Many people have personal blogs - where they share personal stuff. This is my place where I post an eclectic variety of content. I also have a business blog - that’s my professional space - where you find my best shot at helping people to do business well.
But I’m like most people - a person with a wide collection of interests & curiosities. I find it difficult - impossible to confine my communication to a single topic.
The theme that ties everything here is my daughter Grace ("omanidot" on Twitter). I began writing for her in 2005, imagining she’d be interested (some day) in my experience of moving back to Ireland from UK. That focus on one audience has been the most important support - it’s kept me at it, so I never feel any wish to give up this blog. It’s a special place.
after a tweet from Diane Brogan (@dianebrogan on Twitter), I had a rethink about this blog. I came to this conclusion: here is where you find my "Eclectic Passions". I don’t try to confine content to any topic. The theme that binds it all together is "Passion".
- Irish mental health, including my own…
- Developing new habits - with deliberate intention…
- Family storytelling (including stories Grace & I make up)
- Poetry - including poems I write myself…
- Golf - particularly "The Dan Plan" - & other exercises…
- Creativity - whatever that means…
- Walking the dog - usually late at night…
- Being a dad - the third time round…
I realise I’ve left out my passion for gender equality in Irish politics & the topic of improving Irish political life. But I must be careful I don’t let my passion for changing the status quo run away with me.
As you can see, I love Audioboo.
Thank you for calling in here. I hope you find something that hooks your passion.
(Thanks again to Diane Brogan.)
To write a poem now
To write a poem now
fingers all too stale,
Unused soul went to sleep,
Christ rose from the dead,
threw off sheets drenched in blood,
woke up, pushed the stone -
so light and birdsong dawned,
his dream made flesh,
traces linger instead,
as if painted over.
Jesus wrote his poem
on the road to Emmaus,
recovered from Gethsemane.
The words even ascended into Heaven
and were repeated.
To write a poem now…
the least I could do.
I thought the prospect of hearing Claire Kilroy & Derek Mahon reading was too good to miss. Thought it would be hard to get in. Even urged Adrian Roche (oral historian) to be sure and pre-book tickets - in case we’d be turned away at the door. Bandon is close to Cork city - there would be many who’d travel out for such a powerful draw. The Town Hall in Bandon would be packed…
Twenty people… plus three late-comers… I’m still shocked. Certainly it was an intimate event. I can’t get my head round why there were so few there?
Before & during the event, I used Twitter.
Tweeted about 22 times, used the hashtag "#engage". Imagined there was an audience out there on the internet - interested in the work of Claire Kilroy & Derek Mahon… I also took photographs on my iPhone & shared them via Twitter.
The reading was in a small room, three rows of stacking chairs.
The walls of the Town Hall room held an exhibition of paintings by Angie Shanahan - a "shedload of sheds" I called it. A lovely collection of paintings (officially called "Towards the Edge"). In the middle of his reading, Derek Mahon asked "is the painter here?" She was. And I met her briefly afterwards.
After the reading…
people left, but a few stayed on for talk. That’s when Cape Clear island came into the mix. I met a woman from Philadelphia. We talked about the paintings, the sheds. We both agreed that the collection of shed was great - much better than an exhibition of disparate paintings without theme. She told me about her son’s photographic exhibition. She said she lived now on Cape Clear. That’s when I remembered my one visit to Cape Clear and the storytelling festival I’ve wanted to go to.
I turned round and there was Chuck Kruger - the founder of the Cape Clear Storytelling Festival. I’d met him once before but couldn’t remember where. We chatted. I got this idea: let’s use AudioBoo to share the storytelling that takes place on Cape Clear Island to the masses via Internet…
Full of enthusiasm at the prospect I couldn’t resist showing Chuck Kruger how AudioBoo worked. An impromptu interview with him in which I must have seemed like a crazed obsessive. Now that I look at Chuck’s bio & track record as poet, short story writer, novelist & organiser of that festival, I must have sounded like a bubbling teenager meeting a celebrity. You can listen to the converation with Chuck Kruger here.
Such a rich evening. Finished off with a plate of chips in The Courthouse Take-away. Drove back to Glanmire very satisfied with myself. An intimate time - packed with surprises.
Why did so few travel out from Cork for it?
Writing an epic poem is epic work - the result may be epic too - or disastrous. I remember spending huge chunks of time in November 2009 - writing this poem in a Moleskine Notebook - as I travelled round Ireland [& UK too].
Recording an audio version of an epic poem is another epic job. I’ve been doing my best. Now it’s reached the 8th stage, canto 8 [I wonder where Dante was at this stage of his epic Inferno?]
You might like to listen to this version [I’m gradually reading it into iPhone & sharing it via AudioBoo.]
What I’d love you to do is listen to some, and write (or audio) a review which let’s me know how you found it.
Would it be useful to gather my recent audio broadcasts together in one place on this blog? Would that be handy & attractive for others - especially those who don’t use AudioBoo themselves?
Here are sounds of my last couple of weeks: [after each I’ve put the number of times each has been listened to - so far]
I went to London
(2) I felt encouraged by others 
(3) I reviewed "The Emperor Self" and wished I’d seen it twice 
(4) I walked towards AudioBoo HQ 
(5) I interviewed Mark Rock, CEO - and met team AudioBoo on Tower Bridge Road, London 
(6) I wrote a poem "AudioBoo" after the style of Rudyard Kipling’s Mandalay 
I returned to work in Cork
(7) I worked for a start-up "On-Line Senior Citizen" 
(8) I read my own Epic Poem: Irish Epic Poem in 33 Cantos - canto 7 
(10) I walked in the city of Cork on a Saturday morning, hear music 
(11) I read Grace a bedtime story : Pinocchio (but audio ran out) 
(12) I vowed to take up golf again - after the Ryder Cup team was selected by a Scot 
(13) I celebrated Grace’s 5th birthday 
(15) I complained about traffic congestion in Douglas Cork - while I added to it 
(16) I experienced chaos on first school day - relived my childhood 
(17) I read out a blogpost letter to Grace : her birthday & first day at "big" school 
(18) I worked for another start-up : In Hand Guides & discovered Innovation Vouchers 
(19) I got my car repaired by AutoMotif in Cork, a team led by Paul Allen 
(20 I interviewed a policeman, Garda, about cancer - what Boston cops do with Cork Gardai 
To hear an audio version of this blogpost - with a few extra bits - click here for AudioBoo.
It’s the last few hours before I go on holiday. There won’t be any blogposts for the next two weeks - unless I use my iPad from Galicia, Spain.
From the damp panic of Cork, the crazy perspective of having too many things to do before departure- I can’t tell how I’ll feel over there - I hope to be open to the option of silence.
Holidays matter - for so long no one had them. They are a recent invention, a privilege, an achievement. They are a change, a re-charge, an investment. A holiday opens up the space for something new to happen, a buried seed to germinate, a bit of pruning back, growth.
Holidays don’t come with a guarantee - I’ve had some disastrous ones. They are not always enjoyable - but they always offer the potential of renewal, personal development, and creative work.
Holidays are a time for the artist to emerge, the paintbrushes, the pens, stories, stones from the sea shore. How can I predict what this holiday will do with me? Above all, a holiday is an adventure, a waiting-to-happen.
Holidays are also an opportunity for others - the people you leave behind. You give them peace, quiet, relief, a bit of fresh space. They can get on without you. When you meet again, you’ll be changed people - something may well have shifted. I’ve often wished a holiday on another person - not just for their benefit - so that I might have time without them.
So it is with holidays. Hard-fought opportunities for the shifting sands of shaky foundations to flourish… Playtime.
AudioBoo is one of the greatest inventions of all time.
There’s no point in being half-passionate, half a fan - half a lover.
Of course this judgement is unbalanced, one-sided, partisan, obsessive, crazy. Eh? Well, before you take that view, I suggest you try it for yourself. You may well hate audio - may even detest the sound of your own voice - might ever experience embarrassment.
But you may be surprised at the versatility & diversity of AudioBoo. It seems to me to be a tool you can use for many purposes. Those who dislike their own voice can record others - can become excellent sharers of fine content. AudioBoo is not all me, me, me. It can be used to honour others.
My latest use of AudioBoo include:
(1) Me reading from my #EpicPoem - recorded on iPad early this morning (8.56 mins)
(2) A short visit to Triskel Arts Centre in Cork city - an exhibition of glass - recorded on iPhone yesterday (2.32 mins)
(3) Comments in response to Roy Cellan-Jones who visited Twitter HQ in San Francisco (2.38 mins)
(4) My work - me doing my best to share information about my job & working style (4.54 mins)
Please let me know which one you like best.
I’ve started using AudioBoo. This enables me to talk to people - or at least broadcast.
I’ve gradually realised many people don’t like to read. They simply don’t love the act of reading. Of those who avoid reading, there are many who love audio.
Irish people particularly love radio.
Maybe I’ve been cut off from many people? Maybe, if there was an audio version of my blogposts, I would be more inclusive - and more popular?
I found AudioBoo by accident, and got into using it via my iPhone. [You can contact the CEO of AudioBoo via Twitter @MarkRock.]
So far I’ve made over 30 podcasts - all raw, unedited, each no more than 10 minutes long. You can find them all here.
Yesterday I made 4 podcasts:
(1) Water explosion in Cork - after the water supply to many people was suddenly cut (1.46mins)
(2) My newest business idea - sharing thoughts from my business life (2.41mins)
(3) Blackrock Castle Observatory today - on my way there: what was on my mind (2.56mins)
(4) Where’s best place to visit in Cork City?(1) - all about Blackrock Castle Observatory & Fota Island Wildlife Park (5.18mins)
I hope you find something interesting & valuable among them. My plan is to keep this up and move towards a situation where there is always an audio version of each blogpost.
What do you think of that idea? Share your view in comments below, please.
I began this blog in 2005. The experience that got me into blogging was the thought that my infant daughter, Grace, might read this some day - she might like to find out a bit about her dad. This blog might also become an interesting piece of family history - even a legacy to her children’s children …
Ten days ago, I was chatting to a friend of a sister-in-law - I’ll call her Sarah. Sarah’s father was born in one country, moved to Africa - ended up in Ireland where he had a career. The more I listened, the more I felt there was a great story in the family. I asked Sarah if her dad would write his story. It turned out her father has written 300 pages - and is looking to publish it.
I offered to help with advice about publishing.
This led to an interesting conversation with the author. He sent me a sample of his writing. I’m going to read it to see what the writing’s like. I have no doubt the story’s there. But, is the writing good enough to capture a wider audience?
If you write for your family, you don’t need an editor - they’ll love the story no matter how it’s written. If you write for work colleagues & associates, they’ll be interested in the content - you won’t need to do much editorial work.
If you want your story to capture the attention of strangers, you have a job on your hands.
There is so much stuff out there, why should anyone read your story? There are too many stories for anyone to read all the good ones. [See Gabriel Zaid "So Many Books".]
It has to be the writing. The quality of your writing better lift the story to another level. You don’t get to be able to do that without a lot of practice - perhaps at least 10,000 hours of practice before you begin to become a good writer?