A little about me

Rawr!

I’m a 40-something man, working for one of Ireland’s largest financial institutions. I’m originally from Dublin southwest, but for the last 15 or so years have been living in County Kildare, with my wife and our 3 cats.

The most satanic of our three cats. Bless him.

We have been given the opportunity to take a mini-sabbatical for 12 weeks. In fact, my last day was the day before this post was published… wooo! Somewhat fortunately, the purchase of our apartment in Volterra was completed towards the end of last year, and we’ve already had a run at living there during April for two weeks. So far, so good… but the house still needs some furniture, and artworks and assorted knick-knacks to personalise the place, but it is totally livable in. We are departing for sunnier and, perhaps, windier climes next weekend for 9 weeks!

So what else do I like to do? I’m a bit of a geek, in that I like science-fiction and some urban fantasy books, but I also love some crime novels. I tend to ingest stories through the medium of audiobooks these days, with non-fiction/research coming by way of print. I am also a hobbyist creative writer, and aspiring novelist, who needs a kick up the arse to improve his productivity! Last year, I was shortlisted in both flash-fiction and short-story categories in the Michael Mullan Cancer Fund Writing Competition, and I’ve entered the same competition this year, again in those two categories. Keeping my fingers crossed! My novel has some 62,000 words out of a target of 80,000 written, and I hope to complete the first draft and part of the first edit during my stay in Volterra.

Although I have little in the way of drawing-skills, and my spatial-awareness is pretty low, I still like to dabble in graphics work – mostly parametric stuff, like tinkering with photoshop filters and settings, and using landscape generation and rendering tools, like Terragen. In fact, the writing group of which I am a member (Naas Creative Writers Group) will publish an anthology of our works later this year, and I hope to have a couple of visual pieces in it. A sample of my writing:

Stairs began to lead down, thankfully, at the end of that terrace level. But like its sister town, Atrani was equally labyrinthine, and darker. Much darker. Bernard took out his phone, and used the flashlight on it to find his way through looming houses and slender, covered passageways, heading further down than he would have thought probable, given his earlier vista of the town. Shady stairwells in wound in every direction, like earthworms’ tunnels. However, after several missteps and turns, he suddenly emerged in the smaller town’s square. The noise of people enjoying food, drink and music suddenly flooded joyfully back, like the sparkle from the accompanying bulbs strung out across the piazza. He blinked for a moment, and through an arch, saw the beach, not more than a hundred feet away. He went through, and remembered to turn left to the far end of the beach, and smiled when he saw an anchor buried atop a large collection of craggy boulders. Beside it a man waited, the glow of a cigarette waxing and waning like a distant lighthouse.

And a sample 3d-rendered landscape:

Rendered in Terragen, with some corrections in Photoshop

I love movies, and the big kid in me is having the time of his life during this golden-age of superhero films, but all genres are welcome.

Finally, I love food. I love to eat it, smell it and think about it. I spend a lot of my idle time doing just this. There is probably nobody I know (yet), who is as in love with grub as I am – but I have heard that Italians feel the same way, so maybe they will give me a run for my money. Up to now I haven’t cooked much, strangely, but that will be remedied in Volterra!

I cooked a lamb ragù with pici a few weeks ago – it was delicious!

Until next time!

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