but on Christmas day the cigars would come out.  I love-hated the smell.  Dad always left the bottle of whiskey for his brothers to pour for themselves.  He said it showed you were mean if you poured it for them.  It was the only time we had drink in the house.  Nowadays people think nothing of having drink in the fridge or in a wine rack but back then, house drinking was for Christmas or wakes.  There’d be bottles of Guinness, Smithwicks and Harp covering all the major tastes of the time.  In the spirit cabinet there would be vodka and whiskey and for the ‘ladies’ Babycham and Snowballs. I tried them all at some point, just the dregs mind when there was no one in the room.  It fascinated me.  The beers were vile and the spirits burned my mouth but the snowballs…I could have gotten used to them.  I puffed on my uncle’s cigar once when he left the butt in the ashtray and I turned green.

Just before dinner, the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops would come on the TV and all of us except for my father, would revel in the excitement of finding out who was the Christmas number one.  Dad moaned the whole way through it saying that it wasn’t real music.  Now Perry Como… there was a man who could sing.

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Top of the pops was followed by an unhealthy quantity of turkey ham, roast and mash potatoes, the inevitable Brussels sprouts, carrots parsnips and gravy and somehow I’d always manage to squeeze in the season favourite, trifle.  Swearing never to eat again as long as I lived, opening trouser buttons to relieve the pressure, we’d retire to the front room to watch whatever movie was on the telly.  Within half an hour, I’d have miraculously recovered my appetite and pester my mam to open her chocolates.

Those happy memories will stay with me forever.  Some years there were more troubling times but the bigger picture in my mind is one of smiles and more food that I was used to.  We were not well off, so the splurge at Christmas exaggerated in my mind.

It is funny how I remember the good times and shy away from the painful memories.  I guess it’s a bit like remembering the sunny summers of my youth when in reality, Irish summers are far from Mediterranean. Maybe it’s human nature. As each year passes, I mellow and chill a little more.  That is of course one benefit of aging, but I still find a certain anxiety creeps in as the festive season comes to a climax.  I know from whence it comes and I can do little about my own melancholic nature, so I slap on a smile, force myself to merriment and for the most part it works.

Melancholy and merriment are things that go hand in hand for me. I use laughter to drown my sorrow and smiles to mask my tears.  Christmas shines its merry spotlight on our vulnerabilities I think. Mine are no greater than most, but they are there and they are indeed mine so I cope with them.  Soon it will be all over and a part of me will miss it immediately, while another part of me will sigh with relief.  Being a contradiction is never easy but at least I know how I tick.

Love it or loathe it, there is something magical about Christmas and I cannot let that idea go.  My children are all grown up now and I suppose for me it was my children that reconnected me to the magic of Christmas.  Someday perhaps I may be fortunate enough to see my grandchildren come into the world and then… ah yes the magic will begin all over again, only with me behind the curtain, starved of the magic that children bring for too many years and let loose once more with an overactive imagination, it might get a little crazy.  Happy Christmas everyone, let the magic begin…

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

My forever thing…

My forever thing…

No matter how long I’ve shared her space and watched her shine, I will never cease to be amazed and dazzled by the girl who always sparkles and makes me smile….

I have found a weightless love and it is a treasure, my pleasure, my swirl, my giggle of a girl.  She is my twinkle, my inkle, my kind of pure delight that I try with all my might to understand.   The moment she took my hand I knew and I grew ten feet tall as I watched my fall from sorrow that takes me beyond today and tomorrow and into the realm of forever.

There is no time or place, no space that can hold what I have found.  I cannot keep my feet on the ground at times and no wonder, the lightness she bestows on me.  Don’t think that tomorrow is what I’m waiting for, it will never come around.  I’ve lost my yesterdays and the opportunities I may have missed cannot be the things I allow myself to miss.  But a kiss? A simple touch of lips can last, a moment from my past that I can carry with me as I go, a thing of true elegance that can accompany me on my journey into tomorrow. My forever thing.

And what of sorrow? I cannot imagine nor contemplate another glance of a blow from that sword of pain.  It has scarred me much and as such, it has followed me from the place from whence I came and it has left me not the same, as I fear its return in the light of each new day.  I am a lone wolf who howls at the moon too soon when I am left to my own devices.  What entices me away from my solitude, what winkles in and saves me, is what I need the most, my ghost, my shadow, my everlasting peace from yesteryear and forever, my forever love and dear, my sword, my shield, my spear.

I battle through,  I muddle, all a kerfuddle but it becomes clear to me as I drown in my sea of selfish howling, that it is she who keeps me on my path.  The journey that I choose, where I can never lose because she holds my hand and keeps me safe is the journey we all face.  I feel the lightness of her weight upon my face when she smiles.

That she is love goes without question. That love is great she proves to me daily.  I am blessed that I have fallen for such sweetness and at best I can hope to hold the same hand each time I take a walk and feel the smile at the corner of my mouth as I listen to her talk of things that she commands.  And I am commanded.  I yield to her beauty, I surrender to her kindness.  I am in awe.

What takes me back destroys me or lifts my spirit, what carries me beyond I have yet to discover, but my lover? She keeps me safe, my waif, my funny girl with a sparkle all of her own, once known I can never be without.  When I turn to stardust once more, when all the world’s behind me, I will still adore the one I share my life with.  I step into my tomorrow, the one that never comes, knowing no sorrow will I bring.  I will sing and it will be a delight as my spirit takes flight, for I know she will be with me my, darling, my love, my sprite.

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

 

 

Head out of your arse time you old fogeys…Darcify and fly…

Head out of your arse time you old fogeys…Darcify and fly…

I think I need to take my head out of my arse and pay more attention.  To be fair, I was trained well enough back in the day so I should know better. My father would gently clip me around the ear, my mother only had to raise her voice a notch and in school, well let’s just say, stealing from the Spanish Inquisition wouldn’t have kept you more on your toes.

I am of course talking about the potential danger that I might soon fall into the trap of being out of touch with the ‘young’ people or ignoring anything new that doesn’t relate to a specific period of my life when I was at my peak. God Forbid.  

It seems some young wan’ called Kim Kardashian is breaking up with a lad who I originally thought was called Kane and when I heard the news, my world wasn’t shaken. It seems I’m losing touch. 

I pride myself in keeping relatively up to date with contemporary music, but I have to admit I struggle on occasion as fashion in music swings through its vagaries and I am not always enamoured with the changes.  There is an element of the old Fogey creeping into my head at times despite my insistence somewhere deep inside that I am still a young man at heart.

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Perhaps we gain and lose patience as we grow older if that makes any sense.  I’ve lost patience with nonsense and I suppose maturity gives me the ability to say what I think and not put up with as much Blarney as I used to when I was younger.  I have conversely become more patient and can treat life’s little malfunctions with a more relaxed attitude than I once did. My auld fella used to say, “There’s only so much shite I can listen to” and my ma would tell me to listen to what others say.  Growing older gives me the perspective to see when I fall into either category.

The problem of course, is that very much age related thing of getting stuck in your ways.  It’s a creeping, pernicious thing and if you’re not careful, before you know it you’ll be halfway to becoming an old fart.  Now I’m a long way from that – I hope- but that’s not for me to judge and that’s the problem. I can be a particular fecker – no it’s not a typo- I said fecker not the bad word – and in identifying my particularness – (not a real word until now) – there is hope for me yet.

The first step to maintaining your head in an out of your own arse position, is to identify the potential for you to stick it up there in the first place. It’s pure science.  Let’s take my aphisma – you might want to look at my last blog for that one, but in short aphisma being my condition whereby I  slap my body to look for my wallet or keys only to discover they are right where they should be after I complete my panic attack.  That in itself is not necessarily an indicator of aging, young folk can have aphisma attacks also but combined with secondary clues, aging can be more easily identified.  What secondary clues you ask? Using expressions like ‘young folk’ might be one.


I’ll pause at this point because what I’m trying to establish has no word and I may need to offer you my second contribution to the English language this year and that is a word to describe the skill of avoiding becoming an unwilling practitioner of the ancient art of head-up-your-own-arseology. Yes indeed. What I’m describing here is looking up to smell the roses instead of smelling the same old shite that you are responsible for peddling when you fail to open your heart to other ideas as you get older.

If you can name it, you can shame it that’s my logic and if you shame it … and let’s not forget my 1970’s, Irish Catholic, working class, feck the begrudgers and begrudge them anyway  upbringing here… if it wasn’t for guilt we would have had nothing…if you indeed shame it, them maybe…just maybe…you can break the habit.

So in order to exorcize my head-up-me-own-arseeology, I hereby offer another new word. – Darcification.

Noun ; Darcification  Pronunciation ; d.arse.if.i.cation.

Verb ;- Darcify  Pronunciation n d.arse.if.I.

Use examples:

 I realised I’d been talking shite for half an hour so I decided to listen for a change.  It was time for me to darcify.

 My wife told me I’d been acting like an old fart and a prat, talking rubbish and behaving like a condescending auld fecker.  When the truth struck home I was darcified. 

I spent the evening drinking Guinness with my two oldest friends, whining about young people and romanticising the good old days when it struck me, these two were in part at least, responsible for my darcification.

Now go darcify. Set your spirit free.

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R