Kulchie Kid: Growing up in a crazy culture
 

...

The autobiography of the first 18 years of the life of Daniel O'Beeve.

Daniel was born into a poor family in Catholic Ireland at the end of the Second World War.

Kulchie Kid tells the story of a spirit that is battered and browbeaten, but never defeated.  It is a story of hope and courage.  Of the indomitable nature of the human spirit.  And it is alternately sad, hopeful and manically comical.

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Narrative counsellors help their clients to develop an interpretive story about some aspect of the client’s life, which empowers the client to integrate and complete previously undigested experiences: “Whereas Freud and other early psychoanalytic therapists believed that free association and dream analysis were unearthing evidence about early childhood conflicts that actually occurred, Spence points out that it is seldom possible to verify in an objective sense whether or not these childhood events took place.  He suggests that what therapists do is to help the client to arrive at a narrative truth, a story that makes sense and has significant correspondence with the historical data that are available”. 

John McLeod, An Introduction to Counselling.  2003.  Page 230. (51)

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Kulchie Kid: Growing up in a crazy culture

by Daniel O'Beeve

Published by the CreateSpace Distribution Platform, in cooperation with the Institute for CENT

August 2013

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Description

Kulchie-Kid-book-cover.jpgDaniel O'Beeve describes his journey from being trapped in a dysfunctional family, in an authoritarian culture, in which he had no rights and no sense of personal power; and no possibility of happiness in the present or the future. His descriptions are very vivid, and alternate between tragedy and farcical comedy.  We can all identify with Daniel's struggles, as he tries to survive in a crazy culture, and to search for a way out of his trap.  How can one person break out of a culture created by powerful political and religious forces?  Can he really escape?

Daniel says: The Ireland about which I write is not the ‘real Ireland'.  Nor is it an ‘unreal Ireland'.  It is the personal-Ireland that I experienced as a feeling being, having been thrown into a particularly dysfunctional family, which happened to live in Ireland.  And the nature of ‘the little blue bear', about which I write, is not at all clear to me, even now, four years after writing this part of my autobiography. 

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Contents page:

Chapter 1: In the beginning was the missing word... 1

Chapter 2: Growing up and starting school   19

Chapter 3: Food, father-substitutes and floggings   31

Chapter 4: Storm clouds and unexpected changes   47

Chapter 5: Joining the proletariat...   63

Chapter 6: People come and go - Nothing to do with
Michelangelo!   83

Chapter 7: Strange developments at home and in school   99

Chapter 8: Another new school, and a ‘holiday' in the country   125

Chapter 9: Sadism and paedophilia in the name of Christ...   149

Chapter 10: A very bad confession...and a return to the countryside...   167

Chapter 11: Starting work and playing judo...   193

Chapter 12: More work; more judo; sex and romance...   213

Chapter 13: Girls, judo, work and emigration   233

Footnotes   251

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~~~

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~~~ 

Extract from the book...

Chapter 1: In the beginning was the missing word...

KulchieKid.jpgMy earliest memories of my life are visual.  Accompanying the visual images are gut feelings: dread, sadness, fear, aversion.  But big, frightening images of my mother and father predominate.

When I grew up, and became more ‘sophisticated', I began to believe that words are the most important part of life, apart from actions.  The words that I heard were mostly orders and instructions: Stand up; sit down; come here; ...

Or labels and condemnations: You little cur; you little wretch; you little faggot; god damn you to hell; I'll beat you to within an inch of your life...

Later, I concluded that actions are the most important part of life, apart from emotions.  "Actions speak louder than words.  By their deeds shall you know them..."

Now, as I approach the autumn of my life, I believe emotions are the core of human experience.  "What do you feel?  How can I comfort you?  Your feelings are important to me and should be attended to..."

Emotions are like a far distant continent to many boys, especially boys with an extreme male brain, which I think I had in the beginning of my life.  Over the years I have migrated considerably towards the centre ground, between the extreme male and the extreme female brain.

It can take decades for some males to learn to feel; to realize that they already are feeling all kinds of things - especially a lot of emotional pain - down deep below the level of conscious awareness.  Very often, this is the pain of a huge void between themselves and the people who share their physical space: Their ‘nearest and dearest'.

I have spent years working on my ‘head', which turned out to be work on my heart.  For most of my life, I did not really know I had a heart, in the sense of a heart that did anything apart from pumping unfeeling blood around my numb body.

Recently I had a devastating insight.  If my mother had uttered one word of kindness to me - to say nothing of love - it would have transformed my life.  The lonely, painful journey I have been on would have been halved or quartered.  My entire self-concept would have been utterly transformed by just that one word of kindness.

One word.  One word.

~~~

Buy this book today, in one of two formats: Paperback or PDF ebook.  (The Kindle version will be available soon) Just click one of the following links:

Available by mail from Amazon:

Click to buy!

Buy the paperback version from

 +Amazon.com 

 + Amazon.co.uk 

For just £11.86 GBP

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Click to buy.

For just £6.95 GBP

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Coming soon on Kindle

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Buy the Kindle version:

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 For just £6.57 GBP

~~~

http://www.amazon.com/Kulchie-Kid-Growing-Culture-childhood/dp/1492202967 

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~~~ 

Edna-OBrien-Country-girl.jpgI said this to a cousin of mine, over dinner, on my sixty-fifth birthday.  She came from a similar, rural Irish family to mine, except they were less poverty-stricken than my family.  She then told me about her experience of being ‘educated' by sadistic nuns, as a boarder in a convent school.  She said she had been permanently harmed by those nuns, and that the wound had never healed.  This caused me to look down deep into my own open wound, inflicted upon me by sadistic Catholic teachers, especially an order of teaching brothers.

Edna O'Brien had also been a boarder in a convent school, and she had sadistic teachers who made her life miserable.  Apart from one, ‘her nun', and she had a crush on that nun, which precipitated a crisis within the nun, who had a nervous breakdown.  The nun was taken away from the convent for some time, while she recovered, and when she returned, she would not even look at Edna O'Brien, who felt utterly rejected[1].

I wish I could write my life story like Edna O'Brien has written hers - at least in the first few chapters of her memoir: Country Girl.   It's not that I cannot write.  In fact I have already written the first eighteen years of my autobiography.  It's just that I do not know how to shape it, to structure it, and to bring it to life.  The story is good, and it's interesting, and has something to say to those who might wish to read it.  However, it probably lacks the power to grab people by the heart and drag them through a big chunk of my Irish history.

In the best parts of her memoir, Edna O'Brien writes like the sea wind that accompanies the gentle waves that travel landward with the early morning tide as it rises towards the east coast of Ireland in the summer months. But the power of the wind is concealed in silence, which lulls the hearer into a sense of peace and comfort, until the waves suddenly crash upon some jagged rocks, startling the hearer into a state of heightened awareness of danger.  Then the wind howls loud enough to conceal the screeches of the gulls that fly upwards to escape the roaring noise and the boiling foam.  And the emotional punch that she packs in those moments of crescendo - winding the reader - is the kind of power I would like to have to deliver the howling rage that is buried within me. 

One kind word from my mother might have saved me decades of unfelt pain of isolation and neglect. It might have made me a happy boy instead of gloomy zombie.

I wish I could write like Edna O'Brien, but she had the ‘advantage' of a secondary education, at the hands of sadistic nuns, who taught her Latin and Greek, and English and Irish literature.  I did not attend a secondary school, because my parents could not afford to send me to school beyond the age of fourteen years, when I could go out to work, and earn money for the family.

I completed my basic primary education at the age of eleven years - mostly based on learning pidgin Gaelic and Celtic mythology and Catholic religious dogma - but I had to stay in school for a further three years until it was legal for me to begin work, in a metal jewellery company in Dublin city, in 1960.

Edna O'Brien left her secondary boarding school at the age of eighteen years, and she had been writing for years.  Even at primary school she had been writing, out in the fields near her home.  When I was her age, I was dumbstruck.  Like a whipped slave, I was inert, flaccid, passive and cowed.  If I had been forced to write anything down, I probably would have written, ‘What would you like me to do next?'  Or, ‘Please don't hit me'.

~~~

Anyway, as I said, I have already written the first eighteen years of my autobiography.  I want you to try to read it.  It is an insight into the kind of wounds with which some people have to begin their lives, carrying on a family tradition of emotional pain that may date back several generations.  Perhaps the sadism which powered my parents approach to their children began the day the ancient Irish clans were defeated by foreign invaders, a long, long time ago, back in the Celtic mists.

~~~

In writing my autobiography, I had to use various techniques to get hold of some of the earliest memories.  And some of the emotions were very strange and convoluted and painful.  Therefore, I had to find ways to approach that pain which would allow me to grasp it and communicate it.  One of the strangest aspects of that struggle was the emergence of a strange phenomenon: a little blue bear.  The nature and function of the little blue bear is not at al clear to me, even now, four years after writing this part of my autobiography.  All I ask is that you roll with it; and try to make as much sense of it as you can.

~~~

Buy this book today, in one of two formats: Paperback or PDF ebook.  (The Kindle version will be available soon) Just click one of the following links:

Available by mail from Amazon:

Click to buy!

Buy the paperback version from

 +Amazon.com 

 + Amazon.co.uk 

For just £11.86 GBP

£8.08 GBP

Available right now to download!

Click to buy.

For just £6.95 GBP

£3.75 GBP (plus tax)

Coming soon on Kindle

Click 

Buy the Kindle version:

Buy-from-Kindle.jpg

 For just £6.57 GBP

~~~

http://www.amazon.com/Kulchie-Kid-Growing-Culture-childhood/dp/1492202967 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kulchie-Kid-Growing-Culture-childhood/dp/1492202967

~~~ 

Ireland-1.gifThe Ireland about which I write is not the ‘real Ireland'.  Nor is it the ‘unreal Ireland'.  It is the personal-Ireland that I experienced as a feeling being, having been thrown into a particularly dysfunctional family, which happened to live in Ireland.

~~~

This is how the nightmare began:

I didn't know it would turn out like this, so many years after my second birthday. I didn't know that as a grown man I would sit and write about the dark, pungent, orange piss in the white enamelled piss pot. The piss had built up overnight from Daddy's and Mammy's visits to the pot, which always stood on the bedroom landing. They used this pot to save themselves a journey to the outside toilet, at the end of the back yard. I was now totally preoccupied with scooping this interesting liquid up with a discarded Potters Asthma Remedy tin, and drinking it down hungrily, when, out of the blue, Mammy's big, flat hand struck me across the back of the head, causing me to topple forward and kick the piss pot down the stairs, splashing its contents everywhere. I followed, toppling after it, down the long, dark staircase, and I landed hard on the rounded bottom of the upturned pot, knocking the wind out of me. My hand-knitted romper suit was covered in piss. It would not be a happy birthday.

As I lay across the piss pot, I thought I glimpsed the little blue bear in a dark corner of the living room, by the front porch. He had originally been part of me, but now was totally outside of me, and so distant I could no longer feel him.

He was prostrated on the floor, shrouded in dark shadow. As I focused in on him, I saw the big pink foot descend upon him, and squeeze him into the lino-covered floor. I hated that foot, which had tormented me for so long. 

I knew how painful it was to be stood upon in that way. Then the big pink foot moved upwards again, about the height of the window sill, and stamped hard on the blue bear's body. The effect was, strangely, to wind me even more. But I had no further thoughts or feelings about his plight. I had serious problems of my own.

~~~

My mother, Neeve, who at that time I knew only as Mammy, rushed down the stairs after me, screaming something like: ‘Don't be dead! Don't be dead!' She was in a state of panic because, as I learned years later, she lived in dread of coming to the attention of the ‘authorities' for neglect or abuse, which would have shamed her. She picked me up roughly, examined my limbs and head for signs of injury, decided I was uninjured, then smacked me several times on the legs and the arse, to ‘teach me a lesson'. I was decidedly unclear what the lesson was. Don't get caught drinking piss? Don't drink piss? Or perhaps just Don't be curious?

One of the daily lessons drummed into me and my older sister was this: Curiosity killed the cat!

Mammy's major injunctions were: Wake up! Get up! Shut up! Stand still! Behave yourself! Stop that! Stand up straight! Do as you're told! Eat this! Don't be so bold! (Meaning: don't misbehave). Stand up! Sit down! Don't look at me with the white of your eyes! (Which meant, I think, look downwards to indicate submission). And: Go to sleep!

Her way of enforcing her will, to ensure total obedience to her every command, was the use of her big, flat hand: a slapping machine.

~~~

The little blue bear flinched in the corner by the front porch. He groaned. The big pink foot had him pinned to the ground. There were only two kinds of beings in the gate lodge: the hurters and the hurt.  The only way to avoid the hurters was to become invisible.

~~~

My name is Daniel O'Beeve. I was born in the tiny rural village of Crumble, County Wicklow, in the Irish Free State. ...

...End of extract.

~~~

Buy this book today, in one of two formats: Paperback or PDF ebook.  (The Kindle version will be available soon) Just click one of the following links:

Available by mail from Amazon:

Click to buy!

Buy the paperback version from

 +Amazon.com 

 + Amazon.co.uk 

For just £11.86 GBP

£8.08 GBP

Available right now to download!

Click to buy.

For just £6.95 GBP

£3.75 GBP (plus tax)

Coming soon on Kindle

Click 

Buy the Kindle version:

Buy-from-Kindle.jpg

 For just £6.57 GBP

~~~

http://www.amazon.com/Kulchie-Kid-Growing-Culture-childhood/dp/1492202967 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kulchie-Kid-Growing-Culture-childhood/dp/1492202967

~~~ 


[1] O'Brien, E. (2013) Country Girl.  London: Faber and Faber.

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