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Month: December 2016

Happy Feelings

Happy Feelings

Hey world, how ya doin’? What me? Oh I’m grand thanks for asking! Just grand.

Last week got off to a rocky old start with the journal. I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, but it just seems like the chaos of a fractured mind.

I realised on Tuesday evening that I’d been obsessing about the journal way too much. I should give Monica a call to let her know that I got the stuff, but the week has been blur. Between my journal obsession and… other things, I’ve not really had the time. You know when you meet someone and you just seem to hit it off straight away. I think that’s how I feel. I’ve made a connection with someone that I haven’t had since… well, I was going to say David, but to be honest I don’t think I really had that much of a connection with him.

Once I’d relaxed (and had a few calming, cheery chats with my new friend) I flipped through the journal again, no longer looking for anything, just looking at it for what it is… and I found a few more readable passages…


“Set forth from the heart of a wishing well to find the knight who rests ascended o’er four thousand thoughts away”



And this little figure caught my eye:

I had to trace him myself because the pages still don’t show up in pics…

I don’t know why, but there’s something about the little guy, yeah? But here’s the odd thing… I can’t find the bits of the chicken and fox story now. ???

I can’t let this set me back. I wasn’t even expecting the journal in the first place. I have a proper plan and I’m going to stick to it. Ackerly Green 2017!

The city is amazing this time of year. Magical. London at Christmas is wonderful too, but it’s a different kind of wonderful. Here, this just feels like it’s where Christmas belongs. I was beginning to dread being at home on my own this weekend, but now I’m actually excited about it. I’ll have a lie in, treat myself to breakfast over Skype with Mon and then head out into the city for a walk with Tori Amos Midwinter Graces on repeat. Maybe make it all the way to Rockefeller Center? (Look at me, a true New Yorker now, I think midtown is much too far.) Then I can round the day off with BBC iPlayer (thank heavens for VPN!) to taste a little more of my old home.

As they say here: Happy Holidays!


What To Do

What To Do

The company is formed. Ackerly Green is real again. So that’s finished. Orvin has assured me that it gets quiet from Thanksgiving until the new year in the states so I should stop worrying that I haven’t heard anything more from the companies I’ve been investigating in the hopes one will hold the rights to Through The Night and The Wolf and The Wild. (I’m also secretly hoping they’ll have the rights and copies of the rest of the books as well.)

So what to do?

Nothing but obsess over my father’s mysterious forty-year-old journal, that’s what. I spent the past two days funneling all my pent up curiosity into this strange book.


That’s The Monarch Papers Volume One (1979-1984). And the hippocampus charm. And the scarf which it turns out was my mum’s (though Mon spelled her own name wrong on the package when she sent all this so I don’t know if I can completely trust her completely.) Notice the marks around the edges of the journal? They’re bite marks. Strange, right? And it gets so much stranger.

There are loads of blank pages, and most of the pages that aren’t are essentially nonsense, symbols and reversed letters in other languages. It’s hard to separate it all out. I’ve had two headaches just from flipping through it. That’s not an exaggeration.

There’s one symbol centered on the second page of the journal. In my googling I discovered it’s the Greek symbol for “psyche.” I thought it might be interesting to my one reader (Hi Cole!) so I took a photo of it. This is what it looks like…

It looks like nothing. I took pics of ten other pages and that’s what they all look like! What?!

Searching for invisible or security ink led be down some interesting rabbit holes but nothing at all explanatory or definitive. Maybe it’s a special ink that was used in publishing? To protect manuscripts? The ink is green which is out of the ordinary. Mystery in a mystery!

I’ve found a handful of “normal” writing so far (aside from the chicken and the fox story) and I admit I keep hoping I’ll find something in his journal to… connect with. Some kind of insight into what he was thinking when he walked away from everything. Like I did. I guess that’s connection enough, knowing how my life has mirrored his without my even knowing it.

With nothing else to do and needing to funnel my curiosity I’ve written down the passages that jumped out at me. These are the normal, run-of-the-mill bits…

“Dark water writhes, less reptile than Castor?”


“Six Keys Surround Another.”


“Millenary Outstretched Arms Reveal Sadko’s Temptation. Look Above CC.”

“Heart. Bone. Pig. Spider. Vinegar. Sheep. ???”


Yes. These are the normal bits. Ugh… I just–

Hours into this and curiosity has finally given way to absolute frustration and now my eyes ache and the passages I’ve just written down are impossible to find again. There’s nothing so frustrating as desperately looking for something that just isn’t there. A hint, even microscopic. Something.

One more dead end I think. But something about it… it’s like the pocket watch I lost. It makes me feel closer to him.

Out of Sync

Out of Sync

I know, I know! It’s a Tuesday and she’s posting, what is the world coming to. But seriously, this couldn’t wait for my ‘every-Thursday-like-clockwork-Ms-Organised-2016’ routine! We’ve officially entered into bizarro-world!

The stuff from Monica arrived today. A couple of pictures of mum, some of me, and also some letters he sent her. A scarf that’s either mum or dad’s, a hippocampus charm on a chain (!) Interesting, but all pretty normal.

But then there is the book. It’s a journal dad wrote and at first I thought it was full of quotes, like he was taking notes, but the more I read of what’s in it the more I’m convinced this is something he himself was working on. But none of it makes any sense at all!

I’ve just skimmed through it really, it’s all over the place, though I could have missed something completely and it’s just some sort of stream of consciousness first draft of a book he was writing.

Something called The Monarch Papers Volume One.
There goes my Tuesday…

UPDATE: Last evening, after a few hours (and a few relaxing glasses of wine) I was feeling less flummoxed by the whole thing and started noticing there were bits of a little story broken up on different pages. This book is so terribly dense and disconnected I have trouble finding pages I’ve just read, (though that might be the wine) but I managed to jot it all down. Was dad writing some sort of parable? Not sure what he was trying to get at, but maybe this was just the first scribbling?

  • Fox was hungry, and took a fancy to one of Mrs Carey’s chickens. The largest in the flock in fact. But this chicken, being bigger than the rest, was stronger, faster and smarter than the others. To save her sistren, she decided to lead the fox on a merry dance away from home.
  • By now the fox had circled round the Knight and was on her trail once more. He angrily skulked past the pool and seeing the signpost took the road toward a certain land.
  • Poor fox, however, exhausted from running all day and night and day again, had little energy for the swim and soon got into trouble and drowned. When chicken reached dry land, she shook the water from her feathers and sighed.
  • The fox ran after as fast as he could and nearly caught her at the bridge. But the chicken flapped and was able to stay out of the reach of his jaws to land at the feet of a brave knight on horseback. The knight held the fox at bay with his lance, allowing the chicken to flee eastward far past the forest, past the reflection, to rest at a palace. Here the King gave her shelter and soothed her tired spirit with laughter and song.
  • She ran far south, maybe twenty thousand thoughts from home, just fast enough to keep the fox on her trail. She led him to the field of wings, arms and hooves where she thought she might lose her pursuer. She was right, the fox was confused by the flurry of hooves, and almost missed the chicken heading to the lighthouse nearby.
  • Chicken would have to swim to safety. But all she could see was water, she could see no land to rest on. Then she noticed the man on the sands who looked out and revealed where the nearest point of land would be.
  • As he approached the palace he heard the sound of merriment and clucking and realized the chicken was inside. Fortunately one of the fiddlers in the court saw the fox sneaking up on his prey and struck up a dreadful noise, alerting everyone to the intruder.
  • Chicken could not stay with the pixies, she knew. The fox was too close and would find her soon enough. So she came up with a plan. She told the pixies to say she was heading north to the trolls. Instead she turned east remotely, and after many thoughts found a nest to rest in.
  • The fox was lost and roamed the roads for the rest of the day and through the night. With dawn came a shift in fortune, and he found the chicken’s scent near the tower. Chicken was surprised, and a frantic chase began, through waterfalls and caves, o’er hills and woods, until reaching the shore.
  • Hearing the noise, the chicken took to wing once more the chicken ran through a cornfield straight into the path of a snail, who suggested that she head Southward instead to take shelter with the pixies. But the fox, full of fire and hunger was near upon her, and was it not for an onlooker’s intervention she would have been caught long before she reached the wall.
  • He chased her to the top of the lighthouse where the chicken had to jump to safety, catching the northeasterly wind, carried almost a thousand thoughts on her outstretched wings toward a distant bridge.
  • Where had her tale ended?

    That’s it. I’m not even sure if it’s in the correct order (wine.) What was he working on? I do love a mystery…

Progress at last!

Progress at last!

I’m excited! Progress at last.

This week I got a hit on one of the books from my Google alerts. It led me to a blog and a post about The Wolf & The Wild.

This person said they read their father’s copy when they were a kid (which I agree would be completely innapropriate. That book was DARK) so I’m hoping against hope that either the blogger or their father still has it, and if they have one Ackerly Green book, perhaps they’d have more!

At this point though, I feel like I’m swimming upstream. The business of getting the other two books back have been a spider’s web of companies that no longer operate and disconnected phone numbers. I would love for this to be the one that turns things around, but I can’t help but feel there’s something more I should be doing.

I’ve been trying to get to grips with the direction the company (I’m all official and incorporated by the way!) and how that relates to the family. To me. I get the sense that the Ackerly side of things was quite serious and, dare I say, a little on the dark side. The tone of the books to date just seem to reflect that and that doesn’t fit with what Mr Wallace and everything else is telling me about my dad, or his dad for that matter.

I also get the sense that AG was meant to be one thing, ended up being another, out of fear or mismanagment, and when my dad took over the reigns he couldn’t quite pull it back to where it was meant to be. I mean, we’re not talking a disastrous direction, but clearly it wasn’t successful, otherwise the shops would still be filled with their titles, wouldn’t they? It’s interesting that the company logo is Herman too. A hippocampus. A hybrid – fish and horse. I definitely get the feeling that the Ackerly family are the horses in all this. A working animal: dedicated, proud and elegant. And the Greens, well we’re obviously the fish. Fast, a little frenetic perhaps, but free and in flow.

I’m choosing to believe that my dad would want more fish in this world. Nothing wrong with horses of course, but I feel he’d want to inject a bit of that freedom into the books. Like the life he lived after he walked away from it all. That’s kind of what I want to do. That spirit of travel, exploration and adventure. A whole ocean of wonder to swim in. That sort of works for how I’m feeling. I need more of that in this crazy messed up planet that others are trying to control. We need more moments of fantasy, not to escape but to learn and grow. We need to be more… fish.

#bemorefish LOL!

Right, I’m going to post a message on this blog and see if I can get this next piece of the puzzle. Maybe this next piece will be the one that finally helps me see what I’m actually putting together.


The Recent Past Comes Calling

The Recent Past Comes Calling

Okay, slightly freaking out.

At the weekend I got a WhatsApp message…. From David! It’s been total radio silence for months then all of a sudden this: Hey D. Long time. Heard you were in NYC. I’m in town before Arctic shoot. Want to grab a pint?

Heart doing somersaults. Stomach churning. Mind (that was, let’s face it already in a pretty fragile state) now spinning at 180 rpm. You think a chapter in your life is over. You’re convinced that it’s done and you move on. I’d done my grieving, I’d been through my stages and I was firmly and comfortably in acceptance. Then this. Everything just gets thrown back up. Almost literally!

I wasn’t sure what to do to begin with. I thought the best option might be to just ignore it. I’d left all that behind in London. I’d managed quite successfully to rebound with Ciarán (and I’ll be honest a few others – I may have not been 100% honest about not making friends here, but you know… a girl needs a few things for herself.) The point is… I had fully moved on and now all the crap had just came flooding back. After about ten hours of just staring at the message and being completely paranoid about the fact that he will have seen those two ticks that mean I’ve read the damned message. Fuuuuuuuuuuuu… So, I replied.

We went for lunch. Not dinner (that’s a date), not coffee (that’s pretty much a prelude to…) Lunch. Lunch felt safe. It felt formal. Business like. Maybe I would hire him to take photos for the company website or I could offer to consider his work to illustrate a story. Or something. I was grasping at straws a little. I just wanted him to know that this was not going to be a friendly encounter, this was… I had no idea what it was going to be. Business?

It ended up being nice. Nice as it could be, given… He was apologetic about London and being away all the time and… Well just all the rubbish we went through. He’s met someone who also travels, but they’re keeping it casual. He looks good. I kind of wished he didn’t look so good, but he always did. But there was a moment in the meal when I sort of realised that his being so good looking made him kind of beige. A little bland. There’s not that much that’s interesting about him. Maybe that’s why he points his camera at such diverse and interesting things, because he isn’t that interesting. Nice, just not that interesting.

After ninety minutes I made my excuses and left. I walked back to the house with this mixture of relief and sadness. Relief that, yes, I really was over him, but sadness because it made me think about London. About Ireland and Auntie Mon. I thought I was settling here and just beginning to feel like this is where I belonged and then the past comes up behind me and taps me on the shoulder.

I called Mon the next morning to make sure that this feeling wasn’t anything serious. It wasn’t of course. This is right. This is home now.

While on the phone I took the opportunity to try and get a bit of clarity on my childhood and anything more she had about my dad. Her answers all seemed to be a bit vague again. She did say that she had some stuff of mom’s in the attic and she thought mom might’ve kept some things of dad’s. She said she’d dig it out and send it over to me this week. I really believe that if I can understand more about him, the Greens, then I can get a better insight into the kind of company I should be building. Maybe the life I’m building too.