brains optional

Weddings consume a lot of time. I’ve been away watching good friends commit to a life of happiness and love (if you met them you’d know the odds are in their favour).

Finally, I feel as if I have the time and space to inhale since I returned from Clarion. I’ve been busy, and travelling, since I came back, with regular events interrupting my routine. From now until Christmas my schedule is clear except for the usual bits and pieces. It’s writing time.

Once I get my taxes done, of course.

This morning the postman rang my doorbell, and waiting in the pouring rain as I signed for a box o’ books. On my last day at Clarion I posted the box home via surface mail. It contains a lot of memories of my time in Seattle, which already seems so long ago. It’s a reminder that now I have to sit down and write.

Once I get my taxes done.

I’ll have to cut back on the drawing – which I’m loving – but it’s sucking up a lot of spare time. I’ve been replicating images of the early monsters of the black and white era. So you can look at Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Phantom, Count Orlock from the original Nosferatu, and Im-ho-tep – Boris Karloff as the original Mummy. I plan to do a series of these sketches, but I have to slow down the pace now.

I’m pleased with how they’ve been turning out, especially since there’s been a break of at least a decade since I last tried this kind of work. Not everything I’ve been producing has been up to scratch, so I won’t be uploading those pieces, but my monster series has been pretty good.

Certain elements of a routine have returned: I’m back at the gym, and the fortnightly screenwriting/playwriting meetings have recommenced after a break for the summer. I’ve committed to having a treatment for a new script ready in a month’s time. It’s for the new horror/thriller idea I’ve been nurturing. Over the weekend I also got the idea for what I think is a high concept comedy. It’s sitting on the back brain now, stewing. Hopefully it will turn out to be a delicious gumbo and not a lacklustre hodgepodge of veg and potatoes with no protein. It’s nice to have ideas, even if they don’t all work out.

I want to get back to revising my short stories too. I’ve one down, and at least four more that could be whipped into shape.

Irish readers might be interested to know that TG4, our Irish language TV channel, is running a survey to select the most popular programme it has produced over the past 10 years, as part of its celebrations for its first decade in existence. Register your vote today.

The Omniplex chain of cinemas in Ireland (there are two in Galway) have set up a decent web site at long last. They’ve an offer running at the moment where you can buy a ticket online to any show for a mere fiver (plus 50 cent handling fee). That’s pretty good value.

I saw DOA: Dead or Alive on Sunday. It’s nonsense of course: hot chicks in very little clothing fighting against men and each other on the basis of a paper-thin plotline.

It was great fun.

Leave your brain at the door – they have a receptacle for that at the foyer in cinemas you know. The brains are fed high-glucose fluids so they’re so jacked up on sugar they don’t notice you are missing. I suspect the brains enjoy the vacation.

And then it’s back to work.

Where the taxes await (can’t you tell how much I love this part?).


  • Caroline

    I’ve been tracking your drawings on Flickr, and they’re lovely 🙂 I particularly like the latest one you put up of Im-ho-tep, great expression on the face!

  • Maura

    Thanks Caroline! Yeah, for some reason I find Boris Karloff easy to draw. There’s something about his features and expression that I can imprint onto the page with my pencil. Not all of them are working so great. Ah well, I like to think I learn from each one. Just like each story I write.

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