OUTSIDE MY CLOSE circle of friends, people have reacted with surprise when I mention that I’ve written a book.
After the initial congratulations, I’m often asked what its about and what prompted me to write it.
Both questions are easy to answer.
My debut novel Pathfinders is a sci-fi/thriller which explores the theme of lucid dreaming and what lies hidden within the dark corners of our mind.
I ask people to think of it as ‘28 Days Later’ meets ‘Inception’. The latter movie came out in 2010 and in many ways was the first introduction of lucid dreaming to the mainstream, so people think that I was inspired by the movie.
That wasn’t the case, although I’m grateful for the increased interest in the phenomenon as a result of the movie.
I actually started writing Pathfinders in 2003 when I had just graduated from University. My interest in the subject started when I read the book ‘Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming‘ by Stephen La Berge.
When I had my first lucid dream, I was hooked (my experience is documented here).
Since then, I was determined to find out more about the subject and read countless online articles to seek easier paths to this lucid state, but failed to find a way back, despite my best efforts.
I’ve written all my life, whether it be short stories throughout my childhood and teens, to blog posts (this is my third blogsite!). The dream of becoming an author is something my family have known for a long time, but not something I’ve shared publicly, for fear of failure/ridicule/rejection.
Work, as work tends to do, gets in the way of such grandiose plans to chase ones dreams, so despite writing, rewriting, polishing and editing my novel over a decade, it wasn’t until 2015 where I decided to take the punt and give self-publishing a go.
In many ways, the birth of this novel was never guaranteed. Without the support and prompting of friends, it would still be gathering pixel dust in some electronic archive online.
The fruit of a decade of labour, it may not even sell a single copy with its release on March 1st.
If it was about money, I certainly wouldn’t have quit a well paid job at a top software company in Dublin to emigrate 5000 miles to Colombia, where the cost of living is considerably cheaper and where I can spend more time doing what I love, at least until my savings run out.
My father passed away nine years ago. Retired at sixty, he finally found the time to give voice to his own creative potential, having harboured a dream to write ever since his twenties. Only a year into his retirement, an incurable brain tumour cut short his life.
In the years leading up to retirement, he found some success, his short stories published in books and he featured on radio for the BBC NI ‘My Story’ series which showcased original Irish voices.
I never appreciated his talent while he was still with us. Only now, I look back and read his stories with affection and the questions bubble to the surface; questions I wish I could still ask him – ‘Did THAT really happen?’, ‘Was that really how you learnt guitar?’
If I have children, I would love to leave something behind – a collection of stories or novels where they can better understand who I was and what I enjoyed.
Hopefully they will laugh at some of the memories I share, just like I do with my father’s own as he would describe early childhood memories of cutting turf with his own dad, an experience lost to our generation.
Now, my father’s stories and poems are invaluable to me – a living memory of his voice, where he comes alive in the text.
His legacy lives on, to be shared and enjoyed by his kids and grandkids for decades to come.
image attribution Tim Geers via CC