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Who am I to share my grief with?In which a transcendental moment is revealed to be an infinity of piss, and other observations of a similarly bleak mien.

Apologies in advance. This is going to be a rather sloppy, rather mawkish entry.

The year is marching on and we’re almost at New Year. I am hip-deep in that period of introspection I always seem to go through in the weeks leading up to my birthday and the end of the year. I take stock of what I’ve achieved in the year and the direction I seem to be going in. (Summary: Professional — OK. Personal — Fucking abysmal.) I think I am a little bit depressed. Not too much, just a little bit. Like everything I see or do is tinged with a mild but pervasive pessimism.

First of all, there was that glorious moment late in the night of December 14th. It is recorded in my writing log as ‘MAD NIGHT OF CREATION.’ (Ah, the hubris) I filled page after page of my notebook with ideas and plot that I would soon turn into a beautiful, exciting novel. I didn’t fall asleep until 6 in the morning, a wide grin on my face, my fingers inky. I was so excited to start writing, I cut short my little walk towards Clontarf the next day and scurried home eager to write.

As I wrote that day, and as I tried to write the next, as I looked at the bad sentences I was commiting, at the barren paucity of their form and meaning, I was struck with the realisation that everything I had come up with in that glorious paroxysm of scribbling was no more than the stolid reheated corpses of ideas and stories I had already come up with over the last three years. There was in fact nothing new there, just a cynical plundering of old themes and preoccupations. I was simply going through the motions, as if my body needed the physical act of typing, regardless of the quality of the work. There was no creative spark. I wasn’t excited to get to the next page, the next paragraph.

Two days, two thousand words. Abandoned. Gone to rot in the folder marked FAILURES. I can’t tell you what it was about. I am too embarrassed, too deeply embarrassed to share. Maybe at a later date when the sting has gone.

There have been no ideas to replace this first attempt. Nothing. I am stunned, I am shocked by the emptiness of my head, the utter lack of creation. It’s as if all the stars have aligned to spell THERE IS NOTHING NOW. My confidence, not the strongest after a couple of months of rejections and Bad Writing and Personal Trials, has been sent reeling. Submissions are a laughable waste of time. I want to write a novel but for know it feels like it is beyond my abilities. Have I eaten up my life over the last three years of writing short stories? Is there no spark of experience left to me that I can use to anchor another tale? Have I said everything I am able to say?

I fear that I have.

People say that I am too hard on myself. I disagree. I am far too easy on myself. I let myself get away with all sorts of career-damaging nonsense. I indulge in many misanthropic behaviours. I won’t go to any artistic gatherings or book… thingies… if there is the remotest chance that I will have to talk to people. After all these years I still don’t quite understand my motives in this. Am I just shy or do I genuinely dislike people? Is it, Christ help me, just laziness? I don’t know. Probably all at once in a big confusing fuck-splosion.

The obvious solution is to go out, take the leap, take the chance. I know it would be good for me. I know I need to do it, and I just can’t. Earlier today (I’m writing this at 3:30 am because I am an antisocial prick, so really it was yesterday) I was supposed to go to the Meet and Mingle event organised by the Collaborations festival, of which I am a part (more on this below). I even promised to go along to it. However, come the day itself I woke with the certain knowledge that it wasn’t going to happen and an embarrassing humiliating backtrack was on the cards. This sort of nonsense is doing actual demonstrable harm to my career as a writer and yet I feel powerless to do anything about it. You just have to do it. You just have to do it. That is what I tell myself. You just have to do it. And yet I don’t. The step outside is a step too far and there is nothing that anyone can do to help me if I’m not willing to help myself.

I have reached the end of my experience and find myself closed off from any new ones.

Against this backdrop of adolescent weltsmerchz daniel o connel background TEXTthere is some good news. Now obviously the biggest news is that I can finally announce the Big Secret News that has been thrumming my lips for the last few weeks. As part of the Collaborations Festival in Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre,  myself and the Risky Proximity Players will be performing a full theatrical performance of my short story High Five Danny O’C in Feb-March of the new year. Now details are still a bit scarce at this early stage, but there’ll be plenty of updates in the future. We had our first production meeting on the 13th of December and will have the first cast readthrough on the 20th. I’m looking forward to it. I think it is going to be brilliant. There is a Fund-It Campaign up and running to fund all the shows in the festival. Fund it and you fund us and you make my reasonably-priced dreams come alive!

Here is the a basic mock-up of the poster for High Five Danny O’C what I done. I think it’s very snazzy. I can mess around with it a bit more of course, play with resizing the multicoloured Dannys, or perhaps place those black cencorship bars over the Emacipator’s eyes… Anyway there’s plenty of time and I have every confidence that what we come up with will be very striking.

Finally, the last few scraps of news on the writing front– I have made no submissions this week because of the Sadness, but hey, I sure got some rejections! Northwind rejected An Alabaster Fang, Crazy Horse rejected Last Girl Against the Wall, Ideomancer rejected Forty For the Twenty-First (though they did have some nice things to say about it in a nice personalised email) and finally Shimmer rejected Go Up in Gossamer Clothing.

Fuck.

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