• West Cork Literary Festival 2021

Alexander Black

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Bio

Well for the purposes of this Profile lets say I’m a story teller who’s trying to write. I’m OK verbally (most of the time) telling a story, but writing one is a bit different.
I am a professional procastonator and surprisingly I have just finished my first (‘shitty’) draft of my novel. Well its only taken thirty years. Twenty eight thinking about it and two years actually writing it. I am the writer who writes and worries about grammar and structure and inverted commas and full stops and all that stuff after I’ve written a piece. Which is a pain but I am afraid I’ll lose the thread if I do not get it down on paper.
I’ve tried a bit of “Flash” and “Ad hoc” fiction in the past but find writing less is more difficult than writing more. When I write I look for the humour or quirky side of situations. That’s it for now, I’m sure I will rewrite this bit after Ive read all your excellent Bios. I’ve joined for help and feedback. (I know, be careful what you wish for)

Current project

I have just finished first draft of a novel I have been working on over a year or so ( well 28 years in my head 2 years on paper). Its approximately 90,000 words in length and I haven’t a clue what Genre it falls in. It’s set in Ireland and England in the early eighties and contains everything from teenage angst, Involvement in the republican movement to sexual perversions and pompousness of (some) British MP’s. With a bit of murder mystery thrown into the mix.
It’s basically about a young naive dreamy teen who is thrown into the adult world when he is accepted as an apprentice mechanic in a big garage in Dublin. He reluctantly accepts and then unwittingly becomes involved in a plot to murder a very high up British MP when all l he wants is to do is to have a girlfriend, lose his virginity or at the very least masturbate in peace .

Writing sample

The Absolute Limit
Chapter I
Thirty nine forty and twitch, bang on time every time.
‘Its hard to say” said the barrister. “It is a unusual case and one that I have
not come across before.’
His accent was of an English upper class gentleman and was distinctive along with his twitch. Two to the side and one jerk up then a forty second gap and repeat. His long scraggly white hair that sprung out from under his grey wig, was in contrast to his neatly pressed barrister garments.
He continued talking to the three of us, but the echoed chamber made it
hard to hear him clearly if you were not right beside him. Someone told me the courts were designed like that in the old days to afford privacy in the open.
I kept my distance as he had “wet lips” where there was constant spittle on the blubbery top and bottom lip that gathered and then sprayed his spit indiscriminately on to those in the zone.
Not for the first time these days my mind started to drift and create a fantasy
around the situation. The fantasy was usually around whoever I was observing, partaking in some kind of musical number from some random musical that would be at odds with an alternative take or a glimpse to their seedier side or what I imagined would be their fantasy world. Usually the innocence was blunted with a murder or kinky sex scene.
The interactions would also include some unlikely groupings or couplings. For example, the fat bespectacled law assistant who looked like ‘Billy
Bunter’ and the much older ‘good looking for her age’ classy but totally stuck
up bitch of a barrister would be going at it like rabbits across her desk. He,
being bent over the desk and her taking the part of the male. Rumour had it
she had it strapped on twenty four seven.
Meanwhile next door the totally upright and god fearing judge strangled the young office assistant because he was afraid that he had gone too far with his bondage and sado machoism.
The fear that a white male elderly married judge would be found to be having an affair with a black male intern frightened him, so he killed him, by way of strangulation. Might as well have some fun, sure you can be hung for a sheep as lamb he thought.

This would take place while the other barristers sang …
the song “Truly Scrumptious”* as they walked around the large oak table table in the library of the court in their wigs and gowns, momentarily stopping to courtesy each other.

By the way these little scenes in my head have no actual effect on the story I’m about to tell you but as they were present in my mind whilst some of the weirdest, scariest things in my life (or anyone else’s for that matter) were occurring I thought I might
share them with you. Just so you the reader get the whole picture of David O Reilly.

Anyway just as the scene was coming to an end I heard the echoey sound of my mother “David, David are you listening?”
………………………………………………………………………
*Truly Scrumptious from the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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