“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some Sentimental Musings On Turning 40


Yet another rather fine weekend was had by your humble host, folks. As some of you already know, I turn 40 today. It’s also Lilyput’s first birthday on Thursday, 26th, and it was my mother’s birthday yesterday, Sunday, which was also Mother’s Day. So it was off to Sligo for the Family Vizier, and a splendiferous time was had by all. The book-shaped cake above was provided by said mother, by the way, who has always been my Number One fan. I think she’s just glad I can spell, and I haven’t the heart to tell her about spell-check.
  Anyhoos, and at the risk of tempting fate, I realised while driving to work last week that I’ve pretty much achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to from life. The big stuff, anyway – find a soul-mate, have a baby, get a book published. So what now? I guess it’s a matter of recalibrating the ambitions: have another baby; write better books, so that it becomes possible to earn an actual living from the process; become a worthy husband and father; become a quantum physicist.
  I guess it’s the human condition to always want more. But – and again, at the risk of tempting fate – right now, on the 23rd of March, 2009, I’m a happy man. Not particularly balanced and well-rounded, or smart or successful, but content, with who I am and what I’ve done and the people around me. All of which may not sound very dramatic, but – like most people – there were long periods in my life when even that much seemed like a fantasy too far.
  Life is good, folks. Life is good and interesting and full and surprising. If the next 40 years are half as good as the first, I’ll go out a happy man. Peace, out.
Life highlights to date:

1. Lily May Burke is born on the 26th of March, 2008.
2. Mrs Grand Vizier makes a mockery of her reputation for being an astute observer of the human condition by marrying your humble host, April 2006.
3. EIGHTBALL BOOGIE published, April 2003.
4. THE BIG O published in the U.S., September 2008.
5. Winning the All-Ireland Minor (B) Hurling Final at Croke Park for Sligo, versus Tyrone, in 1987.
6. Graduating from junior to senior at Sligo Library at the age of 11, a full year before I was legally entitled to, and a full year after beginning petition to achieve same, 1980.
7. Wexford beat Limerick to win the All-Ireland Hurling Final, 1996.
8. Liverpool beat AC Milan 3-3 to win the European Cup (aka Champions League) for the fifth time, 2005.
9. Touching down in the Greek islands for the first time, 1991.
10. Making it to 40.

28 comments:

conor said...

im shocked and appalled. what have you against limerick hurling? :)

Claire said...

Happy birthday! Here's to 40 more...

Bob said...

Happy birthday indeed. Love the cake.

Anonymous said...

And a resounding success in the Swedish literary stakes to boot!
Salutations of the day from the Big 'Un in Exile.
Oh, and the posse hope to see you all soon.
Haydo

Anonymous said...

And straight in at nr. 11:
surviving all those hair-raising trips down College hill on the bar of a bike every day for five years!

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

THE BIG 4-0. Sorry, couldn't resist. Happy birthday, man.

Declan Burke said...

Nothing against Limerick hurling, Conor ... it's more my Dad being from Wexford kinda thing.

Oi, Haydo ... Surviving yon trips to hell (aka bar-of-bike rollercoasters) comes under Number 10 ... It's a miracle I made it to 40.

Bagley? You're on your last warning ...

AnswerGirl said...

Happy birthday, Declan!

Clair

crimeficreader said...

Happy birthday, Dec. The cake looks gorgeous.

Stuart Neville said...

Happy birthday, sir. And remember, 40 is the new 30.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Let me join in the chorus of wishing you the happiest of birthdays, Declan.

Cheers,
Jeff

Dana King said...

Speaking as someone who eased past 50 a few years ago, my advice is to just keep chipping away. If the sequel to THE BIG O (THE BIG P?) is anywhere near as good, you'll find a publisher for it. Despair not.

Congratulations on turning 40, and for Aileen, and for Lily. You are a lucky man.

Josephine Damian said...

What a positive B-Day post. Nice to hear someone is happy about their life at any age.

Many happy returns, Dec.

Luv the cake!

Corey Wilde said...

Congrats and a toast to the next 40 being just as good, better even. It's a rare individual who recognizes his personal wealth.

bookwitch said...

Very nice cake. Is there any left?

(Word verification is 'daling'. Forgotten the 'r' I think.)

Keith Rawson said...

Big 40th shout out, Dec! It only gets better from here (or at least I'm told, being only 35 and all.)

marco said...

Happy Birthday! (even if I prefer Toffees eh eh)

Ach, someone already beat me to the Big 4-0 pun!

Donna said...

Lovely post Dec - it brought a wee tear to my sentimental eye. And the cake made my mouth water. Please let your mum know my birthday is in September and I would like a cake in the shape of a shoe.

Happy birthday and here's wishing you many many more highlights.

Donna

Peter Rozovsky said...

If a man's wealth can be measured by the quality of his friends, you-- er, have more than enough for a quaff and a kip. Many more happy occasions to you and yours!
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Colin said...

Liverpool only number 8?

Kasey D. said...

Happy birthday. Also, I must agree with others about how good that cake looks.

Gordon Harries said...

Happy Birthday Dec, thanks for taking the time to corrosponde (particually today.)

seanag said...

Lucky indeed is the man who knows his luck.

And I must say, my dear, that you are still only a mere boopster yourself.

Declan Burke said...

Marco, squire ... you're an Everton man? That would explain a lot. My commiserations ...

Seanag - we can all only boop to our best abilities. To paraphrase Beckett - boop, boop again, boop better.

Colin, had it been a league title instead of that pesky European Cup malarkey they keep winning, it would've been Top 5.

Donna - edible shoes are the devil's work. Trust me, I know ...

Everyone else - many thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate it. Here's to another 40 half as good ...

Cheers, Dec

Brian McGilloway said...

Happy birthday Declan. Hope the celebrations went well!

Rafe McGregor said...

Happy birthday, Dec, all the best!

Uriah Robinson said...

Happy Birthday Dec.

Patricia J. Hale said...

Happy Belated Birthday!