2015: Awareness

I made new year resolutions this year, for the first time in as long as I can remember. I’ve got big ideas and bold plans for the year ahead: Writing, Yoga, Adventure. Above all, awareness.

All told, I had a great 2014.  A year of travelling all over the world, a year of creativity and friends and laughter and so many fun times. So many happy photos on Facebook, upbeat updates on Twitter. But there was more going on behind the scenes. There was a lot of "broken-ness". There was sickness and sorrow, jealousy and bitterness, envy and hopelessness. I don’t like to advertise it when I sob on the floor. I don’t think any of us do. 

When I thought about this post, I was going to post an artful little shot of my resolution preparation: notebook, fire, glass of wine. 

But fuck that. 

You wouldn’t be able to see the counter full of dishes, the rumpled bed, the dust and dirt that accumulates when I’m busy pursuing my dreams (or procrastinating). 

It wasn't perfect. But I am really excited about the year ahead. I don't know where it will lead, just like I couldn't have predicted where 2014 would lead. Sometimes that's really scary. Sometimes I don't know what I am doing at all. Sometimes I feel broken, lost, messy. But then I look back and so much has happened even in the darkest times.

So, if you are feeling broken, lost, messy, alone or like you don’t know what you are doing or where you are going? You are not alone, I have you in my heart <3


To keep track for myself for those days when all feels lost, in no particular order, here’s what I am most proud of myself for accomplishing in 2014:

- Finished the first draft of my novel

- Gave a talk about play and the occult at game festival (twice!)

- Brought a game I designed to a game festival (twice!)

- Saved up and went to Thailand for a month

- Taught project management to some fantastic students in DIT

- Actually made rent money from writing

- Sustainably supported myself through freelancing work for the first time

- Met and talked about writing with two of my heroes (M John Harrison & Grant Morrison)

- Taught interactive fiction at the Irish Writers Centre

- Ate olives

- Became a full-time part of the Fumbally Exchange community

- Did a handstand in yoga

- Finally paid my 2010 income tax (I know!)

- My name is on MARS right now!

- Guested on my favourite podcast (twice!)


And for those days where everything seems possible, I want to remember to keep a check on what I’m not proud of at all & aim to be better at in 2015:

- Procrastinating all the live long day all the live long week all the live long month all the live long year...

- Jealousy and envy, so much jealousy and envy!

- Making excuses for anything for everything

- Sticking my head in the sand about money/security/health

- Hubris of the highest order

- Mess mess mess mess mess

- Over-reliance on social media to fill/alleviate moments of anxiety

- Not doing enough yoga/meditation

The Week of Living Intensely

Last week was intense. Like a rich espresso paired with some 80% chocolate, it was both delicious and almost-too-much.

I wrote, taught, presented, read, drew, coded, meditated, socialised and more - throwing myself into what each day held with abandon. There was lots of laughter and plenty of tears. I’ve worked really hard since leaving my job to shape a creative life and it is now definitively coming together (with the small exception of earning money to keep it going!). Last week was a no-holds-barred culmination of many things that had been in the pipeline a long time. Along with the heart-warming wedding of two lovely friends and a spirit-uplifting Zen meditation workshop, I did A LOT:

Read More

Invisible Walls: First Draft

This weekend I took part in a game jam in Derry/Londonderry thanks to Global Gamecraft. It was a 24-hour rollercoaster: one full day and night in which to make a game alongside many other like-minded folks to a specific theme chosen at the start of the jam.

The theme for the Derry Game Craft was: “Reality becomes a prison to those who can’t get out of it.”

For my game, I wanted to work solo and make my first game in Twine (an engine for creating interactive fiction and CYOAs). I had installed Twine on my laptop and read up on a few of the most popular resources, including Porpentine’s extensive resource list and Anna Anthropy’s quick and easy guide.


Here’s my brainstorming ideas and thoughts from the first hour, when I was trying to decide what to make and how to make it, a process that changed around a lot over the 24 hours. 

I decided to write about someone trying to escape reality itself. My aim was to create a kind of interactive poem with the majority of time dedicated to writing something  that could almost stand alone without the game element. However, I ended up spending a LOT of time working on learning javascript to enable an inventory and create conditional actions and (before the Counterstrike players entered the building and destroyed the internet connection), into selecting nice images for my player choice states and learning how to support Vines to expose background information and have some menacing humming noises in the background (none of which is in the below iteration of the game due to internet problems).

Massive props to Vicky, Andrea & Dave for organising such a great event! 

Here's my game: 

Invisible Walls

Over the next few days, I’m going to fix the following issues:

  • Swapping out the colour-text player choices for images representing similar choices. I couldn’t do this at the jam due to internet.
  • Adding in the humming noise.
  • Adding in Vines for background texture and information.

What did I learn from the experience?

  • How to use Twine.
  • Quite a few little tips and tricks of javascript.
  • How great it is to finish something!
  • You should download assets early, waiting too late might mean no assets at all!
  • I can absolutely stay up for 24 hours with just a small nap on the floor midway. 
  • An alternating diet of coffee/wine/Maoam is pretty great for maintaining energy and enthusiasm.
  • My legs do not appreciate sitting down for 24 hours.
  • …but my eyeliner stayed on the whole time!
  • No sleep and the above diet make me pretty weird…you have been warned.