Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Forgot to blog the poetry gig I did for the launch of dear friend Frank Golden's book In Daily Accord, at the Burren College of Art in County Clare. We had a full house in the theatre/ lecture room and it was a terrific night. Images of Frank's paintings and sketches were projected onto a giant screen behind us as, dressed in black, Frank, I, and poet John Doorty read about a hundred three-line poems, weaving our voices in and out of each other and finally finishing together in a chorus. Throughout the performance, underpinning it like a stream, was a musical piece composed by Andrew Collins. Have to say I loved being on stage and realized that I must - yes, must - get going on my stand-up comedienne career. I'm still writing pieces but need to get my show on the road. Summertime, I'm thinking, when Finn has finished her exams. So here are two pics of that time: a castle tower at the Burren College of Art and me on the beach called Bishop's Quarter. I love the West. Can't wait to move back there.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I'm always surprised at the degree to which people don't notice that I describe Finvarra, High King of Faerie, as 'dark as the night.' Fairies are all different colours - even more so than human beings - black, white, brown, green, yellow, purple, red etc. I had a few images for my king including a Balinese dancer I saw in a film which inspired the dance scene at the bonfire; but here is my chief image: one of the most beautiful Irishmen ever born, Phil Lynnott. And there beside him in a sparkly vest could be Midir. (But that's NOT Findabhair dancing completely out of step with the music, Jaze.) Now I'm also posting this video because Whiskey in the Jar is THE song everyone sings in the pub on St Patrick's Day when they are all lashed!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Here's a short film about the Iban and Dayak people's struggle to protect their lands against logging companies in Borneo. Some scenes in my realistic teen novel, My Blue Country, are set in the same area as these longhouses, around Sebu and Bintulu. Indeed, a lot of this looks familiar to me and I think I drank tuak and ate sticky rice in bamboo with these very people! (My book is based on my year-long participation in Canada World Youth/Jeunesse Canada Monde 1972-73.) And I remember dancing to the gongs the way the Tuai Rumah (Headman) dances at the end of the film. I wish these people well. Surely there is no question here as to who is right and who is wrong; but will right prevail? This is also research for my new book as one of my characters, Penny Li Jauh, a Baba-Nonya woman from Malacca, is married to an Iban man. (I've got the whole world in this book.)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
It wasn't an easy hike for me as I had been up dancing and partying till all hours the night before (you can't hoot with the owls by night and fly with the eagles by day, as we used to say in the Navy). I led from the rear all the way. Here's me apparently alone on the boggy summit of Camaderry. Better still, look at that gorgeous stag up on the ridge. He stood there for ages so we could admire him.
As can only happen in Ireland, we got all four seasons on this hike. It began with early spring at the beginning, green and muddy, then we got a bit of winter as it started to snow in the lee of the mountain (like being in a snow globe, that's me in the little pic). There was a hint of summer at one point as the sun made us all strip off our jumpers, then a taste of autumn in the shade of the forest at the end of the trail, crunching on old brown oak leaves. Ye can't beat Ireland for the weather, I tell ye.
And at last the way got easy as we headed downwards. In the distance, we could see the round tower of the monastic settlement of St Kevin's Glendalough. Crossing our path, not boggles, but two pretty Japanese students who were visiting the site. As Dana reflects in the book, after she returns from visiting the hermit-saint in the past, "Fifteen hundred years later, people still came to Kevin!" (Photos by Ger Blake and Mike McGovern)