An extract from [Untitled]: (A Meditation), published online by Osmosis Press

[Note: in case anyone is wondering, there are no arrangements to publish this book at this time]

First, some context.

In the latter months of 2020 I was driven to write something, particularly, to describe a moment. In this case a short period of time spent sitting outside a cottage on a summer evening with someone who meant everything to me. In and of itself there was little particularly noteworthy about that moment. Yes, we were together, and yes, given the pandemic, moments like this were rare, and with no end in sight could have remained rarer still.

No, apart from the simple enjoyment of that moment, and being in her company, the most important factor was that, within a little over three weeks of that evening, she would be dead from, then undiagnosed, Ovarian Cancer.

Whatever the loss of her has done to me as a person, it has completely overwhelmed my writing (everything I’ve written since then can attest to that).

Having described a simple moment together that evening I found myself driven to return to it. So, once per week for a little over a year afterwards, I sat down and described that moment outside the cottage, and whatever else came to mind as I was writing. My only real criteria, my only Oulipo-esque constraint if you will, was that I never re-read any of the previous descriptions. I left myself open to the moment, just sat, typed, and went through the moment again. Upon completion the only real alterations I made to the text were to add footnotes (some of which are attached to this extract).

I became interested to see what would happen. Would, after a year, my memory have altered, would my thoughts have changed, would I have achieved “closure”. Well, my experience was that none of these things happened. Apart from slight variations in my memory (some small details I’m sure changing from the earlier to the later entries), I felt the same. I also felt that continuing would change nothing, even if I were to continue to today.

I have offered the work as a meditation, in a sense I suppose that is what I was doing, repeating a moment the way someone meditating might repeat a mantra. I have also, elsewhere, called the work a keen, or a drone (possibly it being no coincidence that since September 2020, my interest in what is often described as ‘drone music’ has greatly increased). In writing I found myself in that moment in the same way I have found myself in other memories of that time.

I’m reminded constantly, when considering this work, of the lines from Chris Marker’s La Jetée

With what I can only describe as an act of writer’s ego I put these pieces together and called them a book. Having no plot, as such, no narrative, no progression, or no real resolution, it may not really count as a book at all, but it is what it is. I have tried submitting it to a few places, with no success, and may ultimately resort to self-publishing in some form (a future more likely to await all my longer works I begin to suspect).

But, in the meantime, the good people at Osmosis Press have been very kind to publish an extract on their website:

And, as for the title, [Untitled] wasn’t chosen as some sort of holding text, maybe, in a sense, because this is a non-book it deserves a non-book title, though I also felt an affinity with this, the last track from The Cure’s 1989 album, Disintegration:

“Tensile Testing” broadcast on Keywords

I recorded a short piece, which I called “Tensile Testing”, and which I was very happy to hear broadcast on RTE Radio 1 last night on the Keywords show.

The show is now available to listen to online here;

It’s also available as a podcast here;

If you can, please listen to the other shows in the series too.

My short story “Butterfly” in gorse#11

It may not look like it, if looking at my most recent posts, but it really is rare for me to have anything published (certainly in relation to the number of submissions I make). But, like busses, you wait long enough and a line of them show up all at once.

I’ve been a huge fan of gorse since the first issue, and consider it one of my greatest accomplishments to have been published in it before, something I now get to add to with the publication of my short story “Butterfly” in the latest issue (#11).

The current issue is presented as a tête-bêche, with two covers (as above), one representing North, one South, aligning with the consideration of borders being the theme of the issue (far better explained via the link below).

Anyone familiar with gorse will know it’s a worthwhile read, and I encourage anyone who can to get their hands on a copy.

“Into the Black”, an essay, in The Tangerine

I’ve never thought of myself as an essayist. When this was accepted, I made the comment to someone that it was my first attempt at an essay proper since my Leaving Certificate (not today or yesterday…), essays, or more strictly, academic essays, never really forming a large part of a civil engineering degree.

I’ve read many essays, and essay collections over the years, admiring the learning and technique, and also recall proofreading materials for a friend teaching English for Academic Purposes, explaining the structure and content of academic essays to students for whom English would not be a first language.

All this probably helps explain why I have never properly attempted an essay, until now.

Inspired, as I explain in the essay, by my chancing upon a piece of art created by Fred Tomaselli, I wrote an essay, and am delighted that the good people at The Tangerine have decided to publish it.

Through the essay I explore memory and grief, and how they both influence, and sometimes overwrite the ability to appreciate another’s narrative.

I’m especially happy that the editors of The Tangerine were able to secure permission to use an image of the creation of Fred Tomaselli; Mar 16 2020, which forms the backbone of the essay.

Anyone wanting to buy a copy of the journal can do so at:

I’m extremely happy with how the essay has turned out, and how it has been produced in the journal.

“Live Feed” now available online

My short piece “Live Feed” is now available to read online courtesy of the good people at Sublunary Editions

If anyone wishes to buy a copy of Firmament, containing my piece, and much more excellent content, it’s available here

Thanks again to Sublunary Editions for publishing it.

“Live Feed” in Firmament, available now

As I put this post together, the world of social media remains up in the air over the future of a particular site, you know the one, all because it was bought by, you know, yes, him.

If [the social media site that sounds like a small bird…] ever does disappear, my greatest sense of loss will probably be around the writers and publishers from around the world I’ve learned about, been able to follow, and in some cases interact with.

Without social media, I think it’s unlikely I would have come across Sublunary Editions, based in Seattle, publisher of, not only extremely high-quality literature in addition to, the quarterly journal Firmament.

I was very happy that they recently accepted a piece of mine, “Live Feed”, which has been published in the latest edition

The piece began as an exercise in the Fragmenting Experiences course given by Roe McDermott in the Irish Writers Centre (for anyone reading this in Ireland, I highly recommend the course), one I was able to expand, and happily now see in print.

Even though I am included, I still encourage anyone interested in writing to explore, both Firmament, and the work being produced by Sublunary Editions.

Hopefully the potential collapse of (this one aspect of) social media won’t mean we lose touch with such consistently interesting work.

My short story “Box” in The Liminal Review #3

I’m extremely happy to have my short story “Box” published in the latest issue of The Liminal Review

The variety of Irish literary journals may suggest there’s no shortage of avenues open for any writer operating in Ireland to publish their work, but as anyone trying to be published knows, the greater the number of journals, the greater the competition. So, it’s hugely gratifying when any journal decides to publish your work.

Please, if you can, enjoy my work, and the work of all of the contributors.

Return to Missé

It really has been a shitty few years. There’s no other way of putting it. From the global pandemic to the personal and private, there’s no other way of describing it.

In an effort to bring some semblance of a return to ‘normal’ life, I was finally able to return to the writing retreat at Circle of Missé in France.

To once again be looked after so well by Aaron and Wayne, and to live, temporarily at least, as a writer, was a huge balm to the soul.

It was great to return, even after three years it felt like stepping back into a comfortable home, and it was so nice to share the space with other writers, to eat, to drink, to talk, and to get a lot of work done.

I managed to get nearly 18k words written of a novel I’m working on. The week gave me the realisation that most of these words will be edited out, but in putting them down I have the foundation to pare it all down to the important words I need, so nothing is wasted.

I also got to see these two small paintings on a shelf on the top floor landing, which I think I’ve been haunted by for the last three years in one way or another (painted by a friend of the owners).

As with any attempt to reconnect with the pre-2020 world, there are times when you just have to reflect on those losses that hurt the most.

But the trip was, as I said, a balm for the soul, and of course I got to meet the new queen of Missé, Chips!

Story “We Will Sin Together” in Winter Papers #7

I’m overjoyed to see my short story “We Will Sin Together” included in the latest issue of the annual arts anthology Winter Papers (#7).

I’m in some incredible company, and strongly urge any who can to order a copy before it sells out.

When it comes to finding titles for my short stories, I often end up using little semi-cryptic words or phrases that have no meaning beyond private ones for me based on a memory or something they inspire. The alternative is just as likely to be a piece of music that I feel has some resonance with the story. That’s the case here, where listening to the song ‘We Will Sin Together’ by Jehnny Beth seemed the perfect fit for what I was trying to do.