For this blog post I decided to look back at some of my old writings that I never published. I wanted to see what thoughts and ideas were coming to me back when I was on my travels. Below I have two excerpts of my writings, both related to music and both written from the local café I used to visit daily while living in Montréal. At the time I was working painting houses. Painting gave my mind plenty of time to wander and think. Or if I became fed up thinking about the things I was thinking about, it gave me time to listen to audiobooks and podcasts and learn about new things to think about.

When I got home from my day’s painting, I would quickly cook myself some dinner before grabbing my laptop and notebooks and heading down to the coffee shop to write. Writing seemed to give me some sense of feeling whole and connected to something greater. It allowed me to escape my current surroundings and live in a new world for a while, a world that I was creating.

And funnily enough as I write this introduction I am still listening to that same writing playlist I mention in the piece. I’ve put a link to it below for anyone interested in giving it a listen while they write.

April 13th, 2019 - Presse Café, Montréal, Canada

Quel est votre profession? Je travaille comme un peintre.

I’m sitting here trying to think of what I want to say. It’s been a few months since I wrote a blog post and I decided I’d post one this weekend. My thoughts have drifted from giving a broad overview of my last few months to diving specifically into one particular habit I’ve recently cultivated that others may also find great benefit from. But as I sit here in my local café, listening to my writing playlist on Spotify, I am filling up with a strange energy that seems to only be conjurable through certain music. I suppose that’s what I could write about today. Music.

Music is probably the most effective tool for rapidly altering my state of mind. An upbeat song such as Mic Christopher’s Heyday can snap me right out of a slump and transport me to the streets of Dublin on a beautiful summer’s day. I’m suddenly walking across O’Connell bridge with the sun beating down on my face. I close my eyes to feel its warmth as well as the freedom of my youth. I realise how lucky I am for the life and opportunities that lay ahead of me. Don’t ask me why this vision comes into my mind when I hear that song - I must have been in a great mood one day while listening to it and now I associate the song with that moment.

On the other hand, Johnny Cash’s Hurt can punch me right in the stomach and send me into a spiral of deep and contemplative thoughts. Instead of looking at my life from this bright moment of youth and opportunity for the future, I see it from the perspective of an old man looking back at his past. “Everyone I know goes away in the end”. Did I love them enough when I had the chance? Do I have any real regrets?

Even listening to it now as I write is making me emotional. It might be a depressing song in ways but it can also be looked at as a powerfully motivating one. It simplifies everything. Everyone you love will die and so will you. Once you accept this, opening up and loving people now becomes much easier. What else is important in the end?

Most of us avoid thinking about death. It is always some distant future worry that we don’t have to deal with. But once we live with the realisation that death could be lurking around any corner, we allow ourselves the chance to live fully now. We start appreciating the days we do have left and we can make sure we’re spending them doing what we want.

A question I often ask myself is “If I were to die tomorrow would I have any regrets?” My honest answer is no. Yes, I made plenty of mistakes and there are things I might do differently given a second chance, but there aren’t many things I can say I genuinely regret.

This isn’t how I expected this article to go. I thought I was going to delve into writing about the benefits of listening to positive music in order to boost your mood. But now there is only one question I want to leave you with.

“If you had one year left to live, would you be doing anything differently? If your answer is yes, then my next question is why aren’t you doing it now?”

July 13th 2019 - Presse Café, Montréal, Canada

Music. The beats quickens as does the speed at which the letters appear on the page. The words are typed with the ferocity of the music. They are part of each other. One leads the other. Poetry in motion. Maybe that’s what it means. And as the sound falls away a new thought takes hold in the silence. A realisation of the process.

Is this poetry or is it nonsense. Must it make sense to be understood? Or must it just do enough to trigger something in another. The person who has made his search clear will find the answer in whatever he sees. She will manifest a whisper to him through the wind. The sun will beam on him when he misses her warmth. And he will forever be haunted beautifully by nature. As the silence envelops, his thoughts shout. Bursting forth from where they were imprisoned. Unleashed without warning and without respect for authority.

They have no master, only a disillusioned one who believes he is in control. Yet the thoughts always escape no matter how big the walls are built. No matter how deep the hole is dug they will continue to climb out. They are unrelenting creatures that crave the light. They do not accept hiding in the shadows. They become poisoned as they sit there. Toxic. Destroying all the good in unseen ways. Chipping away at the foundation man has built, unbeknown to man himself.

Cormac’s Writing playlist