Monthly Archives: March 2015

“You too have a song inside. Listen to it”.

This is the prompt that has been given to me as a ‘to do exercise’ after I recently joined a local creative writing group.  It is supposed to inspire me to write something. I have sat and thought about it for three days now and have come up with nothing. 

I started writing this blog as a kind of living diary. My purpose was to share memories and feelings that my kids could read in their future, something that might capture what life was like for me, their mammy as a child. They only know me as ‘mother’. They have no idea what I was like as a girl, unencumbered by husband, children. They only know what I tell them.

I admit that the blog has been censored. I generally write about events that focus on the positive, lovely times that I remember, but there are also times/events that I have left out. Darker and less gilded. Should these stories be also told? To the people in my life I am a woman of many labels. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, niece, colleague, acquaintance and friend. I live a life, ordinary and quiet. I am a socialist at heart and have played my own personal part in fighting against perceived injustices throughout my lifetime.

I am quite a shy person, although most new people I meet don’t realise this about me. I do not function well in large groups, but prefer intimate conversations where similar interests can be explored leading to wondrous and breath-taking discussions. I am unafraid to discuss the feelings that can lead to the depths of despair, and into the darkness that can surround us as humans at various times throughout the course of our lives.

I have experienced loss of the greatest magnitude, and understand the search for meaning and relevance in a secular world where the religious maps that my ancestors benignly bestowed upon me have left me sometimes emotionally unequipped and without a paddle. Moral compasses shift and tilt, and the bedrock of my Irish religious heritage has become like quicksand. I have nothing to hold onto. I don’t believe in it anymore, and I acknowledge that there is a huge freedom in that.

However, when you let go belief, tradition, history and habit, you have to be strong in your resolve. While I know what I want to consign to the past, I am unsure of what I want to nail my flag to in my future.

This creates a relentless search for knowledge, to read more, to learn more, to know more.

I have joined this new creative writing group to challenge myself, and to see if I can be ‘prompted’ to create words that are not about my past. I am not sure if this will happen, and I am also not sure if I will ever be able to write anything that is not prefaced by a glass of wine.

During my days there are a myriad of thoughts and words that race through my head, but I never jot them down. Pour me a glass of wine at 9pm, and lead me to a laptop. I cannot be silenced.

I do believe that I have a song inside me, but it is never going to be a popular chart topper. It is always going to be my own voice, questioning, asking, and wondering.

If I write the words will you create the lyrics and hum along with me?

(This is not my submission to the group).

Capturing life… 

Sometimes there are pockets of loveliness in our days that remind us that life can be very special. There are also times that we can focus too much on the negative instead of reinforcing the positive. (I think there are song lyrics from the 50’s that echo this). It’s up to all of us to remember and to recount to others when things are good and to lay down these memories in our personal life archive.

I don’t know if it’s human nature to remember the bad stuff and to have difficulty remembering the good stuff, but this is the way that it can be for me. Tell me a sad story and I have one of equal sorrow and angst. But tell me something great, and I struggle to match it. Maybe it’s the inherent Irishness in me that finds it easier to recount a sad story, because as a people we don’t like to be boastful and full of ourselves. I have no clue, but know that alongside many others, I have dark personal tales that could curl your hair.

I also have wild and beautiful tales that could render you speechless. I tend to write less about these and have somehow consigned them to a past that I don’t boast about. Not that I was ever a winner of the Rose of Tralee or anything fabulous like that, but just other good stories have been censored and chopped from my life narrative. Archived with no code. Filed away with no yellow post-it.

My thoughts tonight are a promise to myself to try to enjoy and to capture the moments that are good for me and to simply jot them down, ensuring that they will not be consigned to an unsignposted archive. All life will end, and my own special moments will be relegated to a past that someone else might eventually read about. If my words capture how I felt at the moment that the events happened, perhaps they will light up those seconds when they are being read in the future. I have no clue if this will ever happen.

Tonight I was sitting outside a bar in the west of Ireland, having a cigarette, listening to the wonderful boom of the surf on the rocks. It was a constant noise. The barman came out and asked if I was ok. I replied that I was grand, and that I was just enjoying the sound. He asked what was I listening to as he could hear nothing. He is a local, and the music of the waves on the shore are as normal to him as the usual night time sounds of traffic on the motorway in Dublin is to me. Familiarity means that we can sometimes no longer hear the background sounds to our own lives. When I told him I was loving the sound of the waves, he cocked his head and listened. He then bustled about and made some off hand remark about the beach and the recent damage caused by storms, but really didn’t understand my pleasure in listening to the sound that is so normal to him yet so special to me.

Later on back in my room I was having a sneaky puff of a cigarette out the window. All hotel rooms in Ireland are now non smoking and one has to go outside the hotel to smoke, or puff out the window which is still against the rules yet is what I was doing. Anyway there I was, puffing away, facing the Atlantic Ocean, freezing my face off, listening to the sound of the surf, and watching huge stormy waves chase each other up the shore under a moonlit Irish sky, creating a cove of whiteness as bright as the suds in a washing machine. I was thinking that this was a truly special time. I was away with my hubby who was asleep in the bed near me, we had had a lovely couple of days relaxing and enjoying ourselves, and here we were, the two of us, juxtaposed in a small hotel in the west of Ireland, really appreciating a different background sound and rhythm to our normal life which is one lived contentedly, albeit next to a busy, noisy motorway in Dublin.

It was a memorable moment. I couldn’t take a picture to share on social media with all my family and friends as it was too dark, so I decided to write about it instead. I will re read this entry and remember this lovely night and the way that I felt. That is what archiving good memories is all about.

Destiny can be about really appreciating the actual moment that we are living in and not waiting for another one in a future that may never happen.