A Perfect Moment

There are times in life when everything comes together in one perfect moment.  These moments are rare and sometimes we can be so distracted, we only realise they happened after they have passed. To be aware of one of these moments whilst it is happening and to have a camera on you at the same time, to capture the magic and preserve it for all eternity is an incredible stroke of luck.  Thankfully I had one of these such incidences of luck last year when on holidays in Ireland and took the photo below.

Photo of girl running in the water at the beach

A Perfect Moment

The photo is of my daughter as she runs along the beach, the water splashing at her heels and the sun warming her bones.  Now, the west of Ireland is a beautiful place to be on any day of the week but on a day when the sun shines it is sensational.  We were blessed with weeks of uninterrupted sunshine, long lazy days of summer with ice cream afternoons, beach days and breath-taking sunsets. To get a summer like this in Ireland is too rare for words, to get a summer like this the only time you have been home for two years is incredibly special.

This photo was taken at about 4:30 pm in the afternoon on a day when the heat from the sun enveloped us like an invisible blanket that never seemed to end.  The kids were pottering around the beach, building sandcastles, making stone sculptures and just being.  I was relaxed in a way I can only be when I am in the west of Ireland – at one with body and soul.

My daughter decided to go in for a dip and I watched and listened as she lit up the beach with her smile and squeals of delight.  As the cold water connected with her little body, she ran unfettered and free, a perfect study of joy in flight and I knew….. I knew I was witnessing one of those childhood moments that precious memories are made from.  I reached for my phone, activated the camera and clicked and clicked.

A year later I’m sitting at my desk in Australia, yearning for an Irish summer in the west of Ireland and not knowing when I’ll be there again but I have a precious memory, a moment of pure joy captured on canvas, hanging on my wall.  For the minute that will have to do but I feel so lucky to have grabbed that moment and preserved it.  Looking at the photo brings me back to that day and an indescribable moment of happiness shared by me and my girl.

A Many Splendored Thing

All my life I have enjoyed a rich and eventful life at night.  Come the time I close my eyes, I enter my dreamworld and all sorts of wild and wonderful things happen. Sometimes, they haven’t been so wonderful and I’ve had nightmares I’d rather forget but my dreams are always vivid, colourful and powerful.  Over the years I’ve also experienced what I call “auditory dreams” where someone / a voice is saying a word or words to me throughout the night.  These “hearing dreams” are rare and I only need my two hands to count the number of times they have happened but it just so happens I had one the other night.

The words, “love is a many splendored thing” kept being repeated throughout the night to the extent that when I woke up I immediately googled them and to my surprise came across an Oscar winning song that was featured in the 1955 movie of the same name.

Colour Poster of 1955 Movie

The 1955 Movie – Love Is A Many Splendored Thing

The lyrics are beautiful and I thought I’d share them with you today.

Love is a many splendored thing
It’s the April rose
That only grows in the early spring
Love is nature’s way of giving
A reason to be living
The golden crown that makes a man a king

Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist
Two lovers kissed
And the world stood still
Then your fingers touched
My silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love’s
A many splendored thing

Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist
Two lovers kissed
And the world stood still
Then your fingers touched
My silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love’s
A many splendored thing

Interestingly, the sentiment of the song has particular relevance to my current work in progress about a man who decides love is not for him and the line, “then your fingers touched my silent heart and taught it how to sing” perfectly describes what happens to him when fate throws him under the love bus.

Why the title of this song repeated itself to me throughout the night, I have no idea but I’m glad it did. It’s been covered by many artists over the years but one of the best versions I’ve heard is by Old Blue Eyes himself and I’ll let him do justice to it for you today.  Take it away there Frank.

The Smile

I saw this beautiful video on facebook the other day and it reminded me of one of the most amazing days in my life.

It was approximately seven years ago and it was the day my little girl met her baby brother for the first time.  Ah that’s sweet, I hear you say but does it really fall into the amazing category? Well, yes it does when you consider her baby brother had fought for his life since being born at twenty-nine weeks and wasn’t due to be born for another six weeks.  But as amazing as that fact was, it wasn’t the most amazing thing about the day.

I’m not sure how much you know about babies, I didn’t know a whole lot until I finally managed to have one but they don’t properly smile until they are between six and ten weeks old.  Apparently their facial muscles aren’t developed enough to pull off a full-on beam.  They may entertain you with plenty of adorable expressions and attempts at a smile but the main event doesn’t usually come until at least six weeks of age.

So here’s the amazing thing, on setting his eyes on his big sister and hearing her squeal of delight, the baby affectionately known as Scrappy, broke out into one of the biggest smiles you have ever seen. Yup, he pulled off a mega-watt beam of joy that reduced us all (including the battle-hardened NICU nurses) to tears.  The only exception was his sister, who was captivated with him from the second she set her eyes on him and proceeded to smile back.

Little girl holding baby boy in her arms

Sister & Brother Finally Meet

Very often we only recognise defining moments in our lives as we look back and view events with the benefit of hindsight, however, I knew immediately this was a defining moment in my life.  I knew if my son (who wasn’t even supposed to be born yet) could pull off a smile like that for his sister, someone who he innately knew, then he would be okay.  He would make it.

All too often these days we are bombarded with science and it seems someone, somewhere has all the answers but if my son’s incredible smile taught me one thing, it’s that we don’t have all the answers and sometimes things happen that just can’t be explained. At a time when so many seek to break the most incredible events in life, such as falling in love, into their component parts e.g. hormones, pheromones etc I think it’s wonderful that life keeps us on our toes and her mysteries up her sleeve.

So, the next time you smile, think of Scrappy and feel the magic of life.

Yulin

Dogs.  I adore them. Always have and always will.  To me, dogs are angels that walk on this planet with us and accompany us on various parts of our journey through life.  Guardians, comforters, companions and endless sources of joy.  If there is one thing I can depend on in this world it is the total, absolute and unconditional love of my dog.

Photo of dog

My Old Girl – Zara

black dog on beach

Miss Billie

A number of years ago as I was setting out for a new life in Hong Kong, a friend commented that I’d better keep a close eye on my dog because “dogs end up in pots” over there she said – half joking, half serious.  I dismissed her words as a joke at the time, thoroughly believing the dog-eating stories of Asia to be exaggerated tales of a practice that was dying out and still only to be found in the more remote regions.  Sadly, how wrong was I?

Social media has been a hotbed of stories in recent months regarding the dog-eating trade in Asia and attention has focused in particular on the upcoming Dog-meat “festival” in Yulin, China.  I think to call what takes place in Yulin a “festival” is a gross misuse of a word which implies something is being celebrated.  The torture and barbaric slaughter of thousands of dogs is most certainly not a celebration but a blight upon the world and an event that deserves all the international condemnation it has received in recent months.

Dogs in cages

The Unfortunate Dogs of Yulin

Those who defend it do so in the name of culture and “way of life” as if this means it is somehow excusable and shouldn’t be questioned.  Whereas the local authorities have officially banned the event it is still expected to go ahead as the ban doesn’t seem to extend to actually taking action to prevent the slaughter and is more of a saving face exercise than anything else. Meanwhile, the ruling proletariat in Beijing are content to sit back and do nothing.  Well that is simply not acceptable.  If customs, superstitions and the “way of life” argument were acceptable arguments for doing nothing then we’d still have gladiators fighting each other to the death, witches burning at the stake and kings, queens and emperors ruling empires.  The Chinese authorities have shown themselves well capable of tackling cruel practices before, such as foot binding, now completely eradicated throughout China but a common practice till very recently.  This was even more embedded in the Chinese psyche than dog-meat and is now gone as a result of the Communist Party banning it as a consequence of many campaigns by conscious objectors both inside and outside of China.

Graphic of paw and hand

STOP The Slaughter

Thankfully, there are a growing number of animal welfare activists in China who are trying to to do something about the Yulin situation and the dog-meat trade in general.  It is thanks to them and their use of social media that the rest of the world is aware of what is going on. We can’t stand with them in Yulin to physically rescue these unfortunate animals from their terrible fate but we can stand with them on facebook, twitter, and every social media site available to us and let them know we support them and their efforts.  Share the hashtag  #StopYuLin2015  and do one small thing for the animal we all know as man’s best friend.

Happy Birthday William

As regular followers of this blog will know, I’m rather partial to the odd spot of poetry.  Some keen observers may have noted that one of my favourite poets is William Butler Yeats, who just happened to be born on 13th June 1865.  To mark this legendary poet’s birthday, I’m sharing two of my favourite poems of his with you today.  Enjoy.

NO SECOND TROY

by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

HY should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?
Black and white photo of yeats the  poet

William Butler Yeats

The Cloths Of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Love Wins!

Well it’s been a week since Ireland rocked the world and voted yes for gay marriage.  I knew the wonderful people of my country would do it and they did it in spectacular fashion.  So many people have expressed surprise to me stating the fact that the Republic of Ireland is pre-dominantly a Catholic country.  Yes it is but to focus on Catholicism is to miss the point, first and foremost the people of Ireland are Irish and a passion for freedom and equality beats at the very heart of every person in Ireland.  Each scandal involving the Catholic Church over the last twenty years has loosened the shackles that institution used to hold the country in, to the point where many who might have made their decisions before, based on doctrine and liturgical rhetoric, now look into their own hearts. And what they have found there is compassion and love, two precious commodities many religions spout about but so few practice.  Well done Ireland, you displayed your beautiful heart and soul to the world and I couldn’t be prouder to say I’m Irish than I am today.  Below is a beautiful video collage of some of the special moments of an incredible day in our history.  Enjoy.

A Vote For Love

Today, the people of the Republic Of Ireland go to the polls to vote yes or no for marriage equality. That is, they are voting for the right for gay people to enjoy the same marital status as heterosexual couples.

Wedding rings on rainbow coloured cloth

Today Is The Day Ireland Decides On Marriage Equality

Whereas, civil partnerships and gay marriage exist in other countries, Ireland is the first country to hold a national referendum on whether or not to enshrine the legal protection of marriage equality into the nation’s constitution.  Basically, the Irish people are getting to say how they feel about gay marriage.

Art work of two men embracing each other

An Art Installation In Dublin In Favour Of A Yes Vote

The debate in Ireland has been a lively and impassioned one for the last few weeks and has diverted off into areas such as “the fall of the family”, children’s rights, adoption, surrogacy and human rights.

If I was in Ireland today (and I dearly wish I was) I’d be voting YES and my vote would be driven by one simple principle: My vote would be a vote for love.  As far as I am concerned love is sacred and it’s sacred whether it’s between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and a man. With so much hatred in the world, I feel we all have to do as much as we can for love and to provide a counterpoint to those with hate in their hearts.  Marriage is a celebration of love and I look forward to all people being able to celebrate their love through the medium of marriage, if they so choose, regardless of whether it’s same sex marriage or heterosexual marriage.  I thoroughly believe Ireland will lead the way today.

Poster in favour of yes vote in marriage referendum in ireland

Vote For Love

How Writers Roll

It’s Monday. It’s raining. It’s beautiful.  The kids are gone back to school and I am surrounded by blessed silence tempered only by the drip, drop, pat, pat, pat of raindrops.

School holidays for me mean no writing and as much as I love and adore my children, this causes me a certain amount of frustration, especially because I’m not the type of person who can easily pick up a story, like a piece of thread and just start sewing it together again.  No, I need to ease myself back into it, to pick up the mood and re-acquaint myself with my characters.  That’s just how this writer rolls.

The story I’m currently working on is about a man who has decided love is not for him.  Of course fate has other ideas.  Over the next few weeks I will be dealing with the crux of the story and its main theme – love.  So, in order to “pick up the mood” and find some inspiration for hopefully some decent writing over the coming weeks I’ve been listening to Ed Sheeran and reading love poetry.  Not a bad way to pass a rainy Monday!  In my efforts to find inspiration I came across this stunningly beautiful poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox and I’d like to share it with you.  Its so incredibly beautiful and yet astute in its observation of the physical and emotional state that is love. It blew me away.  Enjoy.

Love’s Language

How does Love speak?
In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
The quivering lid of an averted eye–
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
While new emotions, like strange barges, make
Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
Still as the dawn, and with the dawn’s swift force–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the avoidance of that which we seek–
The sudden silence and reserve when near–
The eye that glistens with an unshed tear–
The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
As the alarmed heart leaps in the breast,
And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek–
The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
In all fair things to one beloved face;
In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
In looks and lips that can no more dissemble–
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss–
Thus doth Love speak.

Fathers, Forgiveness And Acceptance

I logged on to the internet today and saw a story going viral that could be straight out of the pages of my novella Over Your Dead Body.

Over Your Dead Body - the story of one man's need to resolve the past so he can have a future

Over Your Dead Body – the story of one man’s need to resolve the past so he can have a future

http://www.amazon.com/Over-Your-Dead-Roisin-Black/dp/1500859389/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428030687&sr=1-2&keywords=over+your+dead+body

It makes me so sad that this boy and so many others who come out have to go through this terrible rejection.  I was also struck at how the son doesn’t hold the father’s cruel words against him and hopes they can still work out a relationship.  I was stunned at how the son is obviously way more mature than his own father!  I applaud Tyler’s bravery and hope he finds as much happiness as he has found support from around the world.  I also hope his Dad finds it in his heart to get over himself and his bigotry in order to work out a loving relationship with his son.

[Reporting from http://www.dailymail.co.uk]

“You are so brave, many admire you”: Outpouring of support for 15-year-old boy who was told his coming out was ‘worse than death’ by his FATHER in Facebook messages posted online

A teenager has received support from around the world after he revealed his father had called his coming out as gay ‘worse than death’.

Vancouver-born Tyler, 15, posted the Facebook conversation he had had with his dad on his Tumblr account, in which he is told that news of his sexuality is an ’embarrassment’.

He reveals that he first told his news to his sisters, who were extremely supportive, and then came out to his mother, before telling his father.

Photo of fifteen year old boy who is gay

Tyler

In response to Tyler’s news, his father wrote back: ‘We took care of you since you were a baby. We loved you, took care of you when you’re sick. Lost many days and nights in all your fifteen years.

‘Now this is what we get in return, shame and embarrassment.’

He continued: ‘If only you didn’t reject God and His teachings in your life you could have been strong enough to stay from evil and scums that surrounds you. Stay away.’

In further messages, perhaps in response to Tyler’s Tumblr post, his father went on: ‘Take out your post from social media.

‘You embarrass me from all the people I knew.

‘I’m going to puke. Whatever you do it reflects on me. People will ridicule me, insult me, and I might turn out to be a criminal. I have enough of all this bulls***.’

Image of social media exchange

Some Of The Exchanges

He concluded: ‘You are trying to ruin me. This is worse than death.’

Discussing his father’s messages in an interview with Huffington Post B.C., Tyler, who lives with his aunts, said: ‘I’m hoping there’s still the possibility that he could change, even if it takes a while.

‘Maybe he could accept me, because that’s all I want… I just want him to be there for me.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2997096/I-m-going-puke-Father-reacts-15-year-old-son-comes-gay-Facebook-messages-calling-embarrassing-news-worse-death.html#ixzz3WDMzyP8d