I Joined the Lifeboat

I’ve never been so proud to be a trainee. I recently joined my local lifeboat (think volunteer firefighting meets the Coast Guard). We’re out on the bay every Monday night, in all weather, training to save lives at sea.

Writer Charles Daly trains with Bantry CRBI lifeboatThe crew remains on-call 24/7 to respond to distress calls and take part in search and rescue efforts.

Because of Ireland’s latitude, our training hours are in total darkness from now until springtime!

Photos by Matt Masters

 

 

 

Bantry CRBI lifeboat

Bantry CRBI lifeboat

Bantry CRBI lifeboat Bantry CRBI lifeboat

Handwritten Challenge with Dead Reckoning Collective

Today is day 17 of Dead Reckoning Collective’s 30-day Handwritten Challenge. Every day for the past two weeks, I’ve been sharing hand-written responses to their prompts on Instagram.

This is exactly what I needed after a summer of life getting in the way of personal writing projects.

There’s nothing like a challenge to keep yourself accountable.  I could be scribbling these in my diary and still get the daily practice, but something about sharing the work forces me to let go of perfectionism and just post whatever I’ve got for the day.

One post at a time, I’m also getting over my fear of sharing my handwriting and putting typos on display.

Here are my favorites so far.

Day 7 – Write a 4-line war poem without mentioning killing or violence.

Handwritten challenge charlie daly dead reckoning collective
Handwritten Challenge – Day 7 – Write a 4-line war poem without mentioning killing or violence.

 

Day 6 – Think of a difficult time in your life, pull a mundane detail out of it, and describe it.

Handwritten challenge charlie daly dead reckoning collective
Handwritten Challenge – Day 6 – Think of a difficult time in your life, pull a mundane detail out of it, and describe it.

 

Day 8 – Write a 4-line love poem without mentioning love or the person.

Handwritten challenge charlie daly dead reckoning collective
Handwritten Challenge – Day 8 – Write a 4-line love poem without mentioning love or the person.

 

Day 5 – Write about your neighbors.

Handwritten challenge charlie daly dead reckoning collective
Handwritten Challenge – Day 5 – Write about your neighbors.

Day 10 – Write about a routine.

Handwritten challenge charlie daly dead reckoning collective
Handwritten Challenge – Day 10 – Write about a routine.

 

 

Thank You, Steven Pressfield

My friend and mentor, Steven Pressfield, recently featured me in his Writing Wednesdays post. This is the one newsletter I never miss. It was an absolute thrill to contribute to it.

Thank you, Steve!

From the post:

This comes via my friend Charlie Daly, who got it from a screenwriter friend of his.

It’s a trick to get your writing going when you’re stuck.

Charlie’s friend will sit down at his laptop, set his fingers on the keys and tell himself, “And the bad version is … “

Then he’ll start typing.

I realized, when Charlie told me this, that I’ve been using this sneaky bit of business myself for thirty years. I just never had the nomenclature.

The Bad Version. We can all do that, right?

By telling ourselves that we’re only writing the Bad Version, we take the pressure off. Our sentences don’t have to be brilliant. Our dialogue can be lame. We’re free to lose complete track of theme, narrative, everything.

It’s all okay because our aim is only to write the Bad Version.

You can read the full post here.

 

The Reading List is Now on Bookshop.org

My monthly reading list is now on Bookshop.org! Ever since I started the list, I’ve struggled with the issue of linking to the books I mention. I want to make it easy for readers to buy them, but I don’t want to send everybody to Amazon when they could give their business to a local bookstore instead.

With Bookshop, every purchase funds indie bookstores, and you can even designate a local shop to get a portion of your purchase. If you’re going to buy books online, this is a better way to do it.

You can find my bookshop here. I’ll be updating it every month with what I’m reading. If you scroll all the way down, you’ll find reading lists in my favorite genres.

You can sign up to receive my monthly reading list here. I’ll let you know what I’m reading and give short reviews of each title.

Reading List for Billy Gormley

This month’s reading list is dedicated to the memory of FDNY firefighter and U.S Marine Billy Gormley. Billy died in 2017 of cancer related to his exposure to the dust at Ground Zero on September 11th and in the rescue effort that followed. Billy’s daughter, my friend, Bridget Gormley, made a documentary about the toxic cloud that took her father’s life: DustIt premieres this Thursday, September 9th, at New York’s SVA theater. You can buy your tickets here.

Steve Buscemi, who produced the documentary, wrote about the dust in Time magazine.

Bridget was featured on New York Nico this week, sharing a story that haunted her father from that day.

Besides marking the 20th anniversary of the attacks, 2021 is the year deaths from 9/11 related illness will overtake the death toll of the attacks themselves.

Fair winds and following seas, Billy. Never forget.

Fire by Sebastian Junger – A collection of essays on subjects ranging from smokejumpers to blood diamonds. I’m revisiting this collection for Junger’s essay on Ahmed Shah Massoud, “The Lion in Winter.” Massoud was a scholar and a warlord who successfully repelled the Soviets and then the Taliban from his valley in Afghanistan. Junger was embedded with Massoud’s Northern Alliance fighters as they fought the Taliban from caves and trenches in the summer before 9/11. Massoud was killed on September 9th. His assassination was the first phase of the September 11th attacks, intended to deprive the United States of a mighty ally in the invasion that would inevitably follow the attacks.

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the Cia, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 By Steve Coll – I want to give a copy of this book to everyone on social media who suddenly fancies themselves an expert on Afghanistan. This is a lesson in complexity and the law of unintended consequences for anyone who thinks the current mess can be pinned on one administration or policy decision. It’s also a wild, swashbuckling tale of old school, cloak and dagger espionage. (I have a ton of recommendations specifically on Afghanistan for anyone who’s interested).

Escape the Wolf by Clint Emerson – A precursor to Emerson’s wildly successful 100 Deadly Skills series, he wrote this eBook at the request of The Wall Street Journal to give their correspondents knowledge to stay safe in hostile environments.  This is a hidden classic of the offbeat travel guide genre, and it could save your life.

SOG: The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster – More swashbuckling… This is the true story of the most secret and deadly unit in the Vietnam war. This book made me realize that Apocalypse Now is probably more realistic than it seems. These guys now have a podcast called SOGcast. A couple of them have been on Jocko as well.

First Blood by David Morrell – The book that inspired the Rambo movies. Sometimes a film franchise puts an author on the map. Sometimes it shackles the author to a caricature of their creation. Rambo did both for David Morrell. He wrote this book as a way of trying to understand what friends who’d come home from Vietnam were going through. They all seemed angry in a very specific way. That was his prompt. What if one of those guys brought the whole war home with him so a small American town had to deal with the reality of it. Morrell’s writing on his process is an interesting look at the role of trauma in storytelling. I’ve recommended his book on writing The Successful Novelist to a few veteran authors.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein – Or the antidote to that 10,000 hours bullshit… Being well-rounded and having broad interests is not only good for you, but it will also make you better at a given area than those who specialize in that field. Scientists who have hobbies and outside projects win more prizes and make more discoveries than those who focus narrowly. Free-range parenting is a better strategy for success in life than tiger parenting.  In some fields, like aerospace engineering, over-specialization can actually lead to disaster. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels bad about starting late or changing careers.

Coco Channel’s writing advice.

The reissue of Captain Willard’s Seiko from Apocalypse Now.

A history of Kayaking in Greenland.

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Clint Emerson’s podcast.

Ryan holiday has a new book on courage.

The perfectionism trap.

A lesson from nesting bowls.


Thanks for reading,

Charlie