The time is near

The clock is queer

I have had more than one beer.

Papa crept downstairs

In the early morning.

The keys are close to the time.

They open the locked cabinet beneath it.

The shotgun is quickly loaded

Two in the chambers just in case

Then the gun is heeled to the wall

And his forehead firmly anchors it.

Hands reach down –

And Bang!

Papa is no more.

ADVICE TO A SON – by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway published around 20 poems in his lifetime – which is about 19 more than I expected!

Never trust a white man,
Never kill a Jew,
Never sign a contract,
Never rent a pew.
Don’t enlist in armies;
Nor marry many wives;
Never write for magazines;
Never scratch your hives.
Always put paper on the seat,
Don’t believe in wars,
Keep yourself both clean and neat,
Never marry whores.
Never pay a blackmailer,
Never go to law,
Never trust a publisher,
Or you’ll sleep on straw.
All your friends will leave you
All your friends will die
So lead a clean and wholesome life
And join them in the sky.




You know I always thought

He had a Romanian head on him

Romanian, how so?

Well, It had that bloated look to it,

And Romanian heads always

Look soggy, I think

Hemingway had it in spades..

‘Course it might be the drink, too

He could never pass a bar,could he?

Or it might be that time he landed on his head

In those two helicopter crashes he had

One after the other, the same day I think.

Split his skull open

Exposed his innards to those African parasites

Who knows what damage they did,

Rampaging around his grey matter.

He never said much about it afterwards

Though that twinkle in his eye

Often looked more like a twitch.




Going round the sun sixty eight times

Takes some doing

Even if you are merely a passenger.

The first time round was really a blur

No sense at all that we were

Doing almost seventy thousand miles an hour.

Mother said I screeched most of the way

And that the snow piled high

For months every day.

Even the tenth spin;

I don’t recall a lot of that

Except that it was the year mother got fat

For a while, anyway

And then she was thin again.

The years stretched to decades

Still round and round we went

Sometimes I travelled in the company of steel bars

And sometimes I journeyed with the stars.

And there were times when writers came to say

Becket, Behan, Millar, Hemingway

Of course the children came too.

But for many years I have tripped with you.

My father got to number sixty nine;

I wonder how many rounds will be mine?


 taken from my poetry collection ’67 PLUS’

available @  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-OBrien/e/B0034OIGOQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1388083522&sr=1-2-ent



‘What kind of animal are you then?’, she asked me.
‘Well’, I replied
‘I do not growl like a bear, I roar like a lion’.
‘Ah, one of them, are you?’
‘No actually, I’m more of a bear to be honest’.
‘Oh, they’re fearsome creatures, they are’.
‘Not really’, I said ‘once you get to know them.
For instance, take me
The other day, whilst in my bear mode –
Brown bear, I might add –
I took a notion to frighten some motorists.
I spotted a likely candidate and stepped from
Behind my tree hiding-place
And plonked myself in the middle of the road.
Then a motorist stopped and began berating me’,
You’re an ugly brown bear, you should be ashamed;
Trying to frighten people

Get out of my way. Don’t you know who I am?
I didn’t, but he told me anyway.
I am Ernest Hemingway.


When Ernest Hemingway blew his brains out with his shotgun in his kitchen on the morning of July 2nd 1961, he wasn’t the first in the Hemingway family, nor would he be the last.
His father, Dr Clarence Hemingway, took the same way out in 1928, though he used a revolver and not a shotgun.
His sister, Ursula, who was suffering from cancer, took a drug overdose and died on 30th Oct 1966
Leicester Hemingway, Ernest’s younger brother shot himself with a .22 pistol in September 1982
Actress/model Margot Hemingway, Ernest’s grand-daughter, died of a drug overdose on 1st July 1996

Gregory Hemingway – sometimes known as Gloria Hemingway – and Ernest’s third son, died under mysterious circumstances whilst in police custody on 1st Oct 2001.
Gregory said of his father’s death; ‘I am glad my father is dead because now I can’t disappoint him any more’. Gregory, who was a practising doctor struggled with the cross of his father’s fame all his life. He also had problems with his own sexuality; he was a transsexual, sometimes living as Gloria Hemingway. Despite this, he married 4 times, including his father’s assistant, Valerie Danby-Smith. They had three children together before they finally split up in 1989.



Smashwords Interview with Tom O’Brien

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Today just might be the day the postman doesn’t ring twice! In other words, no rejections today. (THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE was Jame’s Cain’s best seller and its title was inspired by the fact that his postman always rang twice if he was delivering a rejected manuscript!)
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading mostly. To be a good writer you have to be an even better reader. Other writers fascinate me; how they put a book or play together;what it is about their work that makes it great; what I can learn from them. I am often in awe of how good some writers are.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I am an avid reader of reviews, be they in newspapers or online. They don’t necessarily have to be good reviews, just interesting. With certain writers I don’t even bother with the reviews; when a new book comes out I just know I will like it.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I do. It was a story about a security guard planning a robbery at a holiday camp ( I worked as a security guard at Pontin’s holiday Camp in Bracklesham Bay in Sussex at the time) and it was terrible. Complete rubbish! Needless to say it never saw the light of day.

Continue reading



It is very difficult to motivate yourself to write something clever and witty when you look at your dashboard and see that you have had one visitor all day. ONE VISITOR! My grandfather has had more than that today – and he has been dead for 60 years!

Do we writers ever ask ourselves who or what are we writing for? I think I can safely say there are more writers around today than at any time in history. Recently somebody came up with a figure of 150 million blogs alone on the internet. I think I will do a Hemingway – get out my shotgun and blow my brains out!

Seriously, why do we do it? It’s not as if most of us are making any money out of it.

George Orwell says one motivation to write is sheer egoism, that we write out of the “desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.”

It could be a reason I suppose, but it could just as easily be more Orwellian clap-trap.

Maybe we write to change the world? People consume now more than ever in the history of the world. We eat more, we listen to more music, and we consume more information. However, most people have the attention span of a gnat these days, so I don’t think that will wash.

To discover the meaning of life? Victor Frankl, the psychiatrist said “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.  Writers are uniquely gifted to find meaning for themselves and to help others find meaning. In fact, this has always been the main task of storytellers. Every story matters to the person living it, and our job is to tell the universal stories, the stories that reveal the story of every person on the earth”. Sound like a right load of psychiatric bollix to me!

I like Dylan Thomas’ words on the subject;

In my craft or sullen art

Exercised in the still night

When only the moon rages

And the lovers lie abed

With all their griefs in their arms,

I labour by singing light

Not for ambition or bread

Or the strut and trade of charms

On the ivory stages

But for the common wages

Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart

From the raging moon I write

On these spindrift pages                             

Nor for the towering dead

With their nightingales and psalms   

But for the lovers, their arms

Round the griefs of the ages,

Who pay no praise or wages

Nor heed my craft or art.



The first draft over everything is shit– Ernest Hemingway

There speaks one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Some advice, such as the above, is common sense, and some, such as this ‘write about what you know’ is shit. If all writers followed that advice how many great books would have been written? Would Orwell have written 1984? would Terry Pratchett have written any book at all? would Shakespeare have written Julius Caesar?  The list goes on. Write about what you don’t know might be more appropriate!

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maugham

The following 21 tips may offer some insight – but I wouldn’t bank on it! 

21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors

to purchase or read extracts from any of my books click on my Amazon page; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-OBrien/e/B0034OIGOQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1388083522&sr=1-2-ent



Ernest Hemingway got it about right;  There is nothing to writing, you just sit at your typewriter and bleed.


There are 10 types of writers block – I kid you not!

You can’t come up with an idea.

. You have a ton of ideas but can’t commit to any of them, and they all peter out.

You have an outline but you can’t get through this one part of it.

You’re stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.

You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.

You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.


You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyzes you.

 You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey in this one paragraph.

 You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you’re turning it into words on a screen and it’s suddenly dumb.

. You’re revising your work, and you can’t see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.


Oh jaysus, if I didn’t have writers block before I’ve got it now

to purchase or read extracts from any of my books click on my Amazon page; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-OBrien/e/B0034OIGOQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1388083522&sr=1-2-ent