Writing 9-5pm every day is great in theory. Until you’re stone broke and pure sick from drink. Some evenings you’d go out for one pint and end up rollerblading the prom at 4 in the morning, trying to keep your balance, with a can in one hand and a naggin in the other, and you never having rollerbladed before in your life.
You get up the next morning and you look at your computer and you know there isn’t a hope of making sense. That’s if you came home at all. Often you’d end up back at a house party of some crowd you’re only after meeting and you wake up on their floor not knowing who the hell they are. Your teeth feel like they’re wrapped in cotton wool and your tongue is welded to the roof of your mouth and you can still taste a toxic kebab from some Lebanese house of hygienic ill repute.
It mightn’t be as bad if you’d gone home, except for the strays you picked up along the way. You go down to the sitting room and there’s two or three bodies thrown on the floor, surrounded by empty cans and dead phones. And the garlic smell of perspired drink would knock a horse.
You know your housemates aren’t happy because it’s a Tuesday night and this sort of thing is not acceptable to “working people.” They were woken at 3am by Paddy pressing the doorbell and again at 4am by Laura looking for the toilet and walking into their bedroom. At 5am, James got in a fight with Tom about Northern Ireland and broke a bottle off the wall. Now there’s glass all over the floor and James and Tom are nowhere to be seen. When Laura came back from the toilet she wanted toast and raided all the presses til she found rashers and eggs and tried to cook them all. She burnt the rashers and set the smoke alarm off and got such a fright she spilled the saucepan of boiling eggs all over the floor. She eventually went to the 24 hour shop and bought a Jambon and a bar of chocolate and, when she returned, kept pressing the doorbell to get back in.
Then Paddy, full of Dutch Gold and courage, tried his case with Laura but she has a fella. They’d had a fight and he’s been ringing her all night but she won’t answer. She won’t put the phone on silent either. Eventually her and Paddy fall asleep on the ground in a spooning position and it’s just you and Gary drinking 50 cent Firken Brau lager from Lidl and talking shite about American politics and conspiracy theories around 9/11, and JFK, and Roswell and the Moon Landing.
So now it’s the morning and your head feels like it’s full of an expanding glacier of pain. You make a fuzzy attempt to clean up while the others sit around and watch. Laura’s trying to book a taxi but she doesn’t know the address. Paddy’s wondering where’s a good place to get a full Irish breakfast. Gary’s rolling a cigarette on the couch and says the Living Room is a great spot for food. And they do lovely Heineken. So we all go there and you promise to write twice as much tomorrow. To make up for today’s lost word count. Just need to eat first. And get some of that Heineken to take the edge off. And it’s Wednesday. And it’s not even noon.
Novel – El Niño (in Paperback).
El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn’t been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino’s wallet and then falls in love with her. She’s the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. She rocks Charlie’s world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough girl ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps them up all night – right through to it’s powerful finish.