'It's always a bad idea to go online and book a flight when you've had too much wine. You never know where you might end up.'
This was how Michael Harding found himself in a strange flat in Bucharest in January 2015, which set the tone for the rest of the year.
After a stint in the Gaiety Theatre production of The Field, Harding returned to the tranquil hills above Lough Allen and began to imagine what his little cottage might look like if he got a few builders to tear a hole in the wall to add on another room. Surely an extension would give him a renewed sense of purpose in life, as he approached old age.
But as the walls of his home crumbled, so too did his mental health, and he fell, once again, into depression -- that great darkness where life feels like nothing more than a waste of time.
And yet, it is in that great darkness that we discover what really makes us human.
Michael Harding is an author and playwright. His creative chronicle of ordinary life in the Irish midlands is published as a weekly column in The Irish Times. He has written numerous plays for the Abbey Theatre, including Una Pooka,Misogynist and Sour Grapes, and has published three novels, Priest, The Trouble with Sarah Gullion and Bird in the Snow as well as three bestselling memoirs, Staring at Lakes, which won three BGE Irish Book awards, Hanging with the Elephant and Talking to Strangers.