Category Archives: Writing

Trundling along…

So, I get up at 5am, am at my desk by 5.30 am to answer work emails, then at 6.30 am get big guy up, we all leave at 7.30 am, I aim to be at my desk by 8.30 am after dropping big guy off, then workcoffeeworkcoffeeworkcoffee, then leave to pick him up at 4.00 pm, homework, housework, prep dinner, pick up the other half between 6pm and 8pm, bath and bed for big guy, dinner and coffee for me and other half, then work emails, and bed by 10.30 pm, after makelunchesclothesoutplanthenextdaygotobedoldwoman.

So unsurprisingly the creative urge is flat.

September is always like this though, I’m not worried by it. What will happen is that the emails will slow, the nights will get darker, and I’ll have more time to think. To decide on certain movements in the work; where the drama will peak, where the comedy will flow. I’ll be able to create terrible moments for my characters without a second thought; right now I’m so tired all the time any pain for them is too much to bear.

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I just finished this; nothing bad happens. NOTHING! Not a thing! Perfect!

I wish you all the silence and rest of a bookshop just for you. Night night.


A Well Worn Post

See, it’s not just the first day that’s the killer, it’s the tenth day, or the seventy-four day, or the eighty-ninth day. And now we head into the heady heights of the first day of the first semester, ooh, I’m just all alive with excitement.

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It’s hard to keep the plotting going, really what I need to do is to come up with ten really good scenes, and just continue on from there. Mostly what I really want to do is to eat cake and sleep, neither of which I will allow myself right now.

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Right, good night all.



This is when time lies.

It is 10.38 pm as I write, and this is when I get my second wind. I want to stay up and entertain myself, to take part in fooleries or foolishness, and ignore my exhaustion. I am exhausted, the kind of exhaustion that can only be removed by sleep, and so I have to go to bed; ideally, I should be there right now.

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Wednesday saw me take on some exercise, and now I hurt all over. I enjoyed it a great deal, but wow must I be out of shape. 25 minutes, and I’m in agony? I really don’t know what fitness is…

I was so tired this morning I couldn’t even write at 5am, I went back to bed.

Okay, now I’m exhausted. Night night all.

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A six minute story.

A six minute blog.

So there once was an old woman who didn’t live in a shoe, what kind of affordable housing is that no she had a normal house and garden that could do with more work but hell she was busy don’t judge her and she managed to come up with a salary of sorts to keep the wolf from the door and she found she was hungry for more from her life more than could be sated with occasional trips to the library and the far side of the shopping centre so one day she decided to follow a man off the bus, no real reason, she just liked the look of the back of his head and he got off at a park and walked across it and she followed him across the park with a bored fascination wondering where her wondering about him would lead her and she followed him out the other side of the park, into the light and the streets again and she saw that he was alone still and she saw her face watching his face while he waited for the Luas and she found that instead of following him, he lead her to her own face, a face too bored and that had seen nothing even when it had see everything and she let him get on the Luas without her and she went to get a coffee some skinny cappuccino nothing too heavy while she tried to think about her life, because she needed to change things, needed things to change, but lets not get too crazy here, a hundred calories a pop otherwise, have to think of the small things, what was she saying? Something about change?

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Back to Square One

So, Friday was a difficult day, and such days do happen. Still, I was left grateful I was me by the end of it. I was waiting in the petrol station, waiting for the woman in front of me to finish putting fuel into her car. When I noticed her face turning to a look of horror, as she stared at the petrol pump in her hand. I gave her a look of ‘are you alright?’, only to have her mouth the words ‘Wrong petrol’ to me: petrol in a diesel car. Oh god the poor thing. I have a diesel car too, and I have a huge fear of doing the exact same thing. And if you do put petrol in a diesel car, and turn on the engine, you will never be able to use the car again. The only thing you can do is call the tow truck, have your fuel tank completely siphoned off, and hope for the best. I gave her some chocolates to keep her company while she waited, and headed on home. There, it was the other half’s birthday, and the wonderful Fiona of Tasty Treats (see here) had done some fantastic biscuits. And we went on to dinner in Dundrum and I ate very well. But I did break my diet.

Saturday saw me still exhausted, and very much eager for my own company. I do think writing or any personal creative endeavour can do that to a person’s mind, they need time by themselves to reflect and recuperate. I went to bed early, avoided all mention of social media, and slept.

Sunday saw me rereading a marvellous anthology I have, The Assassin’s Cloak. It is an anthology of diaries, presented chronologically, so one can look up, say, the 5th of May, and see all manner of entries for that date. It means you can see the concerns of Pepys in London during the reign of Charles the II, or the illness of Souter in 1903, the passage of the war in the 1940s across the world, the rebelliousness of the 1970s, and the newspaper concerns of Derek Jarman in the 1980s. Literature solves almost everything, I find.  To connect with other minds from the comfort of your own home, on a rainy Sunday, seems to be really such a pleasure.

And what I learned rereading that book, was that no one has any certainty about life. Everyone, from generals to princes to teenage girls hiding from Nazis, is unclear about the future, unsure about their own skills, and only able to see the way in hindsight. There is no clear cut way, no shortcut, no certainty to life. That is very much the human condition. And that has never changed.

Right. I have to away to bed. School starts again tomorrow. Wish us all luck.

A Breakthrough

So, being as busy as I am, it is always difficult to find the time to do the things that are solely for me. That means that if they are to be done, sacrifices have to be made.

So I write at 5am.

I get up in the dark Monday to Friday and sit at the computer, and write. After about two years of editing I have finished a novel, and am at the moment starting to turn my attention to a second novel. I say starting, because since I finished the current editing process for the first one, I’ve found it quite difficult to get going on the second one. I had a reduced time, for one thing, as I had to be out of the house earlier during the summer.  So lots of early starts, but not much to show for it.

But today, something clicked. Maybe the light is changing towards Autumn and I’m entering a ‘Return To School’ mindset. But today I sat down at the desk and plotted the first half out, no gaps or delays. The alarm to start the rest of the day went off at 6.30 am (what, me humble brag?), and I was honestly surprised, the time had gone so fast.

Of course, I’m exhausted. An analogy is as if you flap your arms fast enough, you’ll fly. But you’ll be tired for the rest of the day. And you’ll miss that sensation until you get back to it.

Right. Time for bed. Night night.

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Time for bed

So the interesting point to note is that any day with real action required sees me completely drained by 6pm. I had two long meetings today, and I was honesty falling asleep when I was playing with Big guy when I got home.

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also discovered that I will go ahead and make bad food choices when I’m that tired. Chinese again tonight, so I have to get back on the wagon tomorrow and make amends for it. I simply don’t have anything left to give when I get that tired. The better option is to just ensure I don’t get that tired, or that hungry.  Of course, if I knew that was the case, I’d be able to avoid it…

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I’m over tired and I have to do it all over again tomorrow. One thing I did manage to do this morning was to start plotting out the sequel, so I can be glad that happened.

Right, back to the grindstone. Good night sisters.

A New Day, A New Me…

… must be the most tired sentiment ever.  However, I am old and experienced enough to know that sometimes, inventory must be taken, and when something must be changed you should change it.

So. There are 144 days until the New Year, and this is what is going to happen.*

  • No sugar
  • No carbs
  • Daily exercise; either five minutes or thirty or an hour, but no zero days.
  • Writing every day. This blog, finish that novella, short stories, whatever. Ideally start the sequel to the novel I just finished. But no zero days. And, no, TWITTER DOES NOT COUNT.
  • Keep the son’s learning going.
  • Stay very much away from social media. It’s as pervasive as sugar and just as toxic.
  • Save money like a mad thing. You need it to get away from rental fun and neighbours and terraced houses and all of it.

It is entirely possible I will be bringing you, my dear reader, on this delightful ride with me. I know that you must only wonder what delights we will see together. Rest assured, you will find me very, very, hangry.

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*Yes it WILL don’t you JUDGE me it’s NOT a PHASE!!

Walking counts, right?

Monday – no exercise. No jog, no swim. The weekend had left me less than energetic, and the pouring rain certainly didn’t help. Bold Claire. Try again tomorrow.


Tuesday – right, no more procrastination. I made myself get into work as early as I could and get into my swimming gear. I’d been here before last week, when I didn’t really feel any joy at being in the water, and I frankly ‘parented’ myself into it again today. I got into the medium speed lane again, secured my goggles, and pushed off the edge.

And booom, the old push and sway was right back there. I pushed off that edge like a fish being freed again, and all the old skill I’d had was right back there with me; keep to the top of the water, make your movements smooth and clean, get into the rhythm and keep it going.

As I swam, I noticed the pool filling up. UCD is lucky enough to host the Women’s’ Rugby Tournament this year, and the campus is filled with teams from all over the world getting ready to compete. The gym and pool is no different, and a team were there this morning to get some recovery swims in. They’re strong, with all the various body types you might expect of a rugby team. I am by political leanings a feminist, but by culture I’m sexist; I’m still surprised when society puts women first without qualification. To have these women given resources, and priority, and emphasis, is a strange state for me. As I watched one figure happily swim past me, I realised I’d never seen a woman succeed for her own sake.

Men win in movies because they are the Hero. Women win in movies so they can get the guy.

Women are never heroes by themselves. They never succeed unless they succeed just-so-far and no farther. Women are not the default, they’re the reward, and that is an area I should grow a bit in.

Anyways. I got out of the pool and got ready. I’m still too slow on that one, I find.


Wednesday – no work, rest day, alalallalalllaa


Thursday; Run! Run fast! Home, shoes on, out the door! I pushed myself very hard and managed to… maintain the same speed. I would have hoped I could cut more time off it, but I didn’t. Standing at my front door, trying to breathe, I told myself it didn’t matter. What was I going to do, give up? No, I was not. Maintain, fall back, get better; it doesn’t matter, just keep going.


Friday – Rest day


Saturday & Sunday – See, I was actually full of good intentions on Thursday? And I did indeed manage to get a lot done, both for work and for exercise? But on Saturday I headed down to the sister’s for the weekend. They have a lovely home down there, and kids that still fake liking the mad aunt, and a dog so my beloved angel adores it too, and all of it. So by 11am off we went in the car to enjoy the weekend. The older I get the more I love getting out of Dublin, and I’m never down enough in Kilkenny for my liking, I miss the place very much. So it was fantastic, frankly, to recognise the hills in the distance as we went on down the country. The weekend was very much waterlogged. We had a long walk on Sunday morning just before there was a break in the rain, out in the woods called The Islands, and that took a good hour, so I am calling that exercise.


3 folks walking

The woman in the middle is one of the best people in the world. In case you were wondering. 

We even found a car; a passat had been pushed off the road, all the windows smashed. The more I looked at it the more I was convinced it had just been put there; the weeds were wilted, the upholstery was dry, and the thread marks weren’t pushed down. We rang the guards and told them about it, but something about it troubled me; They would have had to drive in the pitch dark and then walk back the same way. That’s a lot of effort for just a joyride.


Broken car


It started to rain. We got just wet enough so that we were grateful to be back at our cars and get cosy. The rest of the day was a deluge, and I spent it reading and looking out of the window, tututing and going back to my book.  Hard life.

Purple woodlands

Like, really hard.

While I was down there, I had another idea for a novel;  a beginners cooking class focusing on Desserts. You could see each of the people taking part in the class, and learn about them as the cooking class goes on. The book should include the actual recipes as well, so that a person buying the book would have the chance to learn to cook it too. Yes, it is a bit Maeve Binchy, but frankly there’s nothing wrong with that. The title came to me this morning as I was putting on my mascara; “Sweet Things For Beginners.” And a cover in pink. Hmm, I like that.

But no exercise make Claire lose the point of the blog. I want to go for a quick jog today, and will update this blog this weekend. Don’t lose hope! I will be back!

The Fun that is week three.


So. After the fun that was last week, I decided to keep going, and on Saturday morning early headed out to do my run. I wasn’t too worried about the time, I just kept going until I  had a couple of miles down. Then it was back home.

“Mummy!” my little angel greeted me. “You’re all pink!”

No I did not take a picture, go look at a daisy.

Ah bless. Yes, pale skin and red hair and flushed face means Mum look all pretty. I had my shower and cleaned up, ate breakfast, tidied up. Then it was out of the house for a bit. The other half needed to get some parcels from the post office, so I headed down in the car. Walking away from the parked car I noticed something.




Ow. Ow ow ow. 

My left hip felt like someone had wretched it out and hurriedly put it back in again. I limped into the post office, got the parcels, then back to the car. It felt like I needed to put myself in some weird position to get the ache out of my limbs, but I had no idea how.

Then, that afternoon, it was time to take the car to the NCT place in Deansgrange. The kid was happy (at first) to watch them have a look at it, but became convinced that they were stealing it. Coping with that and growing dehydration wasn’t good. Back home, I headed down to the local shop to get dinner, then ate and then bath for kiddo, followed by bed for me, honestly glad there was no scheduled exercise for a few days.

Sunday: get away from me, rest day.

Monday: Was lucky enough to see the in-laws, and to hang out with my very cool sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It was supposed to be a ‘simple tapas thingie’, but my mother-in-law managed to present the most sophisticated buffet out of no-where. We sat in the garden and relaxed, not really caring that the rain was coming down. I drove us all home, glad of the few days off work.

Tuesday: Right! Home from work, time to get twenty minutes in. I managed to cut two minutes off the time, so hurrah for me. It is getting easier, but one thing about getting older is that you notice your improvement speed is slower, as is your recovery time. Still. I feel much better these days, so much so that I’ll be able to pose laughing over a bowl of salad any minute now.

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Oh asparagus, you just get me…


Wednesday: Rest day, ha ha!



Honestly not sure if I can find the time today. Lots of lovely meetings.



I went swimming.

And it was a lot better than before; the rhythm was much more present, and I got it done with not a bit of bother. Still taking far too long to get ready afterwards, however.

I was supposed to go away this weekend, but had to change them, which means mentally I have no plans to go running today, Sunday. But needs must. Will see how we get on.


The plan for next week is:

Monday – Rest day

Tuesday – run after work

Wednesday – Rest day

Thursday – Swim at lunch

Friday – Rest day

Sunday – Run

So now you know too and should feel duty bound, dear reader, to remind me if I fail. Anyways, keep her lit!