(an expunging of my thoughts whirring ever madly-mainly non-fiction but ah you know yourself)

Victorian ladies took to their beds frequently, they had an attack of the vapours. The smelling salts ensued and bed rest. The ladies in question were all of a household income that could support such frequent repose.

Working class women did not get the vapours.

I took to my bed on Monday with lower left abdo pain again, combined with headaches and a cold. I dodn’t have an attack of the vapours but today all I had to do was drive two and a half miles and I thought I was running it. By the time I got home I was sweaty, out of breath and in need of being horizontal.

The argument of the house then ensues. “Go to the doctor” “there’s no need” “Ha” “I’ll be fine” “Yeah for sure” “Whatever”

In my non-vapourous though nevertheless fully hallucinogenic state I have had weird encounters with my writing mind. I have found a way to experience a situation I never want to experience again. It is all a question of perspective.

If we remove the judgement chip albeit momentarily from our heads to look at a situation from someone else’s perspective we can learn from it. For example a child screaming for chocolate whilst the mom or dad is trying to explain that a healthier option would be better (how likely!) So child stops screaming and ponders that their parent wants them to grow healthy and strong without the addiction to chocolate that they suffer from. The parent sees the screaming child and recognises themselves in the scream – they really want chocolate too. Compromise – one bar shared – twp happy peeps.

Looking at the fiction I am producing, the pure emotion is still there but the “heart on a sleeve” “woe is me” mentality is waning in the stories. I still tend to write in the first person and therefore everyone else is a little wooden, but perhaps there is some Pinocchio too, a little bit coming alive.

Tom said today that my writing was becoming more butterfly-ish, I think the practice is definitely helping with that. Karen wants me to potentially collaborate. Joe made me smile last week about ‘grandfather’ It is all coming together slowly.

But life is passing me by, as I lie down most of the day and night, my first appointment of the week cancelled, the second one tomorrow looming a little too close. The cold is decidedly more chest infection, the toe has to be seen again, the pain the side is like ovulation pain but without the possibility that that holds.

Three times that pain produced results, not results that your average Josephine Showergel would shout for joy over but I did. I wanted a football team, but was cut short. Husbands and doctors and families knowing better. Took me thirteen long years to come to some sort of peace about that. Now with my eggs shrivelled and dead I can no longer dream of football teams.

The dolphins on my ceiling want to shine in my eight foot square room, they want to dance among the stars and planets and so I must adieu and let them to their task.

fűr Elise

She couldn’t face church. She couldn’t face all those concerned looks, the sympathy, the empathy, the pity, the “I know how you feel”, the “let me tell you about my pain”. She just could not be amongst people who cared.


Instead she drove to the lake. 


Silence isn’t silent at the lake, the waves gently break onto the stones, Choughs and Wood Warblers sing to each other, grasshoppers and crickets make their moves. There is something quieting in the non-silence of the lake.


Her breathing forms a pattern, first designed thousands and thousands of years before, nature calming human. She cries out to God in the stillness, in the silence of her wrenched heart, she roars her name and the simply monosyllabic question “Why?”


She sits on a rock staring at the lake, her tears fall silently, splashing onto jeans. 


 She hadn’t spoken to anyone in five days except God, a constant embittered cry. 


For twenty one years she had been nursemaid, nurse, maid, food provider, medicine giver, physiotherapist, therapist, speech therapist, taxi, ambulance, so many roles but mostly mother, mostly love giver.


Her daughter, Elise, was famous locally as the girl who could. The doctors had given her zero chance of a life but Elise and Sylvie played by a different tune, they sang in harmony in life and loved living. 


Sylvie hadn’t just lost a daughter but had lost her job. It was called. So she sat on a rock grieving instead of being with people.


She had kept herself quiet, twenty one years of quiet. Elise had got worse recently, her breathing laboured more each day, she kept quiet. Quietly she took one milligram a day storing it in a bottle in the fridge. It was the only unhygenic thing she did around Elise.


Washing, scrubbing and wiping were part of her daily routine, but at what point can you cross the line and take a life in the name of love. Her pastor was fond of a few phrases, his favourite at the moment was “What would Jesus do?” She didn’t think Jesus would kill Elise. She knew he wouldn’t. 


“Why?” She screamed it into the air and inside she caught herself before screaming the rest of the question. She was grieving, but she was responsible too, could she live with that? 


In overdosing Elise she knew her life changed, she could go to a physical prison, she would always be in the prison she created. But no even a murderer gets forgiven. Murderer, she shuddered. Is that what she was? Oh Lord, forgive me, I thought I was doing the right thing for Elise. It was wrong. I am sorry.


A light rain came across the rock where she sat and looking up she saw the rainbow, thank you Lord.


Now she must go to church and meet all her friends, all Elise’ friends, all the friends of the family and be comforted, each new day will bring new joy, she knew but still she grieved. She had been set free, one day she would share her story but for now she would be as silent as Elise.


grace met

the drone from the radio cut through the silence
the letter with the diagnosis lay on the table surrounded by crumbs and spittle
grace lay still, on the floor where she had slid off the chair
mother, carer, confidence – she sat at the table
glancing at the letter, glancing at grace
eating her breakfast.

Yesterday like any other she was up at seven, getting Grace out of bed, washing her face, pulling on her clothes, making her laugh.
Yesterday at nine the man came to take Grace to the therapy centre, she went three times a week since she finished school.
Yesterday she wrote another article on advocacy of children with disabilities, posting it on her way to the clinic.
Yesterday she was positive – Grace was a blessing, teaching her so much about life, even battling cancer with a lighter touch.


that was Yesterday and today there is a letter. 
the letter came in the early morning post
she had no support to lean against whilst she read the damning report
husbands vanished, parents dead, siblings elsewhere
friends – people come and go as it suits them
she long ago stopped trying to keep them
grace didn’t move, she was never going to move again
she was half way through her breakfast
had she forgotten anything?

read letter again – three weeks to live
dress grace
make breakfast
add in enough valium to kill an elephant
feed grace
feed self
ring ex


ARTICLE (published in newspaper following week)
Watching my daughter interact with the world fills me with such pride. She cannot walk or hold her head up, she has no sight and can only respond to certain sounds, but, she loves her life. Her smile lights up the room, melting the coldest of hearts. She was born too early, with not enough immediate care, but she doesn’t know that. She has no concept of light and shape, she doesn’t know what the ground feels like as she walks on the grass. But to say she isn’t viable is wrong. To tell me that I made a wrong choice is a bad comment. My daughter and I live a different life and yet very similar to your own. We get up, we do chores, we eat breakfast and we go to work and school. Later we eat dinner and watch bad soaps on television and eat ice cream. Do not judge us if we make too much noise in the mall, if we can’t get through the doors that are not wide enough for the chair. Think before you speak. Befriend a parent with a disabled child. Speak to them – you may be the only one to do so all week. Most of all care, not pity but care about them.


getting a toe caught


technically it wasn’t a caught

I stubbed my broken toe in the supermarket so I was limping

To make it easier and less painful I turned the trolley sideways

This gave great relief


When I went outside to the van it caught in a drain somehow and the trolley tipped over

Landing on my broken toe

Such pain

Four really nice Tralee people helped me with the food – all over the car park

So kind, so thoughtful, so nice.

In the van driving I cried, it so hurt.

I stopped at “Jam” for coffee, cappuccinos can make even the sorest toe less so!

I was reading, sipping coffee, basking in sunshine, crying.

Crying because it hurt but also crying in pity – self pity.

I read about this guy on a cross, not Jesus, the one next to him, the one that asked Jesus to remember him.

42 Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Luke 23

He didn’t ask for pity, he didn’t ask for a place, he just asked to be remembered. He was in pain, his hands were pierced, his feet were pierced and yet he knew Jesus for who he was.

He asked to be remembered by the one person who could remember, he asked God to remember him.

Put my pity party into perspective.  

Eternal life does not start when we die. This guy was nearly dead, he was dying on a cross on a rubbish dump outside Jerusalem. He spoke of hope, he spoke of truth, he spoke of accepting judgement, he admitted his sins.

He admitted his sins before Jesus on the Cross, he asked to be remembered, he was unworthy of a place at the table, he was unworthy of eating the crumbs

He got a family seat at the table of the Lord, minutes or hours before his earthly death. What a blessing we have.

We are assured of that seat at the family table of the Lord.

I stopped crying, I still had to get home on a painful broken toe but the pity was gone, the look at me I am soooo sad pity, the pity party of one was over.

I sang to the Lord on the rest of my journey

So grateful

grandfather memories


photo by Cynthia Closkey

My grandfather got a real velvet cap for playing rugby for his county, he was more proud of the teeth lost in a brawl on the pitch. I used to pull his whiskers when he was asleep.

He taught me how to gamble, fruit machines were his vice, I raised a glass of bubbly to him in Vegas when I won twenty thou. I raised a glass of water to him in my sobriety on his birthday this year.

He gave me cooking sherry from the age of eight, it made me “a-meen-able” he said. I remember floating in the ether of nothingness, happily hovering above images I didn’t understand. I have a garden with no shed and I grow vegetables, my children eat from the garden.

He sold dried tray meals that could be reconstituted with hot water, granny would not have them in the house so we ate them in the shed where no one would find us, after the “a-pear-a teeve” and the odd feelings. We don’t speak ill of the dead in Ireland.

I loved my grandfather more than any of my other relatives. He loved me best too. We loved with a passion. He died before I reached thirteen. I cried buckets at the funeral. There was a girl there, she looked like me, she cried too.


a tale of two toes


Exegesis lesson learned


The dating of the events of the bible is helpful in respects to the historical background. For example if one of the prophets is talking about a huge destruction and we can date the writing to around the destruction of Jerusalem we can see the writing in the context of the event.


Obadiah wrote about the judgement of God. It is set around an event of great destruction. In the writing it doesn’t go into the detail of where the destruction was. The “WHY” for that we will come back to. These big huge scholarly types from past and present have presented arguments for the placing of the writing to two events in Old Testament times: 845 B.Cthe revolt of Edom against Judah and the Philistine and Arabian attacks on Judah and Jerusalem in Jehoram’s time and 586 B.C., the destruction of Jerusalem. There is 260 years difference and yet there is still destruction.

A bit like now, in the present age, in two hundred years there is a whole pile of destruction and depending on your own point of view depends on where on that timeline you place something.

I was watching “Reeling in the Years” in casualty last night and Bloody Sunday was shown. Depending which side, or which paper ou were reading at the time depends upon your take on the events until…A new version of events was put forward from the Saville Inquiry in 2010, twenty eight years after the event. In the background of the newsreel a song from the year 1972. “The first time ever I saw your face” by Roberta Flack, the three things coincided – the music, the newsreel and my hurt toe and I cried unpretty tears for the loss of life, for things that happened as a result of a skewed sense of history, because I’ll never sing like Roberta Flack, my toe hurt and I was in my fourth hour of waiting in casualty.

How does this help with dating something in the Bible. Two years ago in August I broke my toe, up to Thursday this week if I was to mention “I broke my toe” people would know the event I was talking about: ~August 2010 when I broke my toe, went on sick leave and never returned to work. Now though, I have had two broken toe incidences so in the future I need to qualify which toe event I am referring to. 

For example an undated letter mentioning my toe breaking being the worst thing ever to happen in my life could be dated as 2010 because I didn’t return to work or 2012 because (I don’t know yet!) Not being one to see things in terms of the worst thing anymore I would be looking at how in the breaking of a toe a lesson can be learned.

For fullness and to return to Obadiah where I began. For our lives, for the lessons we need to learn because of this writing does the date matter? We can look at how things changed after each event, what is most important to us though, now, is how we need to watch in ourselves against pride and sin. Priide deceives and sends us off sinning which leads us on a path. In the piece complacency leads to participation in the world and of the world. There’s more, I wonder…