Happy 81st Birthday to Eileen Norris (Da Mammy) on Thursday (28th March). A harder working woman you will never find. A really proud and independent woman who has huge pride in her children and her grandchildren and all her family and dozens and dozens of cousins. I have dedicated my latest poem to her. All the writing I’ve done, I have never written about her before. So hopefully she won’t kill me and people will enjoy this short tribute called Eileen.
Some digression to a more debatable issue in this month’s blog. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. It affects businesses, but it also affects voluntary organisations. Many businesses have the resources in terms of people and finances to cater for GDPR, but there is no way voluntary organisations have the resources.
The most worrying aspect is the “right to be forgotten” or the” right to erasure” which is included in GDPR. It provides that the data subject has the right to request erasure of personal data related to them on any one of a number of grounds, including noncompliance. From a voluntary organisation point of view, this means deleting all references to a person both hard and digitalised once they have finished with the organisation. This is effectively erasing history. This is a hornet’s nest!
For example when a player retires who has the unfortunate record of having played in and lost a dozen county finals, all of which he wants to forget. Should he/she really have the right to have that information erased from the record books? Or if a player holds the record for the most championship red cards, he/she can make the dubious record disappear after retirement. In a hundred years’ time and if GDPR is implemented in full there will no such thing as history as governments, businesses, voluntary organisations, historical groups will all find they will have to clear their information and data due to the fear of non-compliance with GDPR and potential fines of up to a €20 million or up to 4% of the annual turnover. For a GAA club or county board or any sports or voluntary group, that 4% is huge.
If GDPR existed in 1916, would we now know who the signatories of the Irish Republic Proclamation were? Would any names exist on the World War 1 memorials in Kilkenny or Callan? If the ancient Egyptians had GDPR, would we be able learn as much from the Egyptian hieroglyphs? If the hardcopy minutes of the initial meeting which founded the GAA in Hayes Hotel, Thurles in 1884 had to be destroyed or erased, would we now know who founded the GAA? Would we know what players played in that first All-Ireland in 1887? These are just a few examples of information that could and would have been erased if GDPR existed to satisfy the “right to erasure”. What history will remain in another 100 years with GDPR? Tracing family trees or biological parents will have to become non-existent. History will become obsolete if GDPR is a success.
GDPR was probably aimed at big social media and technology companies. Data protection was all that most people really wanted specifically bank accounts and medical information; let’s face it as long as nobody can get at our money! The “right to protection” part of GDPR should have been enough. Your email address and telephone number in a transient modern world is the modern equivalent of your home address. In the past people knew your home address in order to contact you, post a letter and send a bill. Now it is by phone or email or electronically. This information does not need to be a secret. Your email address and mobile contact number should be known. It is your contact identification.
Although, GDPR has yet to be challenged in the courts, many businesses and organisations wait with baited breath for the first high profile case. In my opinion, the “right to remember” and the “right to have memories”, should far outstrip the “right to be forgotten” or the” right to erasure”. If it doesn’t then mankind is on a slippery slope to erasing people’s memories. Is this really a road to go down? No memories, no history, no records, no accuracy, no past! It is from the past we learn, so let’s not forget how much we learned from our predecessors on this earth who recorded information, data and pictures. Let’s remember then it is our responsibility to continue recording information for those in the future. Let’s not erase or forget our human right to be remembered and our human right to have memories. Nobody has the right to be forgotten even if they want to be forgotten. Nobody should be forgotten. Forgotten is a lonely place when you are alive. Let the memories and the right to be remembered triumph!
To celebrate my youngest daughter, Lisa’s 18th Birthday (no more children in the Norris household! End of another chapter in life’s journey), I have published online two new poems, “Lovely Lisa” and “My Hurley”. I plan in the coming weeks to publish my next short story which is another based on a personal real life sports event. Stay tuned.
As part of efforts to publicise my website and in particular my writings, I have now added links to further social media options, I have a YouTube Channel, my Instagram account and my LinkedIn. It is a slow laborious process getting my works front and centre of the minds of publishers, drama groups and filmmakers. Please share my website with your friends. Help spread the word. Your share could be the one. Follow me on social media. The more branches the tree has, the greener it will look.
Please use my Contact Form to let me know what you think of the website, give me your advice, what works you like and what works you don’t. I begrudgingly love fair criticism.
On the sports front, preparations are well underway for the 2018 Under-14 Tony Forristal Tournament, my 10th consecutive year involved in the tournament (12th year with the Development Squads) with one Tony Forristal and one Sonny Walsh title so far. I have been fortunate to have been involved with so many top class Kilkenny hurlers over the years and with the 2018 National League title, the medals at adult level are mounting up. Also, year three of the Gaelic Football development programme working alongside hurling legend DJ Carey is going very well with the squad of over fifty boys improving all the time. Many thought the numbers wouldn’t last. So far they are wrong, but I like proving people wrong, even if it involves a lot of graft. I savour challenges against the odds. The under-16’s recently ran Galway to three points in Nowlan Park as a curtain raiser to the All-Ireland Junior Football Semi-Final and played some very good football. Being more than competitive in the 2019 Leinster Minor Championship is still the target. On the club side, it is great to see Piltown Ladies Gaelic Football going well with so many ladies now involved in the coaching side and a return of the Gaelic4Mothers and Others program. Very proud of what these ladies are doing with the club which was founded by my wife Sheila in 2010.
Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.
(Bill Bradley – American Politician)
My imagination has always been one of my most powerful talents. I love the process in my head of imagining and visualising events. Some are realistic, some are practical and some are as farfetched as you will get. Mostly, I become the personality of the hero, which can sit very awkward, because real heroes are modest and humble. These are traits which I believe are important, but if you want to promote talents such as mine, writing and coaching, you have to have that element of belief and confidence in what you are doing and these characteristics are contradictory to modest and humble. The stories develop in my head and the next step is to develop it into the written word. To be honest, I don’t think my written word ever does the story in my head justice, but that is the zenith to aim for, as a writer. For a long time those stories were stored for me alone. As the power of memory will dwindle with old age, I’m sure they will be a helpful aid for recollection.
In Kilkenny GAA, terms, the stars who make it to the top of the sport of hurling always speak about leaving the jersey in a better place than when they got it. Life should be the same. When we depart, we need to leave the small area of earth we inhabited in a better place. There has to be some sort of a legacy, no matter how small. I’d like part of mine to be my stories. I’d like my stories to turn into publications, solid old fashioned bound books, with pictures, titles and synopsis on the cover. I’d really like them to turn into visual media such as films so that they are nearer to the story I feel in my head. In my head, my stories are like life, lots of turmoil, but also lots of hope and good will. Overall the process of the story in my head is always uplifting even when things are not good, because I am the God of my world and I can make it better or worse for individuals in my inner universe. That glowing feeling of the story, I would like to think can be a positive consequence for those who get the opportunity to read, see or feel the stories. I believe that publication in book or film of my stories can contribute to the small legacy that I hope and plan to leave behind in my quest to contribute to leaving a better world after me. That is the point!
Somewhere in the world there is a publisher, a screen writer or a producer who wants to leave their own small legacy to this world. Somewhere and sometime that individual or individuals will cross my path and find my work and together we will collaborate on delivering my stories to the greater audience. To find my knight in shining armour, I need the small number of people who currently browse and like the content of this website to help me get my profile out there. He or she will never find me hidden in the bottom file of the Internet. I ask YOU to do what you can to promote this website, but only if you like the content. For me this is certainly not about money, this is about leaving something of more value than money as part of my small legacy to the world, stories.
I welcome your advice on how best for example I could use Social Media to promote my works without coming across as too narcissistic. Please feel free to submit your advice on the blog comment or on my writers Facebook page. I would love to hear from the members of my now small community. What should I be doing? Who should I be contacting? What do you think of particular stories? What do you like? What don’t you like? What makes you cringe? What would make my stories, plays or novels better? What topics would you like on this blog? Do you know a publisher, screenwriter or producer that you could share my website with? Please do. I will forever appreciate it.
“Dreams and Ambitions Have No Limit”
Welcome to the first post on my Website. After a number of years of trying to come up with a website that I could use to primarily promote my writings and my sports coaching skills as well a my professional talents, I am finally in a position to start promoting my website www.snorris.ie If there is something of interest to you on the website, I hope you will spread the url. I still have a lot of plans to develop the website further, including links to social media and shopping/payment capability. This will take time, so hopefully every so often you will see improvements and new features. I would love to hear from you if you think, there are things that can be improved, but I would really love to hear from you even more if you are interested in my writings or coaching skills. There is lots of bedtime reading, some listening and even viewing. Please enjoy and thank you for your interest.
Seamus Norris – 6th December 2017