Monday, June 28, 2010

'The Chosen One'

He calls himself ‘the Chosen One’, standing in front of the mirror above the fireplace in my sitting room. The hair is in constant play. He flicks the fringe with either a toss of his head – reminding me of a horse clearing hair and flies from his face - or with a sweep of his hand.

He is good-looking, I’ll give him that, and when he smiles his dimples wink at you and his teeth are strong and white, shining. I envy him his confidence and then feel proud, for surely he would not be as confident if I had not instilled that self-belief in him.

‘You can do anything. Be anything you want to be. All you have to do is firmly believe in yourself, acknowledge your own limitations and f*** the begrudgers’.

Have I done the right thing? Sometimes I fear for him, fear the landing he might get when that first disappointment comes – as it will – for luck also plays a part. But then I realize that I have prepared him for that too. Prepared him for reality, which is just as well considering the world we live in.

I also hope I have made him aware of other people, their feelings and how he must live in the world with others. I think I’ve succeeded there. He is immensely popular, a huge circle of friends both male and female. They tease and slag each other with that teenage cruelty that horrifies us as parents. But where did they learn such cruelty? Is it innate in us all? We talked, the Chosen One and I of this and we agreed that there is a meanness in humanity, only the very, very young and those special souls who may appear ‘simple’ to our sophisticated eyes appear not to have this trait.

Is that what makes us human? Or divine? Battling that tiny voice inside that suggests cruelties, both great and small. It was an interesting discussion, one I would not have been able to have at sixteen. Sixteen. Jesus, I can still remember vividly my waters breaking when he decided to arrive a little early. Always in a hurry – he couldn’t wait to be born to start on his path. He has been running away from me ever since. I hope he’ll either slow down or I speed up and we can walk companionably at least some part of the way.

Happy birthday son.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A book with words in it by me!!!!!!!!

Just got word that 'His Name Is Rebecca' will hit the shops August 27th-28th. I almost cried when I got the news. I feel like my 'labour' is nearly over, my baby is on the way and it'll all be over soon. All my anxieties, fears etcetera over and it wasn't half as painful as I thought it would be. Or maybe I've already forgotten the tearing my hair out, throwing the laptop at the window phase - as I forgot labour No. 1 until labour No. 2 started. I reckon we would all be only children only Nature does us a favour and blocks out the memory of the pain until it starts all over again!

Like pregnancy the book started with excitement, enthusiasm and pleasure and like labour it comes to an end with a wearier pleasure that becomes a great joy.

My job is done. Now all I have to do is rear the baby/flog the book!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Chosen People

Few beliefs over the millennia have been as misunderstood as the ’Chosen People’ doctrine. I do not purport to rehash any of those arguments here. I am no religious scholar neither an intellectual nor a philosopher. I approach each piece of reading and writing in the same way – with an open mind and a willingness to learn. My ramblings here are merely musings on my reading, personal thoughts on history as ‘twere and not intended as statements of fact or faith.

When I first heard that ‘Chosen People’ phrase many years ago I thought it a peculiar aggrandizement indeed a racist nomenclature for how can any one people decide that they are ‘Chosen’ above all others?. But as I grew older I realized that the term did not necessarily mean ‘better’ or the ‘best’. For a huge number of Jewish teachings, as in Christianity and Islam and other religions, are committed to the belief that all mankind - of whatever colour, gender, creed –is created in the image of one God and is possessed of an inherent human dignity and worthiness.

The horrors of the Holocaust often come to mind when the term the ‘Chosen People’ is mentioned. Were the Jews chosen, not solely I know, but as the primary victims of genocide so terrible it will reverberate for aeons? And why? It certainly showed Humanity what cruelty is innate in us and what a responsibility, a duty we have to tolerate, accept, love and care for one another. Or is it merely coincidence that those of the Jewish faith were the primary target of Hitler’s ethnic cleansing? It could be both of course, the ‘coincidence’ will forever be used to illustrate both the suffering that Man can withstand and the cruelty that Man is capable of. The battle between good and evil goes on every day, in every one of us, in our every mean and petty thought and every small gesture of compassion and humility. We should welcome the battle within us, for the very fact of it shows us to be closer to Heaven than our human minds perhaps even realise. Above all it proves us capable of being modeled on the Divine as well as re-affirming our obvious human frailties.

Some days my head hurts with too much thinking. I think a big mug of tea, some toast with melted butter and an hour in the sun is called for. Or perhaps some gardening, for there I can be judge and jury, compassionate in staking and watering, ruthless with weeds and spent flower heads. My own little kingdom.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Midsummer mentality.........

I stood in a lift in a shopping centre this morning and a trio of middle-aged, sun-kissed ladies (much like myself) broke that sometimes awkward silence by chatting desultorily about the weather.

‘Isn’t it just lovely’ sez lady 1.
‘Yeah Mary, gorgeous…but what have we to complain about now?’ sez lady 2.
‘Not a ting, not a ting,’ sighed lady 3 with satisfaction.

I grinned. The list was as long as not only her arm but the combined length of the arms of everybody in the country. We live on a godforsaken bog which has been governed for generations by a greedy, corrupt Church propped up by successive subservient Governments, both aided by the cash from the all too powerful big business. So. Where to start?

I think the ladies had it right. When the sun shines in Ireland we should take a day- nay, a week even - off - dismiss to the back of our minds the woes and tribulations of being Irish. We should take to the streets, the beaches and fields of the country, smile at each other, be gentle and kind to one another; sing, dance and above all laugh. Enjoy ourselves. It is but temporary and therefore all the more welcome.

Perhaps when the Azores high moves on we may be refreshed enough to take up metaphorical cudgels again and bat our way into a brave new world. A Golden Age is coming, a real Renaissance.

We can but hope and pray.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One In Four - Omos

I have just spent a most incredible evening in St Stephen's Church off Merrion Square ( better known as the Pepper Canister).

The occasion was a cultural evening - an evening of readings and music to honour those in this benighted isle of ours who have experienced sexual violence. To try to empathise with these victims and to show them that we take a collective cultural responsibility towards them and endeavour to help ease their healing through the disciplines of words and music.

The line up was superb. Theo Dorgan m.c'd, RTE radio were recording it for future broadcast, Christy Moore, Don Baker, Eleanor McEvoy, Shaz Oye and Karan Casey provided the musical end of the night. Dearbhaile Crottry performed an extract from Bailegangaire by Tom Murphy and Joe O'Connor, Roddy Doyle, Nuala Ni Domhnaill andLia Mills all read from their work and Margaret Kelleher read two poems by Seamus Heaney which the great man had selected for the evening.

Each performer outdid the one before, each made the other's performance shine, enhanced it almost until at the end of the night we the audience were left in no doubt but that we had been part of a very, very special evening.

I know it's a cliche - but sometimes cliches are the only words that will aptly describe something. When Karan Casey wound up what had on occasions been a very, very intense and disturbing night with Nina Simone's anthem of hope 'New Dawn, New Day' the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and my skin prickled. For you know, I do think there is hope for our little republic yet. We are in the process of tearing down all our old sacred cows, Church, State, Banks and big business. What we will be left with remains to be seen.

But once we are peopled by those like the courageous survivors of horrific acts, people brave enough to stand up and come forward, who may perhaps feel they are reliving (often over and over and over) the whole sordid sorry horror again. Once we are peopled also by artistes like those in the Pepper Canister tonight - people willing to observe, analyse and show us our sins and our ability to heal from those sins. With people like these among us then yes, yes, Ireland of the future may well be a very, very fine place to live.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Doing a Barack on it.....

What to blog aimlessly about today, or it it aimless blogging or aimlessly blogging?
'Tis all pure sh**e anyway. My imagination has deserted me for the last few weeks and Ii couldn't engage with a fictional character or an idea if it put a ring on my finger and married me. What to do?

Continue blogging aimlessly I suppose. Another possible ghost-writing project coming my way soon, so that might kickstart something for me.

Son #1 has started to write lyrics but isn't ready to show them to the world, well myspace at least, he is doing his first official 'gig' - two numbers as opening act at some charity gig in a small country pub a few miles from where we live. All thoughts of exams have flown from his music oriented brain and I'm quite sure I will be asked,
'Will you tell me what you think Mam' a thousand times between now and the gig. I'm bloody tone-deaf and if I say 'it's wonderful' he'll think - 'sure, she hasn't a clue'. If I say 'I'm not mad about it' he'll think - 'she still hasn't a clue and she doesn't even love me enough to lie'.

Jemser says I should not project my own anxieties onto my children. Actually they weren't the words he use. He said 'Not everyone is as irrationally unsure of themselves as you.' He's right. Maybe that's why I can't write at the moment (except for aimless etc...)

I have to do a Barack on it. Then I'll conquer the world - but I still won't think it had anything to do with any talent I had (or hadn't)

Promise next blog will be positive, forward looking ,dynamic.......