In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Sunday, 28 May 2017


This fun poem was written during a very boring stage in my young life when I was an office clerk at the Belfast Corporation Electricity Department's Power Station West - sometimes time dragged and imagination headed towards the surreal.  One day I stared at a calculator and...........

0, 1 and 9
decided on the plan
to make the great escape
but they needed helping hands.

3, 6 and 8
were happy to connive
and they managed to convince
2, 4 and 5.

After much discussion,
with a serious harangue,
7 with reluctance
joined the numbers gang

In the office lunch hour
from a crack under the plus,
the digits made their getaway
minus any fuss.

Friday, 26 May 2017


Why do politicians 
feel the urge to show they're tough,
during a term of office,
when they exceed their huff and puff?

They sometimes take the notion
to give their swords a rattle,
as they find some rhyme and reason
to take us into battle.

Perhaps they want a portrait
of themselves in General's kit
to show how bold and brave they were
when they bombed some place to shit.

They have the gift of oratory,
they can make a lie sound true,
they can make a case for warfare
on behalf of me and you.

Why don't politicians admit,
with mea culpa honesty,
that while they can walk from office,
the dead have no such luxury

Thursday, 25 May 2017


For some time now, I have had a hankering to attempt to write a screenplay but, after research, I thought the chore of getting the script format right was going to be too time consuming and a hassle. But further recent research has introduced me to brilliant software, and even better, it is free.

In the past, I have had a go but I got fed up. The software I am using is called CeltX and after a couple of clicks as I type, everything - character names, dialogue, action instructions, etc - drops into place on the page.

It looks great and, well, professional, as indeed it should once I get to the pitching stage.

The screenplay is an adaptation of a radio script I wrote called Shaking Hands, an imagined conversation with my father, based on some true background information but fictionalised for drama purposes.

Some will know the broad story. In 1960, he left our Belfast home, his wife and seven young children and pretty much vanished. The next we heard about him was when we were told he had died in Clapham, London at 57 in 1982. The mystery of 22 missing years intrigues me.

Obviously, he is gone but I allowed my imagination to consider the kind of conversation I might have had with him to unravel his disappearance - how he would react, how I would react. Would there be a happy ending with hugs or what? Would we like each other, etc?

Much of the dialogue is written and as I type this post, I have completed 50 pages. The accepted target for a film screenplay is 80 to 100 or so pages, so I am well on the way, and learning as I go.

I update the blog if I think there are any interesting developments.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


Perpetual Motion
by Karrie

Track Listing:

1 This Time
2 Trying To Be Honest
3 Magpied
4 Perpetual Motion
5 Movie Show
6 Bad Habits
7 Wicker Chair
8 No Love In Greed
9 Two ‘A Me
10 Disbelief
11 Hula
12 To Lost Opportunities

The older I get, the more picky I am about music. In fact, sometimes I am hard-pressed to listen to a whole CD, and I include albums made by so-called legends. After a couple of tracks, I find myself giving up and in a lot of cases I never play the CD again. Is it me or is it them? I don’t know. Alternatively, I have records that are very dear to my heart and, like old movies, I return to them again and again. But away from the listener/viewer comfort blanket, I yearn for new material, something special, something refreshing, something that just stands out for all the right reasons.

And, bingo! Here is a wondrous example that blew me away. I listened to it twice in the past few days and for a third time this morning, and not once on any of those occasions did I feel any urge to skip tracks or quit. Rather like a good book that has you turning the pages to see what’s next, each song whets the appetite for more.

It is a mellow record for the most part and there is nothing wrong with that. It is like an audio spa day, calming, relaxing and soothing, with the added bonus of clever lyrics that do not always rely on obvious patterns.

Karrie O'Sullivan wrote all the songs and what a collection of superb songs they are. The brilliant opening track, This Time, sets much of the tone, opening a door to tracks infused with a little folk here, some cool jazz effects there, easy listening at its most sublime, but always carried (Karried?) by confident singing performances, exquisite harmonies, expert musicianship, outstanding arrangements and exemplary production.

It should be very easy to sample and buy Perpetual Motion. I urge you to seek it out. It will not let you down.

This is a beautiful record and, from Mr Picky here, I can’t see how it could be any more perfect.

Here are links to some YouTube performances:

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Monday, 22 May 2017


Shaking Hands
By Joe Cushnan

This play was written as a 45-minute radio drama. It is fiction, based on several facts from the author's life. A 60-year-old son tracks down his 89-year-old father to question him on why he left the family home, a wife and seven children. In the quest to find out about the 'missing years', the son finds it hard to suppress simmering anger and the father clings to hope of reconciliation. The script is adaptable for the stage and would be useful for student actors to practice their skills. 

Any drama group interested in considering the play, please contact:
Northern Irish drama groups would be ideal but I think the script has wide appeal. 

I am not looking for any fee or other financial return from amateur groups.

ISBN: 9781786101631

A BBC correspondent said this:

“Thank you so much for sending ‘Shaking Hands’, it’s a very thoughtful, emotional and intelligent script which I very much enjoyed reading.  I thought your treatment of the relationship between father and son was very interesting and viscerally drawn - you really could feel the anger and frustration and hopes and vulnerabilities of the characters as they negotiated the stages of the meeting.  Although I was secretly hoping for a happy ending, I also very much admired how you left the piece, with no resolution possible given the past, but perhaps some understanding for the characters. Unfortunately however, we have recently had a piece commissioned, which tackles the story of a daughter tackling her father about the secrets of his past, and although the two pieces are of course very different, we just felt that the subject matter was too similar at the moment and that Radio 4 would be unlikely to be looking for another piece in the same territory.”

Another BBC correspondent said this:

"I really enjoyed your play and thought it was a very moving story. I was engaged throughout and very curious to find out how it would end. Unfortunately, I'm afraid we have recently completed our current commissioning round for productions scheduled into 2019. Therefore, sadly, we won't be able to offer to help develop this script further at present."

Very nice, encouraging comments, so I think it has legs!