I recall two occasions early in my 'career' where I wish my teachers had spoken up. 
The first was at the age of 11. A year had elapsed since changing schools from primary to grammar/secondary school and  as an alumnus I went back to visit my old primary school - Beechfield Street Primary, Belfast. My favorite teacher and now Principal, Mr. Oliver, remarked "I thought you would have made a great soccer player. You could have captained the team, but I didn't think you were that interested!" Not interested, I would have sold my soul to have heard that when I was 9, 10 or 11! As it was I became a semi-useful breaker of legs rather than an ball-dribbling artist.
The second, and still on the theme of artists, was when at 16 I had to choose my university career path - arts or science. I opted for science - more money I thought! Again some time later I was speaking to my former arts teacher, I think his name was David Crone who is one of Northern Ireland's premier artists.  He told me that he was disappointed when I gave up arts/painting. "You had promise." Why on earth didn't he mention that when I was 13,14 or 15 and thought I was pretty miserable at art? Maybe he did, and as with most teens it went in one ear and out the other.
The decision to forsake arts for science, however, has recently come back to 'bite me in the arse.' I was good at history in grammar school. I mean I was the best. Straight 'A's with little effort. On reflection, I have often thought that had I to do it all over then I would have stayed with history. In the end, maybe I have returned to that 'first love' as an author of historical fiction

 
 
Picture
Sometimes it is hard for a reviewer to do justice to a book apart from simply recommending it as a ‘must read.’
 The Selkie Pact by Author Judith Fullerton is such a book. Apart from a storyline that maintains the reader’s interest from page 1 to page 294, the book evoked deep and happy memories about a culture and region – the North Antrim coast of Northern Ireland, which I left behind some years ago. However, The Selkie Pact is not only for the teary-eyed diaspora of Ireland, but a new fairytale with global appeal.
The building of the characters, descriptions of the townlands and coast, and use of local expressions blend seamlessly to tell an enchanting story of Finn and his family and the fulfilling of the ‘pact.’ The Selkie Pact is a book that children and grandchildren should enjoy as much as parents and grandparents. Buy it, sit down in a comfortable rocking chair with your grandchild on your knee and enjoy the tale and its telling.
I should also add that the cover artwork by Belfast-born artist Michael McEvoy is the perfect complement to the story.


 
 
I see the car seat being readied,
Which house am I to visit?
Which bed for sleep tonight?
Which toys?
Which clothes?
What food?

It’s all for fairness,
I’m to be enjoyed by all.
Mother, father, grandparents,
They all have a right to me.

I have no choice,
That was taken away.
At eighteen I’ll get it back,
But that seems a long time -
To be without a home.

David H. Millar, Musings on an Almost Granddaughter

 

Stubbornness!

01/22/2015

 
Head angled to the side,
Fists clenched in anger,
Tiny feet stamp on a tiled floor.
You remind me of another child,
Stubborn and beautiful as you,
She stood her ground,
Unflinching, defiant.

I laughed,
At her as well as you.
Perhaps I shouldn't,
For she remains as stubborn,
And likely so will you.

David H. Millar, Musings on an Almost Granddaughter
 

Calvin Klein

01/19/2015

 
It’s you,
I know it is.
The footsteps on the tiles,
The accent when you speak,
The unshaven face,
The eyes that smile for me.

I laugh,
And run,
With arms spread wide.
But more than this,
I know it’s you,
Because of Calvin Klein!

David H. Millar, Musings on an Almost Granddaughter
 
 
They tell me I’m a precious gift,
A treasure loved by all.

That’s why I’m exchanged,
In a mall parking lot,
Come winter, spring, summer and fall.

David H. Millar, Musings on an Almost Granddaughter
 
 
"If I can prevent one tear - I will. For she will have tears enough in her life."
- David H. Millar, Musings on an Almost Granddaughter
 

Pampers!

01/15/2015

 
I am a little Pampers box,
Of greens and blues and yellows.
I’m used to store expensive toys,
But look around with glee.
For they are emptied on the floor,
While Sasha plays with me.

David H. Millar, Musings on an Almost Granddaughter
 
 
"And the king said: 'Fetch me a sword.' And they brought a sword before the king.
And the king said: 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.'" (The Bible, 1 Kings 3:24-25)

I guess instead of a sword we use lawyers today.
 
 
Doesn’t it get very tiresome? 
The constant “he said…she said” of so-called informed political comment. There’s always the “10 awful things you didn’t know about” Republicans, Democrats, Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Irish, Latinos, Whites, Blacks, etc. etc. Newton’s Third Law has been reworked as “for every list there is an equal and opposite response.” The art of debate has given way to “my lists and my facts” versus “your lists and your facts.” Apart from the side that spawned them, who actually reads these lists? The phrase “don’t believe your own press” seems quite apropos.