It’s Life, Jim, But Not As We Knew It.

Having lost my day job, I have had to take a long serious look at what I can do to keep the bills paid for the next two years. Let’s face it, at my age, getting back into the workforce will be difficult at best. Despite my willingness to work for a reasonable wage, potential “bosses” will be intimidated by my confidence and experience. So I have developed a three track strategy to keep my sanity:

1) I keep applying for jobs but don’t have high expectations. If only businesses would have the courtesy of issuing a reply. I can take rejection, it’s the “not knowing” that hurts. OK. I’m saying this NOW.

2) I am concentrating on my comfort zone. I have gone back to web site development and I am enjoying it. Seriously. One of the downsides to working your way up the ladder is the fact that you can get removed from that which initially interested you in a particular career. Now, I get to choose and it ain’t half-bad.

3) Writing. No more excuses. I now have the time. It’s a matter of divvying up the time but here goes!

With the above strategy working for me, life is not bad. I can keep my positive mental attitude and I am managing to keep my head above water.

Have you any advice that you would like to share? I’m all ears.

Oh, and if you are in need of any website development, give me a call please? Cheers!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

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Just Another Sunrise

Just Another Sunrise

The sun rises over Cala Cristal near Villaricos in southern Spain

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August 17, 2012 · 9:56 am

Killing Me Softly

One hand on the steering wheel, he channel hopped the radio. Unusually for a man, he was bored with sports news.
Nope, don’t like that either. He pressed another button.
Roberta Flack. He hadn’t heard her for quite some time. Years in fact. And she sounded as good as ever. Maybe even better. And thankfully, it wasn’t being ruined by the boys from the ‘hood who had “updated” it in recent times. No, this was the plain vanilla flavour and it was good. Very good. So good in fact that he vividly remembered returning home from school at lunchtime, turning on the radio and hearing it for the very first time. Back then, it had struck a chord instantly with him. When in his mind women were special. They were loving and caring. Faithful. Honest, decent. The best that humanity had to offer. And he was in no doubt that women were equal to men. They were people. And he knew that someday he would find one for himself. He was unaware back then that women got paid less than men for similar work. He never changed his view. He frequently wondered “What’s she doing now.”
Someday.

As though it were only yesterday, that haunting melody, that smooth voice, he was touched again. The music effortlessly spanning the intervening decades.
“Killing me softly with his words,” she sang. He felt the emotion, experienced it, longed for it. Back then. And looking back he realised that he had found it. Minutes ago, when he bade farewell to his wife, he had noted how well she looked. She was still beautiful. And he was glad that he had told her so.

 

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Silver Linings and Clouds – update

I have had an interesting development that has influenced me to temporarily hide the original “Silver Linings and Clouds” post.

More later 😉

All good.

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Silver Linings and Clouds

They walked together through the almost empty warehouse.
The boss scrunched his eyes shut as he pushed his right hand back over his forhead and onto the place that had once held a thick head of hair but was now shining like an apple.
‘Times are tough,’ he began.
‘Cut to the chase,’ the other interrupted.  ‘Am I gone?’
The boss nodded.
‘I’m afraid so, yes.’

Nine days earlier, two staff had been made redundant and “the others” wages had been slashed by twenty-five percent. That was hard enough. In an ironic gesture, the Boss brought all of the staff out to lunch as a way of saying “thanks” to the staff who were leaving. He made a big deal of the generosity of the owner that permitted him to bring everyone to lunch. But the other knew who was really paying for it. That’s where his hard-earned twenty-five percent was now being wasted. So much for saving the business. And now, thinking that he had escaped the worst, he too was being made redundant. Yet the future viability of the company rested on him. So the baby was actually being thrown out with the bathwater. Was it any wonder they were in such a state, he thought.

The next day was Saturday. Fridays were more often than not the day used to break bad news. And of course he was not the only one to be made redundant on that Friday. Another three people also got the speech, although they probably listened to more of it, he reckoned and smiled to himself.
His phone rang while he was out, cutting grass and contemplating. Grass cutting was always a good time for him to think. In between emptying the bag of green. Up, across,down. Nothing too taxing about that. He stopped the mower.
‘How are you feeling today?’ the finance guy asked.
‘It’s funny you should ask,’ the other said. ‘Not good. To be honest, I think that it is stupid that no option other than making some people redundant seems to have been considered.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Why is it that no one was offered the opportunity to work part-time instead? I mean it doesn’t make any sense to me that half the workforce were let go and now the rest are fearful of the future. If everyone had been asked to go on part-time, they would all hold onto a job and get some assistance from the state as well. Then who knows? If business picks up, the knowledge and skills are still in the company and can be scaled back up. I’m just saying.’
But he appreciated the call.

On Monday, the other went in to work as normal. He had a month’s notice to work apparantly. Should this have applied to a redundancy? Whatever. It gave him time to think, time to look for another job. Time to make plans and arrangements. Breathing space.
The last thing he expected was to be offered a new contract with the same company. Albeit a three-day week one.
Yet, that’s what happened.

So now, there could be plenty of time to write.
If only the company can stay afloat.

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Tweets That Make Me Mad

Usually, I enjoy reading Twitter. For the past couple of years (boy does time fly!) I have built up a select number of authors who I like to follow. Alongside twitter accounts for resources that are very useful for writers. I enjoy the banter between strangers, who seem increasingly like friends. Sort of eavesdropping on twittered conversations. I say sort of because they are not private and no one expects them to be. But they are confined to the followers so there is also a subtle feeling of belonging. I like it.

Recently, for some inexplicable reason to me, the number of people who are following my account has been increasing. Nothing phenomenal but usually one or two new people a day (I hate to call them ‘followers’) I make a point of not auto following and I make no secret of that fact. I think that that practice is a bit shallow. But that’s just me. I like to review the tweets of new people before following back. In no small part, this is so that I can enjoy the flow of tweets. I like to try and keep it to a manageable number as it can be difficult to keep up with a wordstream from 200 people. But I do have a soft spot for anyone connected with the writing business and what usually happens is I follow them to see what they are using their twitter accounts for. The ones who do nothing but self-promotion generally don’t last long with me. It’s just boring. (Note to self – “Don’t do this type of thing”)

A couple of weeks ago, I received a DM (Direct Message on Twitter) from one of the authors that I had been following. There was something about it that was, well, nasty. It said something along the lines of “Hey @donkearns, you won’t believe the nasty things that they are saying about you here …” followed by a shortened link. Well sorry. If that is a smart ass attempt at being creative with self promotion or something, I don’t buy it. In fact I “unfollowed”.
Immediately.
With extreme prejudice.
Perhaps his account was hacked. He wouldn’t be the first for that. But I just won’t have it.
So long sucker.
And no, I didn’t visit the link. Even if it transpired to be something harmless, I thought that it was in bad taste.
Has anything like this happened to you?

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The Good Place

I recently discovered a nice haunt. Eason’s bookshop in Nenagh, County Tipperary.
It did strike me as being more than a little ironic though that as I sat in a real bookshop and sipped on a delightful Cappuccino, I was reading a Kindle. But I really, really enjoyed it.

Image

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A Kindle In The Wind

You have to hand it to Amazon for terrific customer service.

Returning from work on Friday evening last, I was changing into my duds (yay, it’s the weekend!) when a €2 coin fell from my pocket and onto the unprotected screen of my new Kindle. (It is a pity that a cover is not included in the price. However, Tesco’s are now selling Kindle’s and covers. The covers start at under €15. Suffice to say, I now own one.) Back to my Kindle and the €2 drop. The result was that I now had a blemish on the screen. Nothing major but a distraction. It was contained in a cluster of maybe 4 pixels – enough to fill in the space inside a letter “d”. Enough to smudge a letter. But it was magnetic. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. When I was reading a page, I kept bumping into it. A bit like a skip on an old LP (remember those? Anyone? Bah!)

Anyhow, I emailed Amazon and asked if there was some reboot procedure that I could try on my Kindle to see if it was a transient error. Something that might right itself with just the barest nudge in the right direction. Bear in mind that I told Amazon exactly what had happened. My €2. My fault. Mea culpa.

After a short email exchange and an online text chat, Amazon sent me a new replacement Kindle. No charge. I have to return the old one within 30 days – they aren’t stupid! But what a great service. Hats off to you Amazon.Well done and thank you.

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Words Of Wisdom (and a self-kick in the behind!)

I have just read some wonderful words of wisdom on Irish author Colette Caddle’s website. Particularly as I apply them to myself. Regarding her writing tips, she says to aspiring authors:

Don’t Prevaricate
If I had a Euro for every time someone says to me ‘I’d love to write but I just don’t have the time’, I would be able to retire! Its an excuse, folks, there’s always time. Even when you’re sitting in traffic or outside the school waiting for the kids, you could be scribbling away. Some of our most successful authors were still in full employment when they started writing. Yes, its hard, but you don’t get nothing for nothing. Be under no illusions, writing is a job like any other but if it’s the right career for you, it will be a labour of love.”

So I feel inspired again.Stop my whining about the lack of time and just make the time.

You can read more of Colette’s tips here

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A Very Helpful Writing Resource

Looking for a great site to help you in your writing endevaours?

The site at www.writing.ie is superb. Whilst the site is clearly an Irish focussed resource, it is packed full of tips, event listings and copious writing resources that can help in the development process for aspiring writers and authors everywhere.

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