My parents fought all the time. One particularly horrendous episode lasted for months without a break. My brother and I used to hide in our rooms. You did not want to be anywhere near their line of fire. My mother was an alcoholic, my father a rage-aholic. Both of them were “Irish.” I use the quote marks because they called themselves Irish, even though they were both born in Buffalo, NY.
My father’s mother was born in County Clare, Ireland. I never met her, though I have her to thank for my dual Irish citizenship. I have never been to Ireland. After my mother died and I was making an attempt to connect with my father I invited him on a trip to “the old country.” Even bought the tickets. He first accepted the gift, then declined. I can’t remember why. I can’t remember what I did with the tickets either, but I didn’t go.
I never met any of grandparents. They were all dead before I was born. My parents rarely talked about them, and when they did it was chiefly to complain. Alcoholism. Abuse. Neglect. And so on.
In an earlier post I wrote about this same topic:
“My parent’s never told me anything about my Irish heritage. The Book of Paul was my way of trying to make sense out of the way my parents behaved – or why they even bothered having children in the first place. One time when I asked my mother what her father was like, in an effort to understand where I “came from” and how “she got that way”, she immediately broke down, sobbing uncontrollably:
“He was…a…bastard!” she sputtered, immediately followed by father’s contribution to the conversation: “Gooddam it! Why are you upsetting your mother?”
So much for exploring my roots. The truth is, I know nothing of Ireland and the Irish people other than what I’ve read and how I saw most of older relatives behaving — which was typically cruel, cold and withholding – except for a few kind, loving, funny ones, mostly women, like my Aunt Norine, who was my salvation. In The Book of Paul, I created my own mythology to explain what I was never told. I do know this: my grandmother was born in County Clare. I have dual (duel?) citizenship. Yet, I haven’t been there. I will someday. I will go with my family. I will hope we don’t get stoned by my very distant relatives for the things I have written about The Church.”
The reason for my dalliance in this old, dark alley is that I now have many social media connections in Ireland, particularly on twitter http://bit.ly/OlzkUV.
Because so many of my new cyber friends are Irish (minus the quote marks), I want to extend an invitation to read The Book of Paul — my very dark, very creepy, very funny supernatural thriller. For one reason, I want to know how I did with Paul’s accent and my Gaelic translations – those weren’t mine actually, they came from the Irish Translation Forum. More importantly, I want to get some feedback on the Celtic mythology segment.
So in appreciation of my Irish ancestry, a genetic pool awash with kindness and cruelty, poetry and invective, poignancy and pathos, wry humor and overwrought drama — I’m offering 20 free ebooks to all Irish born citizens who love a good, twisted yarn – and aren’t going to bust my balls with unnecessary vigor for the things I may have gotten wrong. I also strongly recommend that anyone who is still devoutly Catholic decline my offer.
Just to be clear this is a limited time offer. That time is July 26-August 4, 2012, unless I feel like doing it longer or doing it again which is really up to me cause it’s my shit I’m giving away. Winners will be chosen at random via pub dartboard. The 20 free ebooks will be sent in either epub or mobi formats via email, so subscribe to the newsletter or leave a comment to the post with your email. Don’t pass them around to your friends and family – the ebook only costs a Starbuck’s Grande Latte on Amazon fer Chrissakes — http://amzn.to/LJf2nX.
I hope the winners (and hopefully a few purchasers) enjoy my epic journey of corruption and redemption – or at least get a few chills and laughs along the way.
With love, your almost Irish brother.