Doing triple salchows off the railings and crossing crocodile infested rivers…

Doing triple salchows off the railings and crossing crocodile infested rivers…

Some kids have a certain cheekiness that I am a little jealous of, even if one or two sometimes take it too far. I was never so bold as the little man in my featured image and while the old fogey in me says, isn’t he very bold’ there is another old fogey in me cracking up at his cheek and admiring his confidence. Some people get that knocked out of them all too early in life. Perhaps my greatest life achievement was making it past the age of ten without doing myself some serious damage. On reflection, while I was hardly the most wild child, I took risks which were to say the least, worthy of a sharp sucking of air through the teeth or at the very least a girding of one’s loins.

Window breaking seemed to play a bigger part in my life than it really should have. My neighbour, my brother and my cousin were all responsible for breaking our windows, demonstrating with a varying degree of failure their lack of sporting prowess. A golf Ball, a stone and a football, all managed to get me in trouble at the hands of others. ME! Just because I was the only child left to face my mother when the damage was done. I never broke even one window in our house, but I was the one who ended up ‘waiting until my father got home.’

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Mind you, I did break a massive collection of car windows, parked out the back of the local police station when I was eight, but that was an entirely different story involving two rather large policemen, a peeing in my little boy short trousers, and the biggest scare of my young life. I was just an innocent you understand, but listen, like I said- that’s a whole other story.

I was a good boy really, for the most part – usually. We played games that were… well let’s just say, maybe not the type of games I would have let my kids play for fear of losing them young. They were different times. I walked the plank – literally, and at a fair height off the ground. My buddy and I used to stand at the back of our garden shed’s roof– a large, single-story, flat roof affair, and race across the roof to jump off and see who could land furthest away. I walked every metal railings I could, trying to execute a triple salchow on dismount. How I still have an intact set of testicles I really don’t know.

One of our favourite games was to build a fort at the end of our garden, using whatever scrap we could, and there was always plenty of that to find about the place in those days. We built it as solid as possible then one of us – the designated lone cavalry soldier, would hide inside shooting at the others who were of course Apache, as they tried to belly crawl through the scrub to attack. They would be shot many times but there were rules.

No one could just run straight at the fort, getting shot that way was just something you couldn’t come back from. Zig zagging from one piece of cover to another was fine. You could get winged, in fact for effect it was almost expected if not preferable, to dramatically spin out of a gunshot when hit in the arm. A good belly crawl, especially if you could go so slow so as to remain unnoticed until the last minute, was always a winner. Bear in mind, the lone soldier in the fort would only have limited visibility through one hole to shoot, and we generally tried to roof the fort even though that was technically not a fort. But the roof did have a very particular function.

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You see, once the stand-off had lasted long enough and we had expended our energy fantasising about being part of a great wild west if not highly politically incorrect adventure, the attacking injuns would inevitable jump on top of the fort roof, to try and collapse the entire structure on top of the boy inside. Now I know it sounds cruel and dangerous, but this wasn’t some form of intricate abuse targeting one lad. We all took turns inside and that was strangely enough, the preferred place to be. The soldier you see, was the goodie and the injuns the baddies. In some twisted logic that only we understood in that exact time and place, there was a cost to playing the coveted role of goodie and some payoff for being the baddie. The goodie got to risk having his head caved in beneath the collapsing fort to and the baddies, got to cave it in. Trust me it made sense at the time.

While we played out such gentlemanly games, we learned lots and lots of things about life. We established rules, developed strategies of fairness and tethered natural boyish aggression within the ‘safe’ confines of our play. We never overstepped the mark and really didn’t want to hurt each other and we rarely did, despite the barbarity of some of our games.

But perhaps the biggest danger was from the less obvious risks we took. Playing where we were banned from, fording giant puddles 60 feet wide at the back of the local cinema, pretending it was the crocodile infested Zambezi river, or rolling in the grass in the local grasslands we called ‘The California Hills’ despite the fact they were deep in the heart of suburban Dublin, were all things that could lead to a torn item of clothing or perhaps,ruining a good pair of shorts through staining when falling into the muddy waters of the Zambezi. There, truly lay the greatest danger.

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For in a time when money was scarce, we didn’t understand the pressure that our parents, particularly our mothers faced in trying to make ends meet, for they were the true keepers of the books. While I thought nothing of destroying a jumper (sweater for my American friends), my mother would go through me for a shortcut if it was unrepairable. I remember wearing my sisters socks to school because I had destroyed my last pair of clean ones traversing the Niagara falls on a tight rope when I was seven. No one knew I was wearing them except for my mother and I but OH, the humiliation! I don’t even want to go near the day I had no fresh underwear!… I said…let’s not go there!

So you can imagine that given the importance of not destroying our clothes, the day I had an accident at school, life became somewhat immersive. I was six years old and things became a little loose in the digestive department. Back then we had no phones at home and my teacher couldn’t contact our house directly. I lived about a mile from school so the lovely Ms O’Sullivan, sent me home with a chaperone who lived on the same road as me – so I wouldn’t get lost. While I was only six and we had one major and multiple minor roads to cross, those were different times, so it was quite acceptable to send a sick little mite like me home from school. Back then married women were not allowed to work in Ireland (I know WTF!) Well my God what a trauma.

Half way home my bowels took control and began to decide that what was inside my tiny little tummy, simply had to come out via the rear exit.. on an express train. Bear in mind I was wearing shorts, so I knew that if I couldn’t hold back nature, then the whole world would know my shame. It was one thing to be touching cloth, an entirely different shenanigan to be risking a veritable public shaming.

In panic, I skirted through the relative quiet of the church grounds, clenching like my life depended on it, no other thought in my little head but to get home to my mammy. I schooched through the church grounds and out the side gate, leggin’ it up the access lane at the back of the shops. The lane was always empty so no one could see me and I had to keep stopping to grab myself (my little bottom to be exact) in order to try and stop the inevitable deluge.

From the end of the lane to my house was a 4oo yard dash onto the main street and around the corner. It would be busy, filled with bescarfed women doing their daily shop as they were wont to do back in the day. If only I could hold it together for just another three or so minutes, I was sure I could make it home.

Ten yards before the end of the lane my world fell apart. I couldn’t stop it. Looking back I don’t know how I managed to make it that far. I was so tiny. I felt the explosive burst and the warmth of my shame instantly ran down the back of my legs. My chaperone grabbed his nose, called me a name and simply abandoned me for fear of association with the mess I had become. I wanted to cry, but I was stranded and alone, still having to face stepping out from the privacy of the laneway, into the busy street to make it to my house. There was no way to do this without the world witnessing the horror of me. I felt the moist sludge gather at the back of my left sock which had rolled down to my ankle. The smell was horrendous and I welled up.

I recall grabbing my mop of blonde hair at the front of my head with both hands and tugging at it, angry with myself for not being able to control what was of course beyond the control of a six year old boy. But it didn’t matter I still felt angry and devastated.

I stood there for a few moments and then from somewhere found the strength to carry on. I stepped out onto the street and turned left. The main road was just yards ahead and there was a steady stream of passers-by, so I gulped down the lump in my throat, wiped away the tear that threatened at the corner of my eye, and with my skinny little shoulders back, strode like a mighty, devastated colossus into the fray.

I kind of knew that I couldn’t do it, even though I was doing it as the thought crossed my mind. My little heart was frantically thumping in my chest and I could hear it in my ears. With every step, more of the mess that was my humiliation seeped slowly from the back of my shorts and down my little boy legs. But then I saw my mother. Like a miracle vision there she was and being my mother, she could pick me out from fifty yards. She knew my every dimple, the shape of my head, the shimmy of my walk and she stopped dead in her tracks, knowing full well I shouldn’t be standing there at this time of day. I registered the puzzlement of her face but her face… it broke my resolve and the tears exploded in relief. My saviour, my blessed relief.. I ran to her crying, not caring that the world could see me now for she would take that all away.

 She swept me up in her arms not expecting her favourite coat to be destroyed in the process but on registering the problem, not caring. I doubt I ever cried so hard and she carried me home without a word. She was the real giant in my life. She made everything better. She clipped my little arse for hanging with boys who broke our windows, or for ruining my Sunday shoes. But she loved me when and how it mattered and carried me on her shoulders when she stood by my side. She was fearless, she was mighty and I thought of her today for no particular reason, a long lost, kind and wonderful soul, I hope I carry her tide with me, I hope I shine for her in her absence…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, 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
Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

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Rubbing shoulders with monsters…

Rubbing shoulders with monsters…

Sorrow is its own master. It galvanises all the sources of pain waiting in the wings to create the perfect storm, leaving you undone. It is as ruthless as it is all consuming. There is seldom an easy route to safety and like any mighty storm, the only way past it is through it.

My own nature is to be melancholic but I have always found ways to disguise this to the world. Perhaps my only true reveal is in my writing. It shouldn’t have surprised me (but it did) when my heart stopped a few years back, I recognised what was happening and instead of the oft purported life flashing by, for me I was overwhelmed only with sadness. I felt the burden of all the sorrow that would befall the loved ones I was leaving behind. I came back from the light, a tad darker perhaps.

I guess the true mastery of sorrow is its ability to render one helpless. My darker days are well camouflaged. I have learned that while I cannot win the battles every time, I will see my way out the other side. Perhaps that is the key.   But I am absolutely helpless in the face of other’s sorrow for that, I cannot fix. I am like a dried sponge. My shell feels hard but once you wet it with so much as a single tear drop, I begin to absorb all the pain I see. It does little to help the ones in most need. The sorrow around us is perhaps the sorrow that leaves us most helpless for it is a battle we cannot fight by proxy.

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There are none so strong they cannot be felled by crises of the heart. There can be none I suspect, not touched at some time in their life by the pain of heart break. But sadness sidles in from many places. It can haunt us from our past, linger in the creases of our mind, tether us to another us and leave us strangled by its grip.

Sometimes it is a darkness in and of itself that needs no inspiration, a conflation of something and nothing that can mean everything in the moment. Whether it takes us down in a single sweep, or drags at our coat tails holding us back, its greatest trick is making us believe it is majestic and invincible, an acrid, putrid, loathsome emotion, an ocean that we drown in if we forget to swim.

I can only speak for me. I am still at sea. Sometimes, I barely have time to catch my breath before the next wave, but I have learned to take shelter through the worst of it. There is no one immune from the hidden darkness that walks among us every day. It rubs shoulders with us as it smiles back the monster within, sometimes perhaps a word away from disintegration. It wears makeup and shoes, a suit or a pair of jeans. It wears its heart on its sleeve, but then covers it up so no one else can see it.

The salt of tears feeds the monster. The gulp of pain as you swallow it down, only encourages the beast. The solitude of belief, the cause of so much grief in the simple premise that you are alone, is the mastery of this creature, it’s dominating feature is it becomes our teacher. We learn to be subdued by its weight, until all too late we learn it can be defeated.

I have no mastery of the art. I do battle. I win, I lose, but most importantly I choose. Sometimes the choices I make are wrong. I am no savant. I can neither offer advice nor consolation for all sorrow is truly felt in the isolation of our own hearts, but I can offer that which I know to be true for me, for what it’s worth.

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Inside my head, when I am alone in my thoughts, I am only who I choose to be. I am not bettered by the darkest of my inklings and even when it feels like I may someday be overwhelmed by the force of my melancholia, I choose so not to lose. I choose to be better than the darkness. I choose to take a bite from my elephant, just that one bite at a time bite, to alight from the traps my dark old soul has set for me. Eating my big old monster, one bite at a time, even if I know I may never finish the gargantuan feast set out on my table, is enough to let the light in, enough at least for me. It sets me free, even if only for a while, but there in the sunlight again, I know I will smile again and that begins a whole new journey.

Today I don’t feel much like smiling. I have a tear on my eye and a tear in my heart but, that’s the part I know is not forever. The master of my sorrows it turns out – is me. But I am a master in training only. I just have to practice some more to get it right, to be the ringmaster of my own delight, so I am readied for the fight, ready for the night of my day, ready to take the worst out of my best. Heavy the heart in the chest, but I know the sun is always waiting. Tomorrow will be bright again. Sometimes the return of your smile may be a bit further away, you just have to remember it’s coming… I just smile on the outside while I’m waiting…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, 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
Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

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We fade to grey

We fade to grey

A reblog as Joan turns 94 today

Maxpower's Blog

On the release of Darkly Wood II this week I thought this appropriate to reblog for my cover girl who will be 92 this May

The beautiful girl on the cover of my latest book is my partner’s mother Joan. Affectionately known to all as Jomammy, she was 21 when this photo was taken on Dollymount strand in Dublin in 1946. This week Jomammy turns 90. What a wonderful achievement to have lived so long and to still be, for the most part independent.

Her upcoming birthday made me consider how she has become invisible to so many people in so many situations. Many people ignore her as though she doesn’t exist. Her failing hearing does not help, as it makes it difficult to have a conversation with her sometimes. I say difficult not impossible and it doesn’t excuse people for not making the effort. Sometimes she repeats stories that…

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Gardening – Zombies and a bit of Faith for Easter Sunday…

Gardening – Zombies and a bit of Faith for Easter Sunday…

It all started on Friday. Good Friday was different when I was a kid. Back then Easter was a period of almost excessive catholic zeal. I saw through the BS and knew that it was really about the chocolate, but the masses processions and symbolism just couldn’t be avoided. Nowadays it is just a chocolate marketing exercise and all the fun has gone out of it.

Anyhoo, this year I had a last minute epiphany to take Good Friday off. Given that Monday is a bank holiday I was giving myself a four day weekend. What could possibly go wrong? Truth be told I’m a bit of an asshole at times, so long story short, here I am typing at my laptop – very slowly at 7.30 in the morning, doing my best to tell you my story.

Now one could take the aforementioned view that I’m an asshole, or given the religious season that’s in it one could just blame God on the whole thing. You see on Friday I had a chance to have a much needed extra day of rest; however… the sun finally came out. Now if you’re not Irish, you might not get the significance of that but if you are, you will know that that means you have to make hay while the sun shines. It might not be here tomorrow or for another month or indeed this afternoon, no matter what the weatherman ‘thinks’ he knows.

Long story short, I’m up and in my shorts before you can say Benidorm and once suitably attired, I went out to our garden. Finally, I could do a bit of what I like to call ‘tipping around.’ Unfortunately, I don’t have first or second gears. Within the hour I had tangled with the bramble from hell which has taken hold in our hawthorn trees. For the non-gardening fraternity that is, I decided to untangle the second thorniest plant in the world from the thorniest tree in the world, whilst up a latter wearing shorts and a t-shirt. In fairness I did put on gloves.

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Now of all my decrepitudes, my old back tops the list. I long since stopped moaning about it, but it gives me hell on a good day to put it mildly. Still I can either get the fup on with life with a bit of auld pain or curl up and die. I chose to get on with it. Getting on with it meant that I needed help from what I like to call the ‘Zombie slayer 2000.’ I wouldn’t ask too many questions but needless to say, come the zombie apocalypse, along with my unnecessary (she says) excess of axes, the zombie slayer 2000 will prove to be perhaps the best investment mankind or indeed I have ever made.

The advantages of this zombie slaying piece of ingenuity, are ironically the disadvantages of the self-same tool when one has a bad back and is up a ladder leaning backwards at full stretch. You see, this ingenious weapon, or gardening tool (for now) also boasts an extendible pole – (I’m telling – you they are missing the whole zombie apocalypse marketing angle) – but given that if is metal, the damn thing is heavy. Good for slaying zombies, bad for leaning back atop a ladder with a bad back.

So… yesterday I wake up and try to make it to the bathroom. I’m a cripple I swear – God is punishing me for working on Good Friday. I swear I will sit down all day and relax and let myself recover. Two hours later I’m shredding through the first proper spring clean of the garden this year only this time at ground level. What? The sun was shining; I put on shorts and wellos!

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So the day gets on, I am officially crippled and it’s time for us to go out dancing… As you do. Well technically it was a George Michael tribute act but hey… I’m always going to end up dancing with my nimble footed darling Jo. That’s a given. That’s Holy Saturday shot and given the hour we got home, we’d stolen a bit of Easter Sunday too.

Of course I wake up this morning and the sun is still there. It has been a balmy sunny weekend so far and I should have put my feet up and sat in a sun lounger in the garden sipping on a few glasses of Sangiovese. But I never listen to reason. I’d finished typing this much by eight a.m. I feel like someone has run over my body with a bus. Jo just reminded me that I was giving it socks on the dancefloor last night and my body just looked at me with a shake of its head and a dirty looking ‘ I told you so’ expression. I know I should know better but what you going to do?

Just because I’ve a dodgy ticker, knees that hate me, fupped up ankles, the back of a one hundred and ten year old builder’s labourer and a pair of shoulders that call me names behind my back, doesn’t mean I’m going to curl up and die.

I just looked at my arms. My lovely arms (well I like them) are torn to shreds from hawthorn and bramble thorns. I look like I was in a fight with a tiger. If anyone asks I’m going to say that I volunteer at an endangered owl sanctuary at the weekends, teaching orphaned baby owls to fly. They are a bit clawey and scratchy but hey; someone has to protect the planet…No…a bit too much perhaps…

Anyway, things were different when I was a nipper. It was all about God back in the day. Well God and chocolate anyway. Today, well… the worlds gone to hell in a handcart. I’m not religious but I do miss the days when we all took a little more time out at this time of the year. So today I guess I’ll do the same. God hates me anyway, he is punishing me for fluting around in the garden all weekend and for strutting my stuff to… ca-chink-a chink-a-chink-a-chink… But if he’s up there he’ll forgive me for weaponizing garden tools and dancing on a holy day… well you gotta’ have faith…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, 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
Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

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Setting the monster free…

Setting the monster free…

Old sins cast long shadows. We drag the sins of our past behind us like a leaking, globulous mass of festering pain, across the rough terrain of our journey through life. Some bridges need burning, others should be left intact so we can find our way back to the important stuff if needed. It is in the choosing, that we often set ourselves up for disappointment.

Of course past things never quite seem to stay where we put them. It’s not uncommon to forget where we are going and instead get distracted by nostalgia, to find ourselves heading back across the bridges we have left uncharred, only to discover that all is not what it once seemed.

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I think perhaps, we are all capable of allowing the veil of personal history, distort the reality of what we have left behind us. It’s more than a veil. Time is like a hotel cleaner. You wake up, toss aside the covers, finish off the half bottle of water from the night before, spill your coffee, because no one uses saucers anymore, leave your wet towel on the floor, and head out about your day. When you return the room is magically back to how you remembered it, at its best.

We Photoshop our story as we go. We create our own powerful image in contrast to what I was thought in school. We were told that God created man in his own image, when in truth we create ourselves in the image of God. We are never that perfect, but we tinker with the truth to bring us nearer to the best image we can imagine of ourselves, and yet sometimes that still comes up short and therein lays life’s great disappointments. There is nothing that should disappoint us. We are only ever really and truly disappointed in ourselves. What anyone else thinks of us, is really none of our business.

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The world it seems has become worse. I watch from a vantage point, increasingly distant from the centre of things as I get older. In vanity and hubris we lose our way. I have never been just a spectator in life. In many ways I have been fortunate to have the emotional energy to have gone after the things I wanted in life. None of the good in my life has come easily to me, and yet I have so much that I can call good in my life. I can only carry the burden I collect along the way. Outside of that I remain a curious spectator.

There is no secret to being happy. You simply have to figure out who you are – and then do it on purpose. We are all empowered to be who we truly want to be. You only give up your power, when you don’t think that you have any.

When I was a small child I couldn’t swim. My dad used to throw me into the water at the beach, to make me man-up a little I guess, but it only served to terrify me even more. I would sit by the seaside refusing to strip to my swimming togs. I wouldn’t even take off my shoes, for I knew he wouldn’t throw me in to the water fully clothed. That was quite a stress for a little waif like me. To add insult to injury, I was made fun of for being such a chicken by everyone else.

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My solution? I went to the local swimming pool and over the course of a week, all by my lonesome, I thought myself how to swim among the dive-bombing wildlings who made it almost impossible. I stood in the shallowest end of the pool, one pace from the bar at the edge and made a lunge at the bar. It took me two days to lunge from 2 paces away and at first it seemed I would never make it. I genuinely thought I might drown and constantly checked for the life guard, who never seemed to even notice me. By the time I had made it 4 paces from the edge, I believed in my heart that the floundering, desperate, panicked splashing I engaged in, must have looked to others like an olympian gliding gracefully through the water, and that inspired me to take one step further from the edge.

The day I swam a full width of the pool, I was 10 feet tall. I remember the smile on my face for it was so broad it hurt my cheeks and I felt it. But there was no one there to see my victory. It mattered, but that was just the way of it. I chose to take my private success and run with it any way.

My other great fear was that of the dark. I was still a tiny little scut and my mother understood. She always left some glow of light for me to feel a little more secure, but I hated that fear. I applied my learning to swim lesson and without saying a word to anyone, I would go out to the hall in the dark and leave the landing light off. Stage one was akin to taking one step back from the edge of the pool and I walked half way up the stairs to the landing, very slowly, deliberately forcing myself to face the fear.

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I was so afraid let me tell you, but once I hit the half-way point, I would turn my back on the monsters at the top of the stairs and slowly walk back down to the hall without looking back. Once there I would turn and stare the monsters down before turning on the light to check that I was right. There was no monster at the top of the stairs.

Eventually I made it to the top in complete darkness and ultimately to my room and bed. Getting undressed in the dark was terribly unnerving for a small boy waiting for the hand to come out from under my bed and grab me. In a way, I met the monster under my bed. I met him and set him free, for all the monsters I have ever known, have only been inside of me.

Fear is the beast that constrains. Looking back over our shoulders is and exercise in futility. Whatever we think is chasing us will only keep up the chase as along as we encourage it. Close your eyes in the dark to make the darkness go away or open them and embrace your strength to do so.

My problem is my melancholy soul. I should have been a blues singer. Despite my own advice, I don’t burn the bridges I cross; I just keep concentrating on the road ahead of me. I am not tempted by the sirens calling from behind, calling me back to wallow in darker times. Occasionally, I will sit by my river banks and look back from whence I came. I take pictures of the good times and leave the bad times to look after themselves.

My soul means I will always have sad steps to fill, I have learned to live with that, but just like I was when I was that skinny little fledgling, barely heavy enough to hold my footing on a windy day, I know what I must do. On those days when sadness is my monster, I take a step back, turn out the lights and take my leap of faith…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, 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

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

 

Blessed by the best of it…

Blessed by the best of it…

It dawned on me today, that I mark the passing of time in a much different way than I did as a kid. In some ways, I guess it should be obvious, but the notion settled on me as I brushed my teeth so I thought I might share.

It all began a few weeks ago really. I know I have to cut the ogre that is a hedge at the front of our house and while at the best of times it is a daunting challenge, this year it is even more so. It makes me feel old. Last year I tore my shoulder in the process. Don’t ask, the hedge is so deep it requires me to stand on a ladder holding an extendable hedge trimmer which even then doesn’t reach all the way across.

The upshot was an over stretch and a rip to my poor shoulder and of course, I kept going.  I did so much damage that even now a year on, I still haven’t got full rotation in my left shoulder. It is so bad that I missed the autumn trim, so to say a trim is overdue would be an understatement. Of course it’s that time of the year again and while I have many faults, one of my strengths is that I am a determined fecker. This means I cannot resist the urge to cut the bejaybus out of that hedge. Capable or not, it has to be done.

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Now when I was a nipper, at this time of the year I wasn’t thinking about mundane sh**e like hedges. I was focussing on Easter eggs. Nothing else mattered; we are coming into chocolate season. Once Christmas was over, the dark thoughts of surviving the return trip to school were always elevated somewhat, by the fact that St Patrick’s day was in March and Easter would follow close behind the great Saint’s day.

Now there was the little matter of lent to be managed but even that 6 weeks of deprivation had an upside. We had in typical Irish fashion, wangled a temporary reprieve to break our fast on St Patrick’s day. That was something to look forward to and while we weren’t overly fond of any extra, non-essential Mass, the zealous Christian brothers scored an own goal each lent, insisting as they did, that we traipse up the road to church every morning. On the one hand it was a pain in the arse, but on the flip side, it was an hour and a half including the walk there and back, wasted from our school day…woo-hoo!

Then Easter arrived – chocolate eggs until we puked, weeks of looking at the growing stash of colourful boxes dropped off by our aunties, just sitting there on the side-board. There were carefully planned, egg burglaries in the days and weeks that led to Easter. We would open boxes, peel back the foil, pull apart the two egg halves, slide out a sweet or two, and then put the whole thing back together as if it never happened. You’d never do your own egg unless you were desperate, usually in my case; I raided my sister’s stash. Ssssssh… I was never there..

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Easter gave way to the thoughts of summer break from school and we counted every lousy day until we were free. Each glorious summer’s day of freedom was a gallop through the fields as we chased injuns, or a re-enactment of whatever war movie we had seen last. Knees high in the long grass or belly crawling through a neighbours nettle patch, it didn’t matter. Summer set us free and we were loate to let a moment of daylight pass indoors.

But life is life and the shadow of those men in black began to loom large long before September arrived. Back to school with only one thought in our heads – Halloween. Then it would be Christmas and on the cycle of life went and we tick-tocked it’s measure by finding meaning in something to look forward to.

Oh how things have changed. My new seasons are the task that sits most immediately in front of me. Right now, it is the garden and the work that sits staring at me each day. While it is often a pleasure, the creaks and clanks of my aging bones whisper to me. “Bo@@ix to that, leave it until your shoulder is better” but I know I can’t.

As a child I counted the days to free my mind from the awfulness of those parts of my childhood, I long to forget. When time distanced me from the worst of it, I clung to the memories of the best of it. The eternal optimist, I survived the bad bits to revel in the glory of the best bits. I evolved, revolved in my head and turned away from all that might scare me, mar me, or leave me a victim. Growing stronger takes much longer than one might think.

Blessed by the best of it, evolved by the worst of it, I grew from a wildling waif, galloping bare-kneed through the grass, into an older, wiser beast. My energy is not yet deceased. Now I no longer count the days, for I have found happiness in the moments that I collect as I go.

I am still a relatively young man, but it appears that as you cross certain milestones, some other nuisance of a bodily bother, tugs at your elbow and say, “Whoa there chief, slow it down a bit, you’ll hurt yourself if you’re not careful.”

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At first I tried to ignore that particular voice. I’m every bit as fit and agile as I was when I was sixteen. At least that was the lie I told myself and if I’m honest, it took a long time for me to admit that maybe I might be … perhaps I was a little bit… well ok. Now I look at the options and I say to myself, “Pay someone to do that, you’re getting too old and you’ll be fecked for a week if you do it yourself.” But then I do it anyway, and guess what…I’m fecked for a month!

The days are perhaps more precious as we age and certainly, my brush with the mysteries of the other side have left me wary of misery, for it serves little purpose. I try to look for the good in what I have, what is in store for me, and in all that has come before that made me what I am today.

I know so many people strung out and hung up on the past. They carry slights big and small with them, like a bag of stones around their neck and wonder why they are afraid to jump into the water. Let it go. Go down to the hardware store, buy some timber and some nails, build a bridge, get over it and whatever the feck, if needs be, buy some matches and some kerosene and burn that fecker as you go. Not that I’m advocating burning bridges, far from it, I think you have to leave them intact, just cross them and move the flip on. But some bridges need to be burned to keep the demons at bay.

Like I say, I try hard to look for the positive and the good that happens. I expect nothing, work hard to achieve the things I want to achieve and if things don’t work out, “move along, there’s nothing to see here.” Now that I have exhausted myself luxuriating in my own bulls~~t, my mind has wandered back to the task at hand … there’s still…that hedge… I really don’t want to…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, 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

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

 

My forever thing…

My forever thing…

This one popped up and I couldn’t help share as it is about someone very special ❤️☘️🎈

Maxpower's Blog

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…

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