Sunday, 19 May 2013

“We read to know we are not alone.” ― C.S. Lewis

“Creativity is closely associated with bipolar disorder. This condition is unique . Many famous historical figures and artists have had this. Yet they have led a full life and contributed so much to the society and world at large. See, you have a gift. People with bipolar disorder are very very sensitive. Much more than ordinary people. They are able to experience emotions in a very deep and intense way. It gives them a very different perspective of the world. It is not that they lose touch with reality. But the feelings of extreme intensity are manifested in creative things. They pour their emotions into either writing or whatever field they have chosen"  ― Preeti Shenoy
This Extract was taken from Life is what you make it

I guess you are wondering what I am planning to get at - well I am going to explain.. I think you may like this. Let us go back to last Christmas. I was deciding on what present I was going to get Mellor's niece 'M' who I see as my own niece. I planned to do something quite special for her Christmas present. The girl in question is in her Junior Cert year in school and I have deep admiration for her, she is a very special young lady. I have seen her grow over the last 11 years and I can see a lot of my own experiences in life in what she faces on a day to day basis. I said to myself I would set out on a task that would be carried out over most of the year. This task was going to be set around reading. I have a great passion for reading and public libraries. I thought to myself I would introduce the 'M' to reading and with some luck that would help her find a love for books and the library.

The plan started that 'M' would get a book for Christmas called 'Noughts and Crosses' by  Malorie Blackman -  the reason I picked this, was it had a hidden message on racism. She got the present on Christmas day along with an envelope which stated if she wanted to enter the "Ciarán Behan Christmas present extravaganza 2012/2013" she would have to agree to certain terms and conditions. If she didn't want to take part, she could just read the book and we would not start the task. Needless to say she said she would enter the "Ciarán Behan Christmas present extravaganza 2012/2013" The guidelines had been set out that she would have to read the book in a six week deadline and present herself to my house on the Saturday. The reason behind this was that she could spend time with myself & Mellors and make a day of it.

On the night I get the room set up like a mock style interview to build to the whole scene of 10 questions for the book. I have a YES marked envelope and a NO marked envelope on the mantle piece also a ? marked envelope up there. The Yes is given if she passes the No is given if she fails. ( the aim is never to fail ) The ? contains the 10 questions on which I will ask all about the book. So for the first book, she was able to answer all of the questions and the Yes envelope was handed to her, while the No envelope and questions were put in the fire never to be seen again. That's the killing part to wonder what is in that no envelope! Within the Yes envelope is a handwritten letter congratulating her on the brilliant effort that was made and an explanation that part 2 of the "Ciaran Behan Christmas present extravaganza 2012/2013" is going to be a (you guessed it) a book. I plan to continue this all the way to October leading to the penultimate ending of her reading 'Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West' by Gregory Maguire.

My aim is to give the young lady in question the 1) Joy of reading and 2) show her that working for something can really pay off if you stick with it. I will never tell her the aims of this project  I hope these life lessons will stick with her and maybe not today or tomorrow but some day the penny will drop and she will see what this nearly year long project was all about. For myself, this is a great thing to do and I am very proud of this project as I have learned a lot about myself and how I can be very good at things if I put my mind to it. So far to date the feedback from the young lady has been amazing, she loved the books she has read. So I shall list for you the books we have done so far and what is in the pipeline.

1) Noughts & Crosses By Malorie Blackman

2) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time By Mark Haddon

3) The Catcher in the Rye By J.D. Salinger

4) The Fault in Our Stars By John Green

5) Wild Swans By Jung Chang

6) Pay it Forward By Catherine Ryan Hyde

7) Trinity By Leon Uris

8) Lord of the Flies By William Golding

9) Animal Farm By George Orwell

10) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West By Gregory-Maguire

All these books I feel will have key messages and will serve a purpose. My plan for the last book number 10 is to get everyone in the family together and make it a big night as when she opens that YES envelope it will explain that I will be bringing her to see Wicked in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre and we will have a weekend out in Dublin and have some fun. This is just a simple idea that has so many benefits for any young person. Feel free to take this idea and make it your own as I really believe we should never forget about the simple things in life.

Remember folks, we also have some of the best public libraries in Europe and they are free to use. Stop in say hello and join up. Don't think just because you have a E-reader they are of no use to you now, the library also loans e-books.

Thanks for reading,

Ciaran Behan


  1. Ciaran - absolutely brilliant - she's a lucky young woman to have you in her life and inspiring her.
    Good job you x

  2. Thank you very much That's a lovely thing to say and I am grateful for you to reading it also.