The Darkness is back …

The Darkness is back …

I have a secret.  The thing about secrets is that the minute you spill the beans the secret is gone and it loses all of its power.  In a sense I have lots of secrets because every book I write has something waiting at the end that I don’t want to reveal until the moment is right. Today I published my fifth book and it is the second in a series of three.  I always say that every book I write is completely different in subject and genre but today I theoretically at least put that idea to bed by releasing a sequel.

That being said I do have a secret.  Writing is much tougher than many people think.  I find the actual creative bit easy and I suspect all writers feel much the same.  The difficult part is the work that goes in after and in my case, my five books constitute a few of million key strokes and that is just the first draft.  Those strokes make up around a half a million words and before during and after each word is  typed, the story has to be conjured up, developed, managed, analysed, re-jigged, bished, bashed and boshed into shape, written, re-written, edited and edited and edited and re-written to within an inch of its life and then checked again.It takes time and commitment.  That’s before you ever try to bring it to market.

Along the way I for one, pour my heart and soul into each book.  I am conscious of only one thing as I write and that is the reader.  I want my story to engage, and entertain.  My desire is to get as close to telling the reader my stories in person as I can.  That is what lies behind my style of writing and possibly why each story can be completely as different in genre, time and place as you can imagine because all I want you to hear as a reader is my voice.  If that comes through then I have done my job well.  If I did this for any other reason, then I would never have got past my first book.

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When I originally wrote Darkly Wood it was meant to be a stand-alone book with only a hint of a follow up in my mind.  I was encouraged by fans of the book to go back to the well and after a hiatus during which I wrote three other books, I eventually returned to my beloved Darkly Wood.  I say beloved because I so enjoyed writing the original.  Unfortunately a bout of ill health last year stopped me from writing completely and the follow up near completion, was left on the shelf for ten months.  Setting it free today was a blessed relief and it felt like I had overcome more than the normal challenges of writing, it felt as though I had achieved a very personal victory.

Darkly Wood is a most unusual book.  The original book tells the story of a young girl, first love and a terrifying journey through the place of the title, but it is much more than that.  I created a device, namely a book that she discovers early on called Tales of Darkly Wood and as her physical and personal journey evolves, I treat the reader to some of the stories about the wood.  They are all dark and terrible and connected ultimately to her fate.

I wanted the sequel to feel familiar yet unfamiliar and fresh so I tweaked this same device.  Oh yes I have a secret.  In Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes the setting is familiar and there are some returning faces, but my ‘tales’ device has a tweak.  In book two, many of the tales relate to one very dark and disturbing character, one I simply cannot spoil for you by revealing too much – but I can give you a sense of him.  I considered asking someone to sketch him for me to include inside the cover but I think that would reveal too much.  I do after all, always say that books should be more radio than television so I left this wonderful creature largely to the readers imagination.  It’s not that he isn’t give some description, he certainly is, but I hope that by the end of the book, readers will not just see him in their mind’s eye but hear his voice, smell his odour and feel his presence.

I used the term ‘darkness is coming’ quite a lot in the promotion and that is because this book is so much darker than the original and that is down to one very villainous villain. I do love a good baddy but wait…I have a secret.  Not all is as it seems in Darkly Wood.  Nothing can be taken for granted and importantly, as I made my way through this story, I quickly discovered that I needed more room to complete the story so there will be a third book and that process has already begun.

So what is my secret?  Well I’m lying of course, I have more than one secret and sure Darkly Wood wouldn’t work any other way.  Be prepared to meet the blackest of hearts, see the effect of love and hate, jealousy and fear.  Find out what makes brave and where it can be found.  Get ready to be shocked, surprised, teased, touched and I very much hope entertained.  The darkness has arrived and it is available to download now…and of course if you haven’t read the original, find the link below to begin at the beginning… and oh yes…there is the small matter of my ultimate secret, but for that you will have to wait for Book III Darkly Wood III Crinkle…  http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

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/Darkly-Wood-II

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

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

Darkness is coming…

Darkness is coming…

Consequence is the key.  If you write enough books you will realise that no matter what you write, plot and character are not the only considerations. It is impotant to create a decision tree for your characters.  This forces you to create consequences for the protagonists to make your story interesting. I always bang on about love being at the centre of quite literally everything I write and when you consider my titles, that might not at first seem to be the case but it’s true.

Love you see has the most impactful consequences. Whether it is first love, true love, familial, inappropriate, misguided, unrequited love or even the absence of love, once you set it in motion on a page there will be consequences. The damage is caused, the drama created, the hero revealed.  It doesn’t matter the genre or style, love in some form and its consequences will lurk in the background.  How writers reveal the story to the reader is where it all gets interesting.   It is where we earn our crust.

Now that all sounds very easy but the truth is you need to establish the right circumstances to develop the most interesting consequence. Let me use my soon to be released fifth book Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes as an example.   It is a good example because Darkly Wood is far from the normal type of book in terms of style and genre, so it demonstrates that whether one writes a thriller, horror, sci-fi  or indeed any type of tale, love and consequences are not only unavoidable, they are vital to the story.

The original Darkly Wood is a fairly well disguised love story despite the fact that you need to leave the lights on when you read it.  But while Darkly Wood deals with first love, it is not a traditional love story as the reader is constantly pulled away from that which is at the heart of the book, by what I hope is a wonderful array of distractions in the forms of side stories.  It is a truly dark and twisting book and I wanted to really surprise the reader.  In the sequel, love rears its head again only this time the book is filled with different kinds of love, familial love and unrequited love to begin with. 

In truth I have layered the book with all kinds of love.  There is absence, true love, and unrequited love, fear of love, love for family, selfish love, selfless love and sacrificial love. Of course the book is part of the Darkly Wood series so the reader will have to dig deep to see it all, because screaming across the frontal cortex of their brains will be the fear and tension of what creeps and crawls with you through the journey of the book.

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From my perspective as a writer I like to keep things simple while I never like to make things too obvious. In the book I have inked to life a particularly awful individual, someone far darker and more terrifying than anyone in the original Darkly Wood.  He was a huge challenge to write because of how he works his way through the book.  Much like Darkly Wood, in the sequel there are other peripheral stories that appear, but they are far more connected to the central story this time.  The pace is quicker and the theme is even darker but always it is very much about consequences.

In Darkly Wood, the reader discovers a multitude of events and characters with one central connection, Darkly Wood itself.  There are consequences for everything that they do and that theme is expanded upon and made clearer in the second book as the connecting thread is one very special person. I have very deliberately painted with sharper strokes to highlight how everything that we do has consequences. Even the smallest of things, decisions and things we don’t consider too much, can dramatically change our lives.

The joy I felt when I finished writing this book was akin to relief.  It was such an enormous challenge because I have a deep affection for the original Darkly Wood and I wanted to do it justice when I wrote the follow up.  I hope I have.

I know fans of the first book have been waiting patiently for the sequel which was delayed through my own personal health challenges last year, but I am pleased to say the wait is almost over.  When I hit publish for this article, the next thing I will publish is Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes.  The wait is almost over. Darkness is coming…

If you haven’t discovered the journey that is Darkly Wood yet, you can find it at the link below..

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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

IASD - globe 2

Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

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

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood



It’s all about the journey…

It’s all about the journey…

If like me you were a child of the 70’s in Ireland, which of course excludes a huge number of people,  but even if you weren’t, you will likely understand just how much the world has changed in such a short time.  I was schooled in a time when calculators weren’t around and I remember when the first one appeared in our school it was like something from NASA.

Everything was different.  I wore short trousers at the age of ten and only heathen Protestants didn’t go to mass on a Sunday.  Priests were Gods, Christian Brothers were our teachers and tormentors and the police or Gardaí as we called them were big monstrous Culchies (country folk) to be feared and respected in equal measure.

In the summer we trekked to the beach and ate sandwiches that contained ham, cheese, or ham and cheese, occasionally egg or egg salad which was basically egg, tomato and onion.  The wind blew sand into the sangers -it was Ireland after all and towels were used more to keep warm on the beach than to dry yourself off.   The water was always freezing and my Ma somehow boiled a kettle on a small gas primus stove to make sandy tea and we all had to protect the flame from the breeze to keep it going.


Television was as far from TV today as aeroplanes are from bicycles.  Flat screens were not even imagined and I lived in one channel land for much of my childhood.  We had RTE which kicked in at 5 pm and shut down before midnight and it always ended with the playing of the National Anthem.  When we finally entered multi-channel land, it was at the mercy of a giant aerial on top of the roof that picked up blotchy signals from across the Irish sea and we got glimpses of the BBC or LWT or HTV from Wales.

We watched Mannix, The Streets of San Francisco and Longstreet all imported from America and wondered at the size of the cars and the amount of coloured faces on the streets of America.  Hamburgers only appeared on our TV sets.  We had no Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut or any such fast food outlets.  We had chips from the chipper, with fish or anything else you could batter and deep fry.

Chocolate was a luxury and what little money we had we spent on the cheapest, nastiest sweets you could get.  6 Blackjacks for a ha’penny (Half penny) was way better value than spending a shilling on something big.  When it came to sweets we went for volume every time.  The local shop sold single cigarettes and a single match to children as though it wasn’t a problem and there were no tetra pak cartons or plastic containers.  Anything you drank came in a glass recyclable bottle. 

Dinner was meat and two veg at all times except when it was a fry up or a stew and grills were used only for toast, we fried our eggs in lard back then.  The juices from the meat were kept and valued and the fat was never cut off meat.  I ate Pigs feet, pig’s ears, lambs liver, and heart or kidneys were all on the menu.  Nothing was wasted and cheaper cuts of meat were often all my mother could afford. Foreign foods like spaghetti or chilli existed only on TV and my mother said spices were only used to cover up the taste of ‘gone off’ meat. 

Supermarkets were few and far between.  Everyone walked to the shops with shopping bags and shopping was done daily in a house where we had no fridge. Household appliances in general were in short supply, no washing machine, fridge of vacuum cleaner.  

We swept the floor and eventually got a Bissel carpet sweeper which was about as useful as a paper frying pan. Shoes were polished every Saturday night before Sunday mass and they went to the shoe maker for repairs when the heels wore down or the stitching split.  We wore hand-me-down’s and thought nothing of sharing the bath or bed with our siblings.  We were thought not to be proud because we couldn’t afford to be.


On the streets, we stood up for ourselves and our family and never made ‘a show of ourselves’ in public.  Sunday best was Sunday mass and it was there we showed off our finery but only for God.  Women wore scarves on their heads when they went to the shops and no one had a telephone in their house.  Everyone in the country had a family member that had emigrated and we wrote letters to foreign parts and waited eagerly for the returned letters to see the exotic stamps and imagine what wonderful places they might be.

Girls wore dresses, not trousers, they wore ribbons in their hair, patent leather dolly shoes and long white stockings.  They played skipping, beds, kick the can and bounced tennis balls off walls and us boys played separately except when we were bored.   We played Cowboys and Indians, marbles, caught bees in jars and butterflies in our cupped hands and none of us went inside until we were called for dinner.

It’s not just the big technological changes that mark the difference.  How can kids today imagine a world without mobile phones, texting, Facebook, touch screen technology or even the internet.  When I think of it, we walked everywhere or got public transport.  My dad had a car but you wouldn’t dream of asking him for a lift.   I can’t say we had it easy and I don’t espouse going back to the stone ages of my youth but there are so many things that technology has taken from our children and I think it would be no harm to return some of it to them.

I guess the freedom and wonder of playing is the one thing many children have lost.  We tore strips off each other, climbed, fell, tore clothes, broke shoes, got dirty and wet but it was mostly fun.  We learned so much in the interaction and grew through the freedom to make our own mistakes without our parents hovering about us worrying if we’d be ok.   My folks loved me sure, but they sent me out to play and didn’t expect me to come in until it was time for dinner.  We were wild and we were free like ponies galloping through the days.

When I write, I know how much I am influenced by my upbringing.  Not  just the through the freedom of playing but through one of the other great gifts I was given – literacy.  I read everything as a child, way beyond my reading age. In books I found adventure, escape and dreams.  I discovered a world of magic, heroes real and imagined, excitement, sorrow and heartache.   Those books set me off on a path that I still walk today only now; I share my stories and tell my tales.  I try to inject each new book with the same depth of passion that I found in all the wonderful stories I read throughout my life.


Perhaps the biggest writing challenge I have ever faced has been completing the sequel to Darkly Wood.  I only ever had a loose plan for the sequel so when I began writing it I discovered a whole new challenge especially as it will now be a three book series.  It was the first time I have had to consider keeping true to another book and that changed everything.  The writing part was easy but unfortunately through illness I walked away from the book for the best part of a year so going back to edit was a challenge.  In the process I changed quite a bit and I had to complete the outline for book three for it to make sense in my head.

Darkly Wood is such a unique book in many ways, a challenge in genre and style so Darkly Wood II needed to be equally special. I wanted it to be the same but different, so I went back in my head to all the wonderful memories I just spoke about from my childhood.  I sought out the happy places in my mind and the darker more terrifying memories.  I remember watching late night Saturday horror movies with Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee.  I tried to re-create not those stories but the feelings they stirred in me as a child.  I want the reader to feel every step, to sense the fear and dread.  I so desire to draw every reader along the winding path, anticipating the next terrible event, only to be waylaid and deceived into an even darker understanding of what is about to happen.

It is all about what is going to happen, for the journey through Darkly Wood should always be the destination.  As I prepare to publish my fifth book, the sequel to my first, I find that I am excited and apprehensive.  My books are like my children and I am about to once more set one of my children off into the world to play with strange children.  But like me when I was small, I hope my newest child will fly free like a wildling and find new friends along the way…. 

If you haven’t discovered the journey that is Darkly Wood yet, you can find it through the link below… For those who have… Get ready .. the darkness is about to return…


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

IASD - globe 2

Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

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

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

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

IASD - globe 2

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

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.

200w-1

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