Introducing LITERARY LIBATIONS: The Video Series

Books and booze. What’s not to like?

The Z-Axis

Ever wanted to know what to drink when you settle in with an old favorite book? What’s the perfect pairing for Alexandre Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO? What on Earth is one to drink while reading an out-of-this-world story like Heinlein’s A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND? And how are you to pick the perfect drink to go with a novel by that consummate alcoholic, Ernest Hemingway?

Don’t worry – I’ve got answers. And one day, in the future, they’ll all be compiled into a handy little reference book so you’ll never be without a beverage for your book again. But for now, you can start by watching my new video series, where I’ll introduce you to the world of fine wine, great beer, and craft cocktails one classic novel at a time.

Check out my introductory video to learn what to pair with Joseph Heller’s iconic World War…

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Across the wasteland, where only nettles and ruined concrete stumps grow.  Into the abandoned factory where all the windows are broken, making faces like jagged howls of agony, or the tormented sinners protruding from the roofs of churches.  Water drips into pools so old the floor is a chessboard of little craters.  Graffiti peels and fails, messages of hope die.  Sometimes, former employees come up here with bags of sleeping pills, trying to find the rusted echoes of their old machines or workstations.  One former cleaner slashed his wrists within the floor outlines of the staff restroom he dedicated to bleaching.

I drop down into the cellars.  The wooden floorboards have rotted so I tread carefully on the narrow metal girders that supported them.  This dank underworld feels intensely evil.  On the surface there is always the open fear of being attacked or stumbling across a body.  Down here, something else is at work, a spectral presence that lusts for voices and breath.  Down here, I hold my breath and say nothing.

Into the circular tunnel.  No noise, no water dripping, just a faint light in the distance.  I don’t bring a torch because I don’t want to see what I’m walking past or stepping on.  Focus on the light.  It’s the only currency that can be bartered with.

I tiptoe around puddles foul enough to melt my leather boots.  I look ahead, edging closer to salvation, when something cuts across the light for a moment.  And then it’s gone.


Dance Of The Nights


Sat around the bonfire we look out to sea, the pier lamps reflected in the still harbour like landing lights.  The sea is black like tar, the sky covered like spilled sugar in stars and the great misty sweep of the Milky Way.  One side of me burns whilst the other freezes on this January midnight.

She looks over to me and passes me a can.  It’s a cliche, but I literally see fire in her eyes, so I ask her to hold the pose.  Her face creases and shadows form.  Her lips part, teeth expose, then a twitch, a smirk, a snigger…. she laughs.  Should I stop posing now?  Yes, I lie.

We’d sensed the young man long before we saw him.  Around the crackling fire, everything else melted away.  The only difference between the stars and the lights of the town above was the colour.  We beckoned him over, a can already open, a joint already rolled.  He was wearing a suit, and two sleeve arms were soaking wet to the elbows.

Shivering, he cuddled the flames and shook the can to his mouth.  She asked him if he was okay, and he laughed ruefully and said yes.  Another lie.  Turns out he’d lost his wedding ring, and plunged his hands into the sea to find it.  We never asked why he wore a suit for midnight walks.

Later, we danced in a circle to remove his sins.  Arms linked, he lost his blazer and his mind.




She once told me, very forcefully; entropy and decay are two different things. 

Hand slammed down on the desk, eyes black like a pair of eclipses, cheekbones so sharp they could cut God and draw his blood.  I didn’t understand, and now the threat of violence had thrown the tenuous thought balloons I clung to out of my hands and into the sky.  As I realised they were floating away, she moved in for the kill.  Every frustration she’d had with the relationship, every argument we’d never had, every dream I’d accidentally stepped on.

The footstool flew first.  I’d seen this fire before but only in the early days, when we’d bang our teeth together in eagerness to kiss and consume, when we’d fuck half naked, or with just our jeans tight around our knees, clumsily trying to grind together.  Pictures came down from the walls – maybe she threw them or maybe they got caught up in the moment and flew.  I grabbed her wrists.  She thought about kissing me – I saw it in those eyes.  But she didn’t.  She packed and left.

That was a year ago.  I’ve tidied up now, but I think about her phrase every day.  Entropy and decay.  Decline, chaos, endings.  Stars destroying everything they helped to create and maintain before going supernova, leaving behind the building blocks of new life.

I look up.  Her breath still lingers in the high corners of the room.  And I’m too scared to reach up and touch it.




I sat on the bar stool, notebook covered in scraps of poetry.  One empty pint glass and another one on the way.  I hadn’t eaten all day – this was my food money, but I can’t sleep on a full stomach so I drink cheap lager and try to make sense of the white spaces between the lines and the words I’ve put between some of them.  I stare at my feet hanging over the tiled floor, and imagine myself sitting on the edge of a skyscraper, looking down at blocks of streets.  The barkeep asks me if I want to take part in the quiz.

I’m alone.  Fuck it.  Nine teams, general knowledge, where’s the harm?  He hands me a sheet with a smile and under team name I put Billy No-Mates.  Might get a laugh.  Might get a cheer.

I know nothing pre-1992 and very little post-2002.  Nostalgia does that – you end up more knowledgable about the stuff you missed as a kid, just to put context behind those so-called Golden Years.  West Germany and Miley Cyrus pass me by, but I nail a song that was always on the radio when I worked in a supermarket, and practised wrestling moves on boxes of burger buns.

The quizmaster reads the scores.  In fourth place, Billy No-Mates.  Polite clapping, a lone cheer.  An older woman comes over in sympathy to buy me a drink, as her husband agitatedly jigs his knee and glares at a fruit machine.  They came sixth.



When she says black funk she’s not talking about a musical genre.  It’s her euphemism for depression.  Everything about her becomes quieter.  The voice softens to a whisper, and then pops like a soap bubble.  She moves less; even when walking down the street she appears to be standing still.  Her blood slows, her eyes blink once a day and then once a week.  She goes about her day and her life in this hibernation, a gradual paralysis working from brain to achilles.

Sometimes, as we walk together, she will randomly stop and trace her finger over the craggy lines of brick walls.  Her feet never cross over the gaps between paving slabs.  She talks without saying anything.  She hears without listening.  Holding her on the couch, as we stare at a blank TV screen, she buries herself into the crook of my arm.  And yet, I still check every five minutes that she is still there.  I expect at any moment for her form to disappear like mist in the morning sun, leaving just a stain of memory on my shirt and the flesh of my upper arm, a point where my skin cells whirlpool around each other in a frenzy, pushing to connect with hers.

When she emerges, she smiles and insists we go for ice cream at the retro 50’s diner.  Translucent, I see the red and white checkered wall tiles behind her, in her cheeks.  Gradually, through spoonfuls of frozen sugar, she comes back to me.

// Luminae: My New Collection of Poetry & Prose //

Allison Marie Conway

What I do is I devote my body, mind, and soul to the mystery. I worship at the mouth of the magic. And when the words come to me, I dance with them and collect them, with all my love and truth and affection, into books of poetry.

It is with so much joy and gratitude I now offer you the words which were offered to me. In the dark secret beautiful hours when I slipped away from the noise of this world and took so many sacred journeys inward.

Luminae is a book about the ache of longing, of falling apart. It is about soul searching and finding your wild truth. Available in paperback on Amazon, just click here. Kindle version as well as a few signed custom copies will be ready very soon, I will let you know about each as they become available.

Whether you purchase…

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