Larysia Woropay Answers 10 Questions

Larysia Woropay is a Canadian writer, currently seeking an agent for her fantasy novel Lucidity. You can check out her blog here.

1. Firstly, your poetry is super. I was struck by how much thought must go into your word choice.

Thank you kindly!  For the compliment and the interview. I’m honoured to be featured on your blog.

The thought that goes into my word choice varies. Sometimes I spend days trying to go about my verses cerebrally, researching and exploring ideas, word play, and rhymes.  Then there are other times when a verse pops into my mind and inspiration puts me under literary trance. When that happens, I can finish a poem in next to no time. Either way, I aim to write from an evocative place within me. And I think if a poet writes with sincerity, the diction evokes the same response within the reader as it does the writer.

2. I think too reader interpretation plays a part, and reader reactions will differ. Some readers might see stuff and others will see other stuff. But on to your more modern material for a sec, you have a flashfiction piece called Fetish, which has a very bleak twist. And one about a visit to a temple, which also has a surprisingly sinister ending. Would you describe your work as dark?

A lot of my work is dark, yes. I want to try my hand at cozy mysteries and have romance in some stories, but that's just really to help me grow as a writer and be better rounded.

3. People have said my work has a rounded cynicism. I think it’s easier to write dark and snarky than happy and clappy.

I think we're just dark and snarky people. Though I have some poems and works that are evocative with wonder and mystical beauty; those are romantic in a different sense, I suppose. Ad Infinitum and Gravitas are probably my favourites.

4. Wow. Looking at these, if I was to draw inspiration or try imitation from the past for poetry in terms of style, I’d try to draw on the Romantics or other Old Skool poets, but I'd avoid the material like this in terms of inspiration - it's too Hark! for me. You know? But you harness the richer stuff, the stars and beasts of myth - and you do it so very well. Gravitas has touches of Euripides’ Medea, on Helios’s chariot, and has echoes of Milton, and William Blake. And you mash this up these echoes with current astronomy and physics and Darwinism, or whatever else.

It took me days to write Gravitas.  Not only was it my goal for the poem to scan well and have some meter, but also make it full of rich imagery from space. I wanted to do the cosmos justice as it is a blend of beauty, mythology, and hard science. All truly wondrous things. As a fan of astronomy, astrology, and legends, I gave it my all. Thrilled you enjoy it and Ad Infinitum so much!

5. There’s a circularity to some of your poetry and perhaps your fiction. A forest fire caused by the phoenix (or meteor, if I could be so bold), and the fire that came from the sky is sent back up into it; I’ve noticed it about other poems too; you have an oasis based on the tears of the last desert’s victims, to fool the next victims to their deaths? Very powerful thoughts and ideas.
These elements of mythology - like that phoenix idea is something that the ancients may well have believed – shooting stars as mythical beasts. But you're the only person I’ve seen who's articulated it. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT, WOMAN?
And we were only just talking about roundedness. But you’ve got stuff that reminds me of the circle of life, or a similar circle in galactic expansion, or whatever else – the Gaia Theory, or the Jurassic Park trope about Nature always finding a way.

There is a circularity. It comes naturally. I think it stems from what I believe is my bread and butter of writing prose. Flashfiction, short stories, novels. Beginning, middle, end. But things don’t ever truly end, do they?


One of my favourite quotes is:

 Nothing is created. Nothing is destroyed. All is only ever transformed.


 – Tituba

Perhaps that is why so much of my work features a lot of returning to once what was to begin again.

6. Coupled with the style, it's impressive in its originality. I think it's strong enough conceptually to draw on these canonical aspects. What's your background?

My background? Like, in writing? Or my general interest in certain topics? I have tons of personal interest in religion and mythology. Gods and monsters. I’ve researched anything from the supernatural to fantastical since I was young. In elementary and junior high I’d spend my days in libraries, buried in books about said subjects and the love only grew from there. 

My professional background is in telecommunications. I was going to study journalism when I was younger, but decided spinning the truth and deadlines weren’t for me. Aside from that, I studied Japanese in high school and travelled to Japan in 2008.

 

7. So you are probably fully haiku-compliant! I am terrible at the poetry. I love your use of today’s science coupled with the language and mythology of pre-Modernist poets. And you can harness some powerful wordplay off the back of all that.

Thank you! Although, I’m afraid I love a good limerick over a haiku most days! That said, I love many different cultures and want to travel more.


8. You partake in a few of these Twitter hashtag writing exercises and games. Tell me a little about that, and why do you do them?

As for the hashtags, FridayPhrases (#FP), 1 Line Wednesdays (#1lineWed), and MadVerse (#MadVerse) are my main go-tos. And 200 Word Tuesdays Magazine #200WT is great for microfiction. Overall, prompts are wonderful for networking, inspiration, and having a lot of fun. I definitely recommend checking them out if you want to be involved with the online writing community.

9.What’s your novel Lucidity about?

When Dream becomes living Nightmare, a seventeen-year-old girl must conquer her fears and become a general in a reality-bending war. A dark contemporary fantasy with psychological and theological elements, it’s a tale of self-empowerment, unity, and overcoming grief.
 9.Go on.

High school senior Breanna (Brea) Greer hasn’t been coping well since her father’s untimely passing. In fact, she hasn’t been coping at all. She lashes out, attacking the most popular girl in school, creating turmoil that trails her as she rushes toward graduation. Brea’s short fuse is alienating her friends and family alike. Worse yet, she’s terrified of her dreams. More accurately, her nightmares.
In her sleep, Brea meets Driad, a warrior and professed Guardian of the Astral Plane, who claims that the world of dreams actually exists and is in danger due to an ethereal sister who went violently rogue. Driad is in search of someone to help protect them all, since this turncoat has her sights set on destruction in the real world too. They need Generals, those who will remember their dreams to keep vigil in both worlds. Driad extends to Brea the offer of becoming a General. She accepts. It’s a dream, after all. It can’t be real. But soon Brea discovers a myriad of coincidences lining up with the dream world and her own. She must determine if the escalating supernatural threat is real, or if she’s simply entertaining wild subconscious fantasies.

10. Interesting stuff. I am getting angelic vibes off this. Angels can only do the will of God; they have none of their own. It’s why Lucifer was cast out; he defied God. Right? Your ethereal sister has a touch of the Satanics about her!

I think we all have a touch of the Satanics about us, to be honest. Haha! But as I grew up
Catholic, I can see where I drew some symbolism from. Overall, though, the inspiration for the plot came from my own nightmares. I suffered from them chronically when I was younger. For years the theme would be the same: I’d be a warrior of some sort designated to save a group of people as all hell rained down upon us. I then asked myself, “What if this battle was actually happening and there are hundreds of people like me protecting others in their sleep?” And thus the manuscript came to be.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to check me out on social media. I love interacting with everyone!
Follow Larysia on Twitter, Instagram and her blog.

Flint of Dreams by Charles Peterson Sheppard Book Review

Flint of Dreams (available on Amazon) by Charles Peterson Sheppard is about a former car thief of Native American heritage, his friends, and his foes. Part ensemble novel, with a strong sense of community in the upstate New York locale where much of the action takes place, the novel is also an introduction to the flawed Flint Spencer, a Seneca Indian whose pugilistic approach to life has constantly got him into trouble. Did we mention the car stealing?
 
The storyline is exceptionally imaginative while adhering to a reasonably conventional form; unique in too many ways to count, it's got a horrific psychotic villain who haunts people's dreams alongside their realities, and in the background, more than one cabal of criminals in support. With this many baddies (and that doesn't even include the US intelligence agencies who, as per usual, don't seem to care about who gets hurt), the novel certainly merits a sequel.
 
There are a brace of Yoda-like elderly mentors here too, in the guise of Flint's employer Konstantin (with whom Flint enjoys a spot of banter) and widow Leona, whose clinical obesity would likely have put her into an early grave without modern medicine, even before she becomes the victim of an assault. 
 
Sci-fi and horror elements include concepts such as the use of drugs to enhance delta brain waves, telekinetic powers and other kinds of ESP. It's based, it seems, in the spooky reality where conspiracy theory meets government policy. 
 
You might recall the story of how, many moons back, the CIA approached spoon-bending Uri Geller about the possibility of stopping hearts. He was appalled by this suggestion of an abuse of his telekinesis. Apparently, the US intelligence agencies were working on this kind of hi-jinks for decades.
 
In Sheppard's marvellous novel, the intelligence services are keen to develop similar techniques. The discovery that certain members of certain Native American tribes - with their cultural focus on vision quests and meditation - are genetically predisposed to something akin to an ultra-high-quality astral projection - leads Homeland Security to regard certain individuals as tribespeople of interest. This gift, it transpires, can be enhanced further with drugs.

The story plays out as we learn of everyone's motives. We find out that there are far worse people than car thieves. The hubris of playing God is touched on in a wonderfully oblique way - and far less secularly than one might expect in a tome where neurology also plays such a key role.
 
There is an impressive showdown, and a heart-warming, rounded, slightly bittersweet resolution to it all. Fingers crossed for a sequel.
 
You can buy the book here!
 
You can also follow Charles Peterson Sheppard on Twitter and his Author Spotlight page on FB (where he generously showcases the work of others).

Star Wars Facts You Never Knew

Here are facts from Star Wars you won't have heard before:


Children reared as Jedi are called "younglings", but what are turtles reared as Jedi called?

That's right: Force-sensitive Terrapodlets

After the loss of his hand, Luke Skywalker got a settlement from his Jedi health insurance. He used some of it to buy the parts for his new green lightsaber, and some of it on a better artificial hand, and he invested some of it on a nice holiday home off the coast of Ireland.

*
Actor Harrison Ford was killed during The Empire Strikes Back. However, he was revived in the Return of full function of his heart
and central nervous system. The initial reason for his death - in Episode V - was so that George Lucas had his most successful actor "on-hold" for the sequel. Carbon-frozen in a technique borrowed from Walt Disney's head, Mr Ford was thawed out on a live set for the final movie in the original trilogy. In the deal with Disney's cryogenically-frozen head, it was agreed that hundreds of Disney teddy bears would be employed in what would become Return of the Jedi.

Cannily, director JJ Abrams also killed Ford during The Force Awakens shoot, by clamping a hydraulic door down on his head. Ford has been living in a greenscreen, ventilator-assisted, dream reality since the shoot, at a facility in the Nevada Desert, with electrodes attached to his skull and hooked up to Mr Abrams's Bad Robot technologies.

An insider said "When Ford's not unconscious, he causes trouble on set, bad-mouthing the scripts on publicity tours, and giving his fellow actors a difficult time. Does that sound okay as a quote? Will they believe that? Why can't you make up your own lies? Turn off your dumb voice-to-text thing."
 
He famously told George Lucas on the original movie: "You can write this shit but you can't say it," before repeatedly punching the visionary director in the cantina.

Another story has haunted the original cast: George Lucas planned to name the planet “Alderaan” not “Alderaan”, but in fact “Alderman”, after his great-great-great-grandfather, Chelmsford Lucas, who was the First Alderman of Nantucket. However, Mark Hamill, who played central character Luke Skywalker, struggled with the pronunciation of the word “Alderman” early on in the film’s shoot and subsequent references to the word ended up on the cutting room floor.



The problem was so pronounced that Lucas decided that the planet would have to be destroyed.
 

A purpose-built Death Star was introduced into the script in order to obliterate the planet, sending the movie sky-rocketing over budget and postponing the shoot by four months.

The delay led Lucas to the conclusion that any sequel containing a similar Death Star could only be financially viable if the massive weapon were only half built. Luckily, the success of Star Wars at the box office covered all the losses for the first movie. Co-star Harrison Ford later publicly humiliated Hamill about his inability to say the word alderman and as a consequence stalled his career.

The Survivor Coach: Kelley McElreath answers a few questions


Kelley McElreath is an ICF-certified life coach as well a certified Mindset Coach. Called the Survivor Coach, she was herself a child of divorce, and has since suffered through bereavement, divorce, personal tragedy and cancer to come out the far side.She shares tips and discusses life from a Manic Mondays segment on her youtube account. Subscribe to it today!

She answered some questions related to various topics that I put to her.




Current Affairs


In the developed world, we've had lots of mental health advocacy in recent years in the media, sometimes due to recession-inspired cutbacks in the healthcare systems, but just as often because we seem to becoming more aware of mental health. If you were in charge of funding in the US or in your home state, where would you like to see resources devoted? 

I believe I would start with more money going into finding a solution for sex addiction to be honest. I think it is a struggle that is one of the hardest for men to break and it changes them completely and makes them into people they do not want to be. It ruins marriages, lives, relationships with their children and a really big cause of mental illness in men. Most men secretly feel major shame about it and never talk about it. I say this because I fully believe that if we can help the men in this country and worldwide really, the world as a whole will improve significantly. Just my opinion on the matter. So many girls and women have major father wounds and are wounded greatly from the effects of being around or related to or married to a sex addict and that in turn plays a HUGE part on our mental health.

Advice


What do you tell people whose stories are so harrowing that it's difficult to see a solution, even for yourself? Has that ever happened?

First of all, I sympathize and show them great empathy. I focus a lot on the times I have successfully endured something. Such as being diagnosed with cancer. I handled that better than anything I have ever gone through. After much reflection, I realized the reason was because the entire time I was fighting it, going through chemo and surgeries, etc I ONLY watched comedies and/or comedians. At least 3 times a week. I had a positive attitude and I believed only good was going to come from the whole damn experience. I didn’t want cancer to have me. I wanted to grab it by the balls and show it who was boss. Now, when I think back and ponder on that, it diminishes in my own mind, the horrors, as you said, and makes them not seem so big and impossible to overcome.

History

The Shoah Foundation was collecting testimony from Holocaust survivors in the 90s. It's been suggested that some of these elderly people took their own lives after giving this testimony, as they had opened up something they had felt they'd never need to revisit. Some people feel that talking is a great form of burden-lifting, or dealing with things. Others don't.
Do you think that talking is a good form of dealing with things?

I think that it is good to talk it out. But you can’t do that to just anyone. The person needs to be completely safe when first talking about it. I had a client once that had endured so much loss…so much pain in her ENTIRE life. Another client had lost her father, months later she lost her mom, then right after found out her husband had been cheating on her for quite some time and he immediately divorced her and moved in with said woman. Several years later, she met a man who had been sober for a while. They hadn’t been together long before she started drinking again. She was a black out drunk. Her new husband would wait for her to black out and then shoot her up with Meth. She became a severe addict and has had multiple attempted suicides. How does someone possibly endure such things?

It is the human spirit. We have so much power that resides within us. Every single one of us. When we fully realize the ability our brains have and what we can accomplish in our thinking, we become unstoppable. Not to say it isn’t a ton of work and a long process but it works. I usually coach people about 9 months. In the beginning it is being the best listener possible and empathizing with the person. Once I have been privileged enough to gain their trust, we start the hard work of facing the things in their past that have broken them. Approaching these things rather than avoiding them is what brings healing. I don’t suggest doing something like this without an experienced life coach and sometimes therapy is needed along that 9 months as well. The advantage I have is that I myself have been through so much tragedy that I can personally relate to almost anything someone has gone through. Having someone like that to talk to is healing in and of itself.

What are the downsides to counselling?

The real question should be, “Can you think of ANY upside to counseling?” I have seen counselors, therapists, psychologist and psychiatrists. I have had nothing but terrible experiences. I mean really, you are talking about seeing a person who knows a whole hell of a lot about your brain and how it functions but has no fucking clue about the actual PERSON! How can any of us expect to have “real” talk with any therapist about any mental illness when they don’t have one themselves? How can we talk openly about suicide and during those times we are just moments away from taking our last breath when they have not been through such a thing?  If they have never attempted suicide themselves and have never been through a terrible war within themselves, how can they relate, understand or help in any way? So much therapy really to me just babysit people and enable them to stay unhealthy. I think because they don’t really have a clue what to do or say. What do you say to a 17-year-old girl whose 4-month old baby has just died? What do you say to someone who says that the only way to get away from their thoughts is to put a gun to their head and make the thoughts stop forever? It is vital to not treat these individuals like a number. We cannot treat them like they are just something to check off our lists for the day. They need to be heard. They need to be listened to. Sometimes saying nothing is doing everything.

Gender Dynamics


On the same subject of counselling, men - now shut up a minute till I explain - men have a tendency to interrupt women, statistically, far more often than they interrupt other men. Women are generally far better at the art of conversation. I've talked with brilliant women who let me speak, and then it turns out their stories are far, far better than mine!

I'd share a silly little hospital story, then I'd ask "Have you ever had an operation under general anaesthetic yourself?"
"Actually, I've had dozens; I had cancer as a teen. I should really be dead."

And half the time, they probably wouldn't even share these tales unless they're asked. If the tables were turned, I'd be saying "Well, just listen to this, now, before you continue - I've had fifty operations!"

What do you think of all this? Is it wrong to suggest that women are about feeling, tone and nuance while men just bluntly state things? Or could women be more explicit? Men have had it so good for so long. Do they need to listen more - in general, but particularly in therapy environments where they are counselling female patients?

That is a lot to contemplate. I have a very strong, assertive and direct personality. I think interrupting is extremely rude. What interrupting does is tell the other person without even saying so that they aren’t even listening to you in the first place because they are thinking about themselves and what they want to say. It says loud and clear…you really don’t mean shit to me. That is to just put it bluntly. I listened to a man giving a talk once and this lady kept interrupting him. 

It was so annoying it was getting on MY nerves. About the 4th time, he just said flat out, “Don’t interrupt me again. Write down your questions and ask me later.” I think interrupting is common as we all long to truly be heard and like to feel important. So, for myself, I can’t really give a great answer because interrupting is disrespectful and I don’t allow people to disrespect me. I guess a lot of women probably do, especially if the other party is a man. 

However, in light of all of that, when I became a life coach and after training many others to become life coaches, I have learned how to listen and the effect it has on someone’s life. It is really amazing. Think about how you yourself feel if you meet someone one time and the next time they see you they remember your name. Think about when you have had just normal conversations with someone and sometime in the future they get you a gift because they remember that you had mentioned once that you liked that thing. 

Listening….truly listening with ALL of your senses is one of the best types of medicine you can offer someone. It is the greatest gift that you can give to them. The greatest listener is the person who hears everything you are not saying.

You can follow Kelley McElreath on Twitter. Her website, The Survivor Coach, can be found here.

My Fat-Shaming Story

The other day, I saw a middle-aged woman bending over at the bus stop, fetching something out of her bag. She was wearing light-blue lycra pants. Her rear end was vast. I was tempted to take a photo and post to social media with the caption:

Here in Dublin, you can park your bike at your local stop, before hopping on the bus into town!

But thank God I saw that picture the disgusting former Playboy tramp posted before I uploaded the photo!!! What a vile ****! She took a pic of a woman in the shower section of the changing room and posted the caption "I can't unsee this! And now neither can you!" or something. 

But the gym changing-room is not for that kind of thing! I HATE THAT BITCH! I! HATE! HER!

What a stupid pr**k bra*ns!!!

And if anyone ELSE steals my ideas, I will HATE THEM TOO!

Dan Coats on Character


"Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds of half-conscious, self defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battleground of character."

A United States Republican senator, Dan Coats, said that apparently. Good point! 

But isn't this beautiful study of character similar to what they say about practicing good science? Science, similarly, has a testing ground that is often buried deep in the mundane. 

Experiment after dull experiment to verify limits and tolerances, case studies and clinical trials involving control groups and placebos. Then what happens?

Some fool leaves his lunch in the hermetically-sealed cold room with the bacterial strain everyone's been working on for five years, and it morphs into the cure for death. 

The idiot has enough character to tell nobody he accidentally left his egg sandwich in with the medicine yogurt!

He instead becomes a famous science speaker as the developer of the fungal-bungle elixir of anti-death, and he goes around the public speaking circuit spouting shit like that senator!

Rowan Atkinson killed in missile strike


Police investigating a series of brutal and historical alleged sexual assaults on Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson, 61, were killed alongside the talented actor following a targeted Janjaweed ground-to-ground missile strike on a United Nations airbase in South Sudan.

Janjaweed terrorists successfully strapped Mr Atkinson to a remote-controlled bomb, and launched him into the UN camp on the back of a mule after breaching the security ring surrounding the camp with a bazooka attack.

UK detectives who were investigating an earlier sex-related attack on Mr Atkinson, 61, as part of the ongoing Operation Yewtree, were also killed in the incident. 

It is believed that Mr Atkinson was groomed for some years in the early 1980s by "a Jimmy Savile class of figure, of North African origin, by whom he later gave birth to a baby's leg". 

It has not yet been established exactly what Mr Atkinson, 61, was doing in the currently famine-ravaged region at the time of his death.

Awaken Your Soul Event at Merlin Woods Galway: Kevin Bateman

 


A surrealist poet called Kevin Bateman contacted me a month ago on Twitter and asked me to perform at a spoken word event he was holding in a forest in Galway.

My immediate reaction was to say "I don't do poetry and I don't really do performance stuff."

He said, in effect, "Ah sure, go on."

I said "I dunno."

After a couple of weeks, he messaged me again:
"Are you performing at the show?"
I said "I dunno."


On Friday night, he asked me again. The show was on at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.
"I'll come to it," I said, "but I dunno."

The event, held in the open air in Merlin Woods, on the eastern outskirts of Galway, took a small trek to reach. There's an environmental group, Friends of Merlin Woods, and Caroline from that organisation was good enough to lead us through the forest on a quick guided tour before we arrived at our stage, An Néad (or The Nest). Kevin kicked things off.


The short poems Kevin read appear in part characterised by an embracing of darkness, whether that darkness is ignorance, or the fearful but brave taking of a journey into the unknown of life.

Perhaps the latter point is a philosophy I ought to embrace, given his wonderful encouragement to his fellow performance artists.


In one poem, Mr Bateman claimed that he would like to be an air hostess, seizing on the mundane day-to-day life of red eye service, requiring little thought, emphasising appearance over the inner life - this idea seems to echo Eliot's wish to be a pair of ragged claws.

Another line from Kevin:
Nightfalls and bats fly, let us all belong to the darkness.



Polly Richardson chose to read poems about nature, given the beautiful surroundings. Her first dealt with the frustrations of finding inspiration and dancing in the rain, inter alia. Links and Beyond was inspired by the Hill of Tara, Ireland's ancient capital city north of Dublin.


Kenneth Nolan's performance included dream imagery, perhaps capturing the cynicism of a post-McQuaid, post-Haughey Ireland while keeping the best bits of poetic sincerity from an earlier, Celtic-twilit era.

 

Nolan's cat-related yarn, the most humorous piece of his set, tackled how he believes himself - perhaps accurately - in a battle of wits with a household pet for the affections of his wife.

 

Catherine O'Donoghue's beautiful short poems deal with (perhaps) ADHD culture soaking our "cerebral core", bereavement and friendship, and - if one is to consider metaphor beyond the sowing of seeds - the good deeds performed by someone that are carried forward with dividends for others, beyond their original intent.

 

 

 

 

Dario Cannizzaro, an Italian writer and poet who writes in both languages, also showcased some poetry related to bereavement. A poignant piece related to his father's passing touched on his living up to the responsibilities he had as a parent, inter alia. Dario then shared a short story related to childhood. 

Out of archaeological respect - and health and safety issues - the kids today probably wouldn't be allowed to play soccer in the grounds of an ancient temple, but Dario recounted a Southern Italian childhood spent bouncing footballs off the walls of a Roman ruin.

Natasha Helen Crudden's hip-hop inspired poetry touched on friendship; a tough-love piece to a friend was particularly instructive to all slackers, myself included. The Ballad of Christopher Robin warned that we only live once and to seize the moment.

The most active of the participants in terms of movement, perhaps something we should all be doing, Natasha's meter and rhythm were perhaps the most pronounced. 

Her off-book performance was also particularly impressive. She brought a wonderful punk aesthetic to the afternoon's performances.

Seamus Murtagh was up next. His poetry addressed societal concerns, one of them breaching the topic of war. Talking to him afterwards, he explained that if he was to categorise his work broadly, it would be about awakening. A yoga instructor, photographer, journalist and poet, Seamus appears to be a man of many skills.

 

A great event, all told. Kevin Bateman is a treasure on the Irish Spoken Word circuit. Many thanks for his organising of a unique and spirited occasion. Most of the marvelous shindig was live-streamed and captured by the man himself on Periscope. Check it out here.

Have you seen this girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch Book Review

Remember that daft End Of Days (1999) movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Gabriel Byrne as the devil? What was it called? 

One of the opening scenes is Arnie waking up in his messy apartment, and putting together a breakfast that includes a cup of coffee, some Chinese leftovers and slice of greasy pizza that he's just found on the floor. He sticks it all into a blender and turns the thing into a smoothie.

I'd wonder if that was in the script. At what point in the production did somebody say "Okay, we're two scenes into this 90 minute movie. We need something at this point that's so farken lewdurkriss that it will make people want to walk out of the theater. Any pizza anywhere?"

The first book in the Flocksdale Files series, Have you seen this girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch features a similar opening scene - the home of what appears to be a heroin-snorting couple. It's done better than Hollywood could manage in its fin-de-siecle excesses. The scene reads like a panning shot in a movie, as it describes the heroine's (fnar!) routine. A wonderfully described hovel, and there ain't a daft breakfast NutriBlast in sight. Wendi DOES use a straw to start her day. (Actually, it's a straw-shaped dollar bill. Her place is so messy that she can't find the straw.)

Think of a pal you consider braver or more foolhardy than yourself. Imagine being held by terrorists alongside this friend, and you watch this friend getting his head blown off because he shows a little backbone. What would you do then?

This is the kind of stomach-churning scenario you'll also find here.



The story could be read more broadly as a metaphor for drug addiction (alongside the drug addiction itself). Are we responsible for the daft mistakes we make in our early teens?

With drugs, you can reach a point at which you decide "No!" But you could be hooked already, acquired insight at odds with your needs. Addiction ensnares: So too is Wendi. And the irony of her appalling situation is acute.

Lynch is deft at presenting the most horrific material with such subtlety and taste that she inspires reader fear and empathy without being graphic or lewd. I can hear parents everywhere asking their writer offspring: "Why can't you write more like that lovely author, with the books about prostitution and the drug addicts?"

It's all great stuff.

Get the first book on Amazon! Get the whole series there too!

Follow Carissa Ann Lynch on Twitter!

Awaken Your Soul Poetry & Spoken Word Event at Merlin Woods on the 16th of July at 2pm

Kevin Bateman, a poet from Galway, is creating an event
where words will be spoken to the woods... but will they answer back?

The event shall take place in the Nest Area or An Néad If you are coming into Galway City from the old Dublin road take the Second right after the Martin Roundabout onto the entrance of Merlin Park Hospital there is a car park on the left hand side of the road as you come in. All Artists and Guests shall all meet there and be taken on a tour of Merlin Woods and the performance will take place at the Nest Area or An Néad.


Contact 0858228976

Bots Attack! And throw things out of wack!!!

Pageview numbers are frequently at odds with reality.

The most popular post on this blog is this one:

http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.ie/2012/06/chapter-one-part-1-of-early-childhood.html

It is the very first chapter of an ongoing, satirical, whimsical, lewd, surreal, parodic blog novel.

It is ten times more popular than the next most popular posts. Some of them are here:

http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.com/2016/01/10-questions-with-fantasy-author-jl.html
http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.com/2011/11/mcadams-torment-by-audrey-devereux-at.html
http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.com/2016/04/lynn-lamb-interview-author-of-survivor.html
http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.com/2016/02/charles-peterson-sheppards-specialist.html
http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.com/2016/02/serina-hartwell-author-of-hidden.html
http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.com/2016/02/10-questions-with-author-of-dublin.html

All the other popular posts feature OTHER people - either in interview or reviews of their work.

The blog novel is my own work. So what gives? Why is my own work so much more popular - in this one instance - this very first chapter of a daft blog novel, when none of the other chapters even breach the top 10 or so - than other stuff?



The source of the interest appears to be lots of hits from Palo Alto California a few years ago, and then from places like Ukraine and Russia more recently. This has driven up the pageviews on specific posts to astounding levels. What is in Palo Alto, Californ-eeee-aye-ay? Google has a big presence there. So Google has done whatever it does to my blog so that it's searchable or indexed or whatever else. This is good news. But it throws the metrics out - we cannot rely on Google's own estimates (via Blogger) of a blog's popularity.

And what have they got in Russia and Ukraine, beyond issues related to territoriality ? Why, they have scammers and spammers! Who knows why they all landed on the first page of my novel like a shower of lewnatics? Do YOU know?

An interview with Mental Health Advocate and Author Rebecca Lombardo


Rebecca Lombardo has been through self-harming and depression for more than two decades since her diagnosis with bi-polar disorder at 19. Her book, It's Not Your Journey, discusses her struggles and how she has overcome them and might be of benefit for those with similar issues. However, as she readily stresses herself, she is a mental health advocate rather than a professional.
1. Your writing process: Do you write fiction? Poetry? Do you see yourself as a relatively "straight" memoirist and blogger, or is there more to it, artistically? Do you have a work-in-progress at the moment? Did you plot out the book before you wrote it? Do you plot out the blogposts and articles before you write them?

No, up until this point, I’ve only written non-fiction. My book is a memoir, but I don’t think I would call myself a memoirist. I’m definitely still a blogger. I don’t know if I will ever write a work of fiction, I’ll have to see what the future holds. Yes, I do write poetry. I just recently was able to start writing poems pretty consistently and have added a poetry blog to my other blog.
I rarely plot out anything before I write it. It’s just not the way my brain works. My book is based on my blog, and after writing it a year I started doing research on turning blogs into books, but that’s about all of the plotting and planning I put into it! Once I knew it was possible, I just kept writing while I searched for a publisher. It took another year. I never know when or how inspiration will strike for me. It could be at 1:00 in the morning, and a word or a sentence might pop into my head, and I will either write it in my journal, or head right over to my laptop and before I know it, I’ve written a post or an article. As someone that is generally a pretty organized person, my brain is very messy when it comes to my craft.

2. People are clearly inspired by your journey, and have thanked you for your web presence. You make it clear that it's "your" journey, and not "ours". Is this simply a disclaimer, to encourage people to find their own way? Or are you saying that everyone's journey is unique?

First of all, yes it is both of those things.

It’s extremely important to me that people differentiate between my mental health journey and their own. While for the most part, I have heard positive feedback on my book, there are people that have said awful things about it because their journey through bipolar disorder or mental illness is different from mine. I’ve been accused of not even having bipolar disorder or being a narcissist. The book is called It’s Not Your Journey for a few reasons, and one is the obvious. It’s not anyone else’s story but mine. You may find similarities, but I’m sure there are many people that would not have handled certain situations the way that I did. I was doing what I thought was best for me at the time, and sometimes I was wrong. In no way do I want people to think I am advising them to take the same path that I took. I look at my book as both a cautionary tale and an inspiration. It shows people that you can be at your lowest point of your life, and mess up something awful, but still come out on the other side a stronger, more successful person.

3. By the way, I've actually heard that some doctors and psychiatrists will show people who cut themselves the way to do it without doing too much harm. Have you heard of this? Some people think it's unethical.

I have not heard of this. The closest thing I've heard was keeping a rubber band around your wrist to snap it on your skin when you have urges. While I would never advocate telling people "the right way" to cut yourself, I can see where some people may actually need that to start getting better. It becomes an obsession. Self-injury is often categorized as a form of OCD and for me it was. I would think and think and think until I knew exactly where I was going to cut, what it was going to look like, everything. I suppose it could be similar to putting Meth addicts on Methadone until they feel stronger. Would I ever suggest it? No.

4. I've heard it said recently too that those who give the best advice are usually themselves the biggest messes. (Probably on one of these social media object images with pithy words of wisdom!) I've had some very good advice from people who might fall into this category. But is it true?

Yes, I think to a certain degree, that is true. Those of us that have been through the worst are often more mindful of the pitfalls of certain situations. We can guide people in a different direction, if they care to take the advice. I wouldn’t currently call myself one of the “biggest messes” but I have fallen into that category at different points in my life, so I think that I have a certain insight to offer people that may be struggling with some of the things I have struggled with in the past. That isn’t to say that I am all-knowing or that everything that has worked for me will work for someone else, but I can certainly offer some options that perhaps they hadn’t considered. 



You can check out Rebecca's web presences below. Her book is available from Amazon here.

Blog: www.judgmentfreezone2013.blogspot.com
Website: www.rebeccalombardo.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/notyourjourney
Twitter: www.twitter.com/bekalombardo