Daniel’s autobiographical story…

NTS eBook No.3 – Daniel’s Devilish Daydreams

Copyright © Jim Byrne 2016

daniels-daydreams-cover-image2In my twenties, I tried to write a novel, fictionalising my life to that time; but it was too difficult.  I tried again in my forties, and made some progress.  But it was not satisfactory.  Eventually, in my early-sixties, I managed to write a fictionalised autobiography of the life journey that took me from autistic schoolboy to potent psychotherapist, and here it is in the form of Daniel O’Beeve’s life story (or rather, the first half of Daniel’s life!)

A good novel should change the lives of its readers, by helping to break the hold of some earlier story over their hearts and minds. And by inspiring them to see themselves and their world in a whole new light. This novel, about the life of Daniel O’Beeve, is a good example of how to dispel your own devils by writing your own life story in the form of a fictionalised autobiographical novel.  It’s about getting to know yourself; and untangling the knots in your personal history; coming to terms with all the previously ignored ‘bad bits’, traumas and struggles.  But it can also be enjoyed as a story to be moved by.

This novel was inspired by some elements of my own story, combined with some elements of the life of a fellow psychologist/ psychotherapist; plus some obvious fictional drama, and the universal quest for meaning, connection, personal success, relationship, sex and love. (There will be a sequel to this novel later!)

If you want to immerse yourself in a story of personal struggle and the attempted transformation of an emotionally damaged boy into a self-directed and happy man, on a difficult and uncertain journey through an indifferent world, then you should buy this novel today, from one of the following Amazon links:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon.it Amazon.nl
Amazon.ca Amazon.com.au Amazon.co.jp Amazon.de
Amazon.es Amazon.fr Amazon.in  


Narrative therapy Series, Volume Three 

Daniel’s Devilish Daydreams

A novel by Jim Byrne


Published by the Institute for E-CENT Publications, 2016


Originally published in 2015, as ‘Obedience and Revolt: Learning to conform’.

Copyright © the Institute for CENT and Dr Jim Byrne

27 Wood End, Keighley Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK. Telephone: 01422 843 629


All rights reserved

No part of this book may be copied, stored or transmitted in any form, physical or electronic, without the explicit written permission of the author. The right of Dr Jim Byrne to be identified as the owner of this text has been asserted in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988


The characters in this novel bear no relation to any real persons, living or dead.  Any apparent similarities are purely coincidental.


“‘There’s nothing so fearsome as the revolt of a sheep’, said de Marsay”.

Honoré de Balzac, The Human Comedy: Selected Stories


“Unworthiness is the inmost frightening thought that you do not belong, no matter how much you want to belong, that you are an outsider and will always be an outsider. It is the idea that you are flawed and cannot be fixed. It is wanting to be loved and feeling unlovable, or wanting to love and feeling that you are not capable of loving”.

Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul



Chapter 1

  1. The journey begins…

I got my first names – Daniel Buddoch – from my aunt Tara, who adopted me (briefly) when my mother rejected me, at birth.  Aunt Tara, who was not the brightest button in the drawer, thought that it was ‘Daniel’ (rather than ‘David’) who had defeated Goliath, and that I would grow up into a big strong giant (like the mythical Buddoch) and take on evil in all its forms, throughout the world, wherever I found it.  (She was so wrong on both counts!)

Of course, I got my surname – O’Beeve – from my father, Owen O’Beeve, who was a poorly educated Irish farmer.


My parents were devout Catholics who set out to beat the Devil out of me, and to beat the fear of God into me.


In the modern Anglo-Saxon world, the Devil has ceased to be a subject of conversation.  Small residual elements of the old world remain.  ‘The devil is in the detail’, means you have to watch the small-print.  ‘The devil takes the hindmost’, means you have to be quick on your toes, or you will lose out to others.

But in the old Irish Catholic feudal world in which I grew up, the Devil stalked the land, looking for victims to whisk down to Hell, in exchange for some quick and nasty sinful indulgence.

I, of course, have become largely secular in my view of the world, and so for me the Devil has shrunk to almost invisible proportions.  But there was a time when he was as big as God, and twice and nasty!


Lying in bed with a bad headache, I find my thoughts wandering into the backyard of the old gate lodge where I lived from the age of eighteen months until I was ten years old, when I was evicted onto the road, along with my mother, father and four siblings, by the Little Sisters of Mercy!  (One of the Devil’s cleverest tricks was persuading a group of nuns that they needed our house to store their milk bottles, and that we hardly needed it at all!  However, that is clearly trumped by his persuading many priests and ‘brothers’ that little boys desperately want to have sex with them!)

Anyway, on this occasion, I noticed something new.

There’s a little white teddy bear in the yard, by the bushes.  This is new, because there is normally a little blue bear in my reveries.  And today, there is also a bigger brown bear.  An ugly and nasty brown bear. The brown bear is pushing and shoving the little white bear; dominating and oppressing him.  The little white bear looks sad, and the brown bear looks puffed up.  (The devil is in the brown bear!) 

The little white bear looks defeated, dejected, despairing.  And I can feel his emotional pain.

The white bear is slumped on the ground, in obvious emotional misery.  The brown bear struts cockily across the yard and into the back kitchen of the gate lodge.  After a few moments, the little white bear looks up and scans the yard with his sad little eyes.  Over by the barbed wire fence, he notices a smiling face, peering at him, through the tall grass by the fence.  He is startled to see the yellow haired rag doll.  She smiles and beckons to him.  He looks around, in fear of being caught and punished by the brown bear.  But she is nowhere to be seen.

The little while bear gets up off the ground and waddles towards the fence.  The little rag doll holds out a hand to him, inviting him into the field.  He is never allowed to go into the field.  But it is such a warm, sunny day, and the rag doll is so friendly, that he cannot resist, and quickly slips between the strands of barbed wire and rolls down the bank into the field.  The rag doll follows him down, and takes his hand.  He looks at her sadly.

The rag doll smiles and asks him what he’d like to do.  He looks around, confused.  Why would anybody ask him what he wants?  Or what he feels?  This is foreign to him.

But the rag doll insists, and so he tells her he would like to walk down to the bank of the Liffey, at the end of the field, and watch the water flowing by. (He can only hear it from the yard!) At that, the rag doll places an arm around his shoulders and they set off together towards the river.

Two minutes later, they were standing on the bank of the river, watching the water surge over the little weir, creating foaming waves of interesting shapes.  The little white bear was enchanted by the scene, and the close, friendship of the rag doll. He particularly liked the sight of occasional leaves floating past on the surface of the river.  This causes him to say to the rag doll, “One day I’ll float down this river to the sea, and across the ocean to freedom!”

The rag doll smiled and hugged him to her side.

But then the little white bear looks back towards the fence between the field and the yard.  He knows he has to go back to the yard: back to his prison.  The rag doll understands and sadly walks him back again.  They say goodbye at the fence, and the little white bear climbs back into the miserable, imprisoning yard, but this time knowing that one day he will escape.  Meanwhile, the devil, in for form of the brown bear, is his prison guard.


I wish I could avoid headaches like this – and reveries like this.  They are so painful.


Strictly speaking, I should begin this book with these words: My name is Daniel O’Beeve, and this book represents the story of half of my life.  Or, this book represents the first half of the first half of my life.

That would accord this text a certain kind of credibility as a straight-forward autobiography.

But this is not a straightforward autobiography.  It is, instead, an autobiographical novel; and so it requires a different kind of beginning.  Like this:

The mystery really began with the arrival of the email – if you can call it an email.  I’d been working hard all day, and right into the evening.  I was trying to write up a dream sequence – or was it a daydream sequence? – involving some strange men in a strange landscape.

At last, in total exhaustion, I switched off the computer and began to ‘palm’ my eyes.  I kept my eyes open, and cupped my hands over them – fingers close together – so I could stare into total darkness.  That was a blessed relief.  My eyes were tired and sore.

Suddenly there was a bright flash, which shone through my hands: revealing my black bones, surrounded by pink muscle and flesh.  I was so startled that my hands fell away my eyes.  And there, on the computer screen, was a strange email.  The text was like flickering, blue gas flames; and the background was a kind of mucky cream smog.  Despite the poor contrast between them, I could easily read the message, which said:

From the scratchpad of Professor Nuveen Valises, Head of Research Team, Planet 3EX771.  valises@IFspaceship29.fed

Dateline: 3619 APV

Daniel: You have completed your mission admirably; and so, I thought, had I.  However, I now realize that if you do not write the story of how you did it, my mission will also have failed.  So I must strongly request that you get down to writing up where you have been, and what you have experienced, so we can both rest easy knowing we have completed our historic missions.

What follows is a single sentence summary of the abstract of my report to the Intergalactic Federation:

+We-an hipotiste Daniel’s mirt skurpt anstrazhan toll Daniel valay rasoltav ohum rurlattah ugg gir andluttay im oan positatay oneroot cun higga uppanparon oan dazt vurlt dit zoon moedhuur haast lowershowal-zan wur mit gut wan sexoullarm ditch ihram Faltaar.+

Oh, sorry.  I should have realized… I will have to translate that for you.  When you get down to writing your story, I will send you a full transcript of my report, translated into English. That may help you to fill in some of the blanks.

Good luck!

Nuveen Valises


The problem with this message, of course, was that the computer was switched off!


If you want to immerse yourself in a story of personal struggle and the attempted transformation of an emotionally damaged boy into a self-directed and happy man, on a difficult and uncertain journey through an indifferent world, then you should buy this novel today, from one of the following Amazon links:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon.it Amazon.nl
Amazon.ca Amazon.com.au Amazon.co.jp Amazon.de
Amazon.es Amazon.fr Amazon.in


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