Full Stop

The screen that first looked back in blank defiance

The defiant North typing up the drama queen’s highway

The crowning of her and him with words they’ll never see

The sight of the first of a million abortion stories already told

The last shelter of cherished anonymity giving it away for free

The feeling of standing beneath a downpour of thoughts unblocked

The poring over of puddles of muddles without a reigncoat on

The top fives, the Bono-bashing, the back-tracking, the track-listing

The listlessness, the taking the pissness, the carelessness

The fall into a deep comma, the semi-colonoscopies and

The

Final…

.

 

The long goodbye

Sometimes this blog reminds me of a slow lingering break-up I endured in my late 20s/early 30s/early 60s. You know instinctively that once the love has faded, it’s impossible to rekindle. But that didn’t stop me from unpicking the wound before it had a chance to stop bleeding nevermind hatch a scab.

We’ve had the silent treatment, the exasperated sighs of it’s-not-you-it’s-me. I even went so far as to delete all remnants of the url and change the lock. There was also final rolling credits so there would be no mistaking it for a quick commercial break. I began to see other social media without really enjoying the promiscuity. But I could always be seduced by the unfettered sound of my own voice. The familiar scent of anonymity reeling me in back onto the unmade keyboard to undress thoughts from the banal to the ridiculous.

The fee on this blog expires on Sunday next. I’m not going to renew it. Readers move on, and eventually writers catch up with them as they lose their zeal and their motivations stray elsewhere.  The desire to write hasn’t waned, it just needs a new hanger to avoid further creases. Being a mixed ability person, it took me a while to twig this. That I stuck at a blog for three years is an unrivalled feat, as those of you who know me can verify.  I am not known for my sticking power. Or staying in the same place too long. And only two of you know me back on Earth.

Anonymity is fast-becoming a dirty word, which seems a shame.  It is a safe place for the reluctant speaker. A pixelated photo disguising folk to give them freedom to think and protect those around them. And yet, in its own not entirely unpredictable way, anonymity has managed to grip my flow in a headlock. It’s a relief of sorts because even I no longer enjoy the rigid privacy. Hey, ask me anything. Still, all credit to it for giving me a workshop to store my scraps of thoughts and tinker about with them in peace.

For a woman with too much to say at times, I was surprised my own favourite works were those cobbled together from few words. So, I’m thinking of downsizing and trading in lengthy posts for a crack at shorter formats. I might throw myself into a poetry workshop of some sort. By some sort, I mean an on-line version where I can avoid civility, eye-contact, and shame. I might even get a blo… oh, nothing .

Thanks a million for giving me an aul follow and crowd-funding my own form of madness with your presence. Next stop with a few of you is a pint. It’ll happen some time. G’luck with your own respective life-enduring endeavours. You’ve got to do what you must. Blogger today, Enya-impersonating taxidermist tomorrow. Who knows.

So long.

Insert awkward hug here.

Reader satisfaction survey

To mark the third anniversary of the blog, we have launched a competition to win an evening for two with two of my personalities.

To enter, please complete the survey below.

Multiple choice – no answers too few or too many.

Many thanks for your cooperation

Winners will be denounced shortly.

Month’s mind

Losing your faith on a pilgrimage to The Holy Land. That still cracks me up. There you are in the photograph, all 46 mother-of-four years of you, flanked by camel humps in those ridiculous square shades that devour your face, high up presiding over your travelling companions like The Queen of Pop-socks herself.

No spa breaks back then, just a girly week in Jerusalem with a pick ‘n’ mix of the habited and the devotional. And you. No furious ten-page follow-up message-board dissection. No outburst of empathy from strangers at the touch of a keypad, just an indelible question mark left next to your thoughts on the point of it all. And there it stays, mostly, until one of their kind gets a rise out of you obliging you to roar obscenities at the wireless and demand they “get a life”.

And still you occasionally slip into their place of worship on a Saturday night to bow your head and try to square all the question marks with the inevitabilities that befall your family, passed away and present, members of which you email occasionally when you can be bothered despite your virtuoso typist past. Google is an order you give your grandchildren.

I tell you I started this blog thing last month, as a hobby mainly, a way to relax since there’s not a hope of me losing the will to live entirely by going running, or cooking, or cleaning. I half expect you to ask if I’m coming out of writing retirement after twenty years but you’re already lost in your Sudoku. We thought you had it bad with the crossword. Remember when you flew to visit me and leaned over in the taxi with the paper wondering what I thought 5 across could be? Some addictions don’t require Wi-Fi.

Tomorrow, after we clear up, and your son-in-law cajoles your granddaughter up to bed, I’ll slouch on to the sofa reaching for the laptop. You’ll come in looking for your umbrella (“just in case”), and each of us will slide into our respective back pews to join the herd for a while, collect our thoughts, and zone out in the only way we know how.

In response to intractable listlessness: A request for lists for the great list of lists

Dedicated to listophile and all round daycint spud, Tric over at My Thoughts On a Page 

So far I have..

Things I’d like to be able to do if ability was not a barrier

Things I’d like to able to do if suspension of disbelief was possible

Things I think I can do reasonably OK

People whose citizenship I’d revoke for being so annoying (in my town)

2017 transgressions I committed that increases my changes of going to hell

Ireland’s sacred cows part 33

Inanimate objects I am rather hostile towards

Things on which I experience only intense indifference about

Songs that scared the shite out of me as a nipper and still do

Words that make me wince

Desert Island swear words

All suggestions welcome. Nay, implored. No, actually, essential.

Thank you (and you also down the back). You’re both lovely.

16 from ’16

Sadhbh over at Where Wishes Come From has been running an end-of-year blog round-up for the last few years. I tend not to participate in these as I’m a lazy-arse and my blog seems to embarrassingly wander all over the place. But never one to miss out on a re-visit to the sound of my own voice, I had a browse through my blogging efforts for the past year. Despite the hap-hazardous feel to it all, I’ve noticed a few themes emerging over the years. So, here goes…

  1. Mangled lyrics post of the year 
  2. The obligatory Breda O’Brien bashing post of the year 
  3. In which I made it to one decent gig. Phew 
  4. What I got up to when I was left on my own unsupervised that time 
  5. Another break-up 
  6. In which I insult another hero 
  7. Indulgent chin-stroking
  8. In which I was actually happy 
  9. In which I was happy and sad at the same time
  10. This year’s brush with the law
  11. Sigh. Not the Rose of Tralee again? Yes, the Rose of Tralee again 
  12. The cliched letter to my…daughter 
  13. The unavoidable letters from a daughter 
  14. Re-blog of the year 
  15. Bono-bashing post of the year that wasn’t even written this year 
  16. Road-trip of the year

I will strive to maintain consistency in 2017.

Do join in the round-up. Sadhbh is very friendly. And she will also tell you how to pronounce her name.

tinkerbell

(Not Sadhbh)

Edge of Seventeen

Next year will be different.

Next year I will combat the creeping suspicion that integrated  education is merely a subtle form of middle-class Unionist assimilation. I will do this with steadfast determination to tether it to my own terms. I will sheepishly deliver our girl to class after the Remembrance Assembly but this time armed with an unapologetic reason why, if asked. I will swerve to avoid collisions with groups of more than one parent in the yard and forbid myself the possibility of a re-run of Facebook-Gate 2016. I will suppress the pleasure of taking the piss out of myself at all costs for fear I will re-awaken the sensitivities and antipathy of other parents. I will defiantly goose-step over landmines of emoticons, smiles, thumbs up, likes, and all manner of paraphernalia of the passive aggressive and paranoid. I will restore some of my credibility by refusing to wear clown-feet red boots when striving to be taken seriously.

redboots

Could you wear these and stroke your chin at the same time?

Next year will be different

Next year there will be more women than Lynn Ruane single-handedly serving as a vital visible counter-point to prevailing mainstream middle-class feminism. Traveller women, working class women, and women for whom English is not their first language but for whom Ireland is their first shot at stable family life, will not be confined to the following:

  • 10 minutes of air-time on open-air trucks at annual marches
  • 10 hours of patronising twitter admiration following the above
  • 51 weeks of obscurity till the next time

There will be plain English to rival the paradigms and intersectionality and tone-police-policing of the custodians of public discussion on equality.

Next year will be different

Next year there will be more films, less vengeful fantasies involving neighbours hatched in response to the casual erection of their corrugated monstrosity impeding my view of sun-set. There will be more maybes, less yeses, and more emphatic nos.

Next year will be different

Next year I will no longer labour under the notion of reconciliation. As the final tranche of European Peace monies pour into the coffers of local government, I will confidently, and correctly, predict the successful squandering of same. At a ratio of three managers to every one community worker. The most successful reconciliation will be Sinn Fein with their insatiable sense of entitlement. Where I live, anyway. Aided and abetted by deference of weak-willed management with imagination institutionalised out of them. There will be fewer fucks given. Just a steely resolve to rise above the bullshit through the ancient scientific application of rolled eyes and a reasonable day’s work for a shit day’s pay at the end of it.

Next year will be different

Next year will be lined with coastlines. And coast-hangers. And ward robes with mountains of closed bags filled with skirt-arounds never worn and ill-fitting dressing-downs and scuffed shoo-ins.

Next year will be different

Next year I will go wherever the keyboard takes me. The words will take the wheel while I continue to enjoy the scenery.

Happy New Year.