Halloween but why…?

When I was young the main feature of this time of year was called ‘guising’ and was pretty embarrassing. You had to go round people’s houses and ‘do a party piece’ for them and in return get some sweets. I never wanted sweets that much! I couldn’t do more than tell the lamest joke. You’d never have got me singing in public (I faced enough family ridicule when I tried to sing in private) and there didn’t seem much else a five year old could do to entertain the neighbours.  Especially not when dressed up in some lame costume.

The first film I saw (stick with me here, this will all come together) was The Wizard of Oz and it terrified me. I had nightmares about the green faced witch for months. I convinced myself that if I lay still, on my back, in my bed I’d be safe. I misinterpreted the line ‘and the dreams you dare to dream really do come true’  to mean that if I dreamed about the witch she would come true.  This was my first introduction into a fear of witches, ghosts and the supernatural.

But for me, that time of year was more about building a ‘guy’ and going round asking for a penny for it (easier than guising!) and then burning it on a bonfire in which we baked potatoes (so it wasn’t all bad!).  We at least knew who Guy Fawkes was (and I always felt kind of sorry for him, so quickly gave up on the effigy building)  And ‘Fireworks’ night was not without its own fears.   I remember going to a family friends fireworks party held in their garden and the dad wasn’t that careful and a spark got into the box of fireworks and I remember being chased down the garden into the house by a load of horizontal rockets.  It may not have been the same day (childhood does tend to merge such memories) but the daughter of the house (as I remember, on that day) ran through the glass fronted door and was carted off to hospital amidst much blood and had a lot of skin grafting on arms and legs.

Okay. Maybe now you can see why I’m a bit nervous of Halloween and fireworks and this time of year in general. Or maybe this is exactly the kind of tale you enjoy at this time of year?

I was not much older when things happened that meant that my life changed irrevocably and I subsequently grew up in circumstances which today would be called ‘domestic abuse’ but for me were just years of constant fear interspersed with random acts of extreme violence (often around ‘events’ such as Christmas and, yes, Halloween). So I became somewhat ‘risk averse’ and disinclined to engage with anything that promoted fear – I had enough fear in real life  not to go seek it out in fiction.

Which brings me to my real point. I’m wondering what it is that makes people so enamoured of the whole ghosty, Halloweeny thing?  It’s a genuine question. I’m not disparaging it, I just cannot ‘get’ it. I accept this is because of my own unique and strange ‘personal’ life experience.  But I want to know.

I have always worked on the premise that people like ‘horror’ stories because they come to them from a ‘place of safety.’ That they don’t believe these awful things could actually happen, or not to them.  Is it just a bit of fun?  I find it hard to understand how one can engage with the notion of zombies or ghosts or whatever as a rational adult other than as some form of escapism, and I cannot understand why one would ever want to ‘escape’ into fear.  But I’d really like to know. Because I can never find out for myself.  I’m still too scared of the whole thing. It took me into my 40’s to find a ‘place of safety’ in my life and I’m not inclined to leave it.  I have nothing I want to escape from any more.

When in my late teens I tried to ‘man up’ and engage with the genre, I watched a Stephen King horror film -‘Carrie’ and it left me a complete gibbering wreck.  I still get completely freaked if anyone stands around behind me. I tried again. I read my way through the Gothic Horror Novels of the 18th and 19th century. Actually I liked them. I liked Frankenstein and Dracula in their original forms because they didn’t seem about ‘horror’ to me but about society and sexual repression.  The ‘fear’ factor wasn’t there for me. I didn’t think any of this would happen ‘to me.’  But point me in the direction of anything resembling intense psychological fear and/or horror and I just can’t handle it. So I’ll never learn what it is and why it is that people write and read these genres unless I ask people to tell me why they read/write the things.  And I do, really, want to know.

So if you are into zombies, ghosts, horror, or psychological thriller and can explain to me why films and books of these genres are so compelling to folks, please leave a comment and start a debate.

And if anyone can explain why it is that ‘guising’ has turned into Trick or Treat and the entire world seems to become swathed in cheap plastic (and other materials) crap for a month when we are in a time of economic recession and why we choose to ‘entertain’ ourselves by parties where ‘fear’ is the key, I’d be glad to hear about that too!  Me, I’ll be staying indoors until long after the last firework has sped its way vertically or horizontally into space.

I just can’t help but thinking that there must be plenty of other people (and not just animals) for whom the setting off of explosives (something we try to avoid all the rest of the year except in a war situation) and general ‘fear’ factor is quite difficult to take. And yet, all around me, everyone seems to be ‘getting into the spirit’ of Halloween and as usual, I am in danger of being a party pooper.  I hope at least you’ll understand where I’m coming from.  But do please, give me your best reasons why it is that this is such a GOOD and POPULAR thing.  It will serve as an education for me, and maybe even as therapy.

Gone but never forgotten

Jake died 4 years ago today. Some of his finest moments captured on video…  it’s good to remember.


Been quiet, been busy.

When you don’t hear from me for a bit on this site it’s because I’m ‘up to things’ on other sites.

This week sees the Guerrilla Midgie publication of THE PRICE OF FAME a debut short story by Kirsty Eccles. In the wake of the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal it’s clear that a lot more talking needs to be done about child abuse.  It’s not all about the BBC and their internal policies (fascinating though that is!?!) and we need to be sure the more important issues don’t get sidetracked. Jimmy Savile was not the only man abusing power (celebrity or otherwise) and this is not a ‘lone’ situation which ‘couldn’t happen now.’  It does and is happening all around you, all the time. But people don’t talk about it.

Giving money to Pudsey once a year is no longer enough. We need to start speaking out about this.  You could do worse than download the ebook of The Price of Fame. Open your eyes. It’s fiction but sometimes fiction is the only way to tell the truth.

Kirsty’s GIRLS AND BOYS COME OUT TO PLAY will also be featured FREE on McStorytellers very soon.

You can find out more about Kirsty and Guerrilla Midgie by clicking HERE  Links to buy the ebook are

Amazon UK

Amazon US 

Hot news… I’m not perfect!

Because you know, sometimes it’s good to leave one’s comfort zone and face up to the world. This one is for the many, many unhappy perfectionists I know.  Wishing you all Good Mental Health and your own personal epiphanies!


I woke up one morning –Tuesday I think it was – with a thought, fully formed in my head, or mind, or brain, or wherever it is thoughts hang out. A realisation. An epiphany, to give it it’s proper name. It was: You’re not perfect and it doesn’t matter. Of course I was talking, or thinking, to myself, so really I meant, I’m not perfect and it doesn’t matter. It’s always hard to know which person you are talking in when you are talking to yourself, isn’t it? Is that why people discourage you from admitting that you do it? That I do it. That we ALL do it, one way or another. We all talk to ourselves and we all hear voices. It’s all a matter of degree. And of telling the truth. To yourself, myself, and others.

Anyway, back to the point. Not perfect. And it doesn’t matter. Not.Perfect. And. It. Doesn’t. Matter. How cool was that? I’d like to say that was the end of it, but in fact that was only the beginning. That was the day I began to explore the perfect myth. Tuesday. Or maybe it was Wednesday. Whatever. It was the beginning of the end for the eternal, impossible quest for perfection. And the end of the beginning of something quite different.

and here’s something written specially for World Mental Health Day (not by me, but I loved it so much I thought it deserved an airing!)

I am

I am lost in the depths of my head

I wonder who else is in with me

I hear rice, rusty railings like rhubarb

I see sounds and silences too

I want to be nothing but normal

I am lost in the depths of my head

I pretend in desperation

I feel the smell of green

I touch the abyss of destruction

I worry for others stuck too

I cry f or what I’ve been missing

I am lost in the depths of my head

I understand real is created

I say I believe in red

I dream in a world of the dead

I try but my effort’s not sated

I hope, but it’s just as I said

I am lost in the depths of my head

(Seoras Muinear)

A tribute to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Who taught me, amongst many other things that ‘words that do not match deeds are unimportant.’ 

Today marks the 45th anniversary of his death (murder) in Bolivia.

And my ‘deeds’ are:

 The publication of the special anniversary edition of Another World is Possible (one part of the trilogy in four parts). First written 5 years ago as a serial online blog, this is a special edition which plays around with the narrative structure in a ‘flexible’ format to give the reader a number of ways to engage with it.

To find out more about it go to the NOVELS tab above

You can buy it for £2.99 as an ebook from Amazon UK,  Amazon US or Kobo (epub format)



The FREE giveaway of FIGHTING FOR BREATH  just click HERE to download your chosen ebook format.

Originally commissioned and written in 1999/2000 it’s a much more personal and ‘domestic’ view of the man behind the myth.  It looks at the whole of Che’s life, the importance of his asthma and his familial relationships in the formation of his character.



And a screening of my 1999 short tribute video to Che.



The second part of the In Three Minds Trilogy (in four parts) will be published in the Spring of 2013 and is titled

The One that Got Away

It tells of a remarkable 3 months in Cuba in 1989.

Parts Three and Four will follow in 2014 and are titled: The Revolutionary’s Daughter and A Butterfly Dreaming.


October Already

And someone tells me (well the whole cyber world tells me) it’s Poetry Day. I’m not a poet.  Not normally. Not out loud. But I have written a lot of poems. And while I was looking around my archives I came across some.  And now, so can you FOR FREE  just click the link (THEN YOU’LL HAVE TO CLICK ABOUT ANOTHER ONE OR TWO TIMES but hey, three clicks for free POEMS, not a chore really is it?)  Then it’s your own struggle to get it onto your ereader of choice. Can’t help you there.

Here’s a wee taste of some of the poems in case you can’t be bothered or are incapable of downloading free stuff!


How smart are you?

All those legs

And nowhere to run


I draw a line

You step over it

That’s what you do

Play reactionary

To my revolutionary


You refuse to move

Defy definition

Deny reality

So I act

And you didn’t want

An actress

You need to hold

The stage yourself.

This is the last line

I draw

I have finally

Learned about endings


There’s no demand

There’s no supply

There’s no demand



Don’t worry if you’ve never

Fitted in

We all get one individual

Tailor made box

A coffin

 CLICK HERE to download for FREE in Kindle or epub format.

%d bloggers like this: