In his novel ‘Running Contra Diction’ Beara based author Matt Padwick tackles the big issues of life with a wry sense of humour and paints an intimate and colourful portrait of the manic existence of an adrenalin addict.
The story is inspired by his own experience of leaving university none-the-wiser and spending a decade travelling the world — working as a river-guide, trek leader and ski technician — before arriving at Dzogchen Beara, the Tibetan Buddhist meditation centre on the Beara Peninsula where he surprised everyone (mostly himself) by entering a two-year closed retreat. After the retreat he joined the staff and then managed the centre for ten years until 2013.
“For years I had a problem that was not so easy to talk about, or at least no-one wanted to listen!” confessed Matt. “ I was paid to travel the world — and I do not mean just living in airports and seeing the inside of offices — but actually experiencing the countries, meeting the locals, having adventures. Many people dream of having a job like that, and for most of them it’s a dream they will take to the grave.
“But I was lucky enough to work in Nepal, India, Australia, Austria, USA and the Bahamas while visiting many other countries in between — so I was living my dream, but still I wasn’t happy; in fact as the years went by I was haunted by an increasing feeling of emptiness.
“That was my problem. What options are left open to you if even your dream is not right? Looking around I was still allergic to the idea of suit-and-tie and nine-to-five. And house-owning and children growing didn’t seem to be the magic solution for anyone I knew. So the years ticked by and the answer was no closer…I think I was just a very spoiled and extreme example of what is quite a common phenomenon – maybe you could label it as a ‘dead-end feeling’.
“That said the Running Contra Diction story is very definitely fiction. I really enjoyed the freedom to roll several events or experiences into one, or to blend a few different people into one character to make the reading more interesting. At other times I chose to ‘unpack’ certain individuals or simple scenarios and follow them to conclusions that were surprising even to me. I definitely didn’t want to write something that just titillated the reader. I want them to be engaged and have to reflect on some big questions, and find their own answers, and of course to have some fun along the way!”
Running Contra Diction begins with an adrenalin junkie named Ed coming to Ireland for the simple reason that he has been everywhere else. He is spurred on by the notion that peace of mind must be just around the corner, and travels on until he arrives at a beach as far west as he can go without swimming the Atlantic – which is something he considers…
Is this just another dead end?
Sitting on the sand, lost and aimless, Ed is approached by a stranger who hints at the truth he has been searching for and encourages him to stay on for the Winter. But the stranger keeps the biggest secret of all for the Spring.
Running Contra Diction was launched at a very full Sarah Walker Gallery in Castletownbere on February 5 and is now available at local bookshops and on-line.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/running.contradiction.