Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oh, the water.... part two

I went for a walk in the forest today accompanied by a Doctor Who audio drama, courtesy of the Transatlantic Library (many thanks to Ray).

I find it really hard to listen to audio books. Without the benefit of something to hold my eyes my mind usually wanders off somewhere else. I always think I'll be able to listen to them in bed but then I fall asleep. I did drift off a bit today at points but it was kind of nice to let the story wash over me somewhat. There's always the rewind button if you miss an important bit.

The thing I like about Doctor Who (one of the things) is how it is often the case that the Doctor is the only person who can solve whatever problem they are facing but it is also often the case that the problem has been partially his fault in the first place. Sometimes I think his character is extra-human rather than non-human. Maybe that's what comes of having more than one heart.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

It's called liturgy

'We don't define what we meant.
Other people do.
The near and dear.
There's only other people after all.'

Read the whole shebang here. I am grateful for writing like this.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Oh, the water

For Tarticus; thanks for this.

Sometimes things come together in such minute ways as to give you just enough of a glimpse of grace to keep on keepin' on.

Last night I finished reading Frederick Buechner's 'The Storm'. It is hard for me to describe what kept me reading this book to the finish. I think it mainly had to do with the writer's undoubted affection for his main character. It was not the best story I had ever read but there was something of real human care in every line that made it feel worth going on to the next. As if it was just a story, unremarkable as most of our stories are, but unique as they are too, and therefore remarkable enough to be worth sharing and listening to.

It is very much worth getting to the end of The Storm.

It is raining today and I drove home with Van Morrison singing something incomprehensible about jelly roll (someone explain this to me, please!) and there was that little moment of peace; a shadow cast from the future where things comes together and make sense.

Monday, February 19, 2007


by Ruth Padel

He's gone. She can't believe it, can't go on.
She's going to give up painting. So she paints
Her final canvas, total-turn-off
Black. One long
Obsidian goodbye.
A charcoal-burner's Smirnoff,
The mirror of Loch Ness
Reflecting the monster back to its own eye.

But something's wrong. Those mad
Black-body particles don't sing
Her story of despair, the steel and
Garnet spindle
Of the storm.
This black has everything its own sweet way.
Where's the I'd-like-to-kill-
You conflict? Try once more, but this time add

A curve to all that straight. And opposition-
White. She paints black first. A grindstone belly
Hammering a smaller shape
Beneath a snake
Of in-betweening light.
'I feel like this. I hope that you do, too.
Black crater. Screw you. Kiss.'
And sees a voodoo flicker, where two worlds nearly touch

And miss. That flash, where white
Lets black get close, that dagger of not-quite contact,
Catspaw panic, quiver on the wheat
Field before thunder-
There. That's it.
That's her own self, in paint,
Splitting what she was from what she is.
As if everything that separates, unites.

I read this poem for the first time today (I love poetry archive! Follow the title link). It blew me away.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy valentine's day

Hey it's Valentine's Day and I've been to the doc's with a pain in my heart. Nope, not even figuratively (although the good doctor is always a welcome remedy for such matters). Well ok, I'm hamming it up a little, it's more like a pain in the top of my stomach. And in the middle of my stomach. And all down my ribs and back. Actually it feels a lot like I've had a good kicking. Blood tests next week but the lovely doctor said she reckons it is merely some damage caused by meds I've been taking for something else. Splendid! Although I am enjoying the irony a little.

Thank God the Hoff still loves me.

Happy Valentine's Day youse lot!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

if i exorcise my devils my angels may leave too

Forgive me for publishing yet another picture of this painting. I wanted to say something about its creation. Someone almost asked me about it once so I'm taking that as a cue...

Something I have been thinking about for some time is the idea that our personalities cannot easily be divided up into the parts we like to label when we talk about ourselves; ‘sum your self up in 5 words’, that sort of thing. I can’t remember when I realised this about myself, but somewhere in the not-too-distant past I became aware that some of the parts of me that I was desperate to be rid of had their roots in the same place as other parts which I wanted to keep. So maybe I wanted to better at being sociable in the way that I see others can engage with their group at a party or in the pub. But to lose that weird part of me which some cannot accept would also mean losing the eccentricities that other appreciate; perhaps it would mean losing the way I can’t help looking at things; it would mean not being able to write the way I write now or not being able to paint this picture. And I don’t want to lose those things.

A wise person once said to me that the greatest eccentricity lies in constantly striving to conform. It doesn’t mean not striving for anything. And it doesn’t mean never trying to improve on weak areas. But I think maybe it’s dangerous to despise any part of one’s self before looking to see if the roots of it are also the birthplace of some uniquely beautiful facet of personality.

This is what this picture is about. In the end I called it 'The Four Chambers of a Failing Heart'. Light is meaningless without the juxtaposition of dark. Not that we enjoy the dark, but perhaps we can learn to respect our struggles with those things that are hard to speak of.

(Pee Ess My brother-in-law framed this and I think he did a lovely job. Thanks Barry!)


Many thanks to my step-neice, Emma, for taking these photos. There are other pieces I didn't get pictures of (notably Cary's collection which I thought was beautiful) but I'm hoping Ricky's will be on the web at some stage. Very nice evening with some lovely poetry from Padraig and a very-Pete homily on the meaning of Ikon.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Your invitation

It's tomorrow night at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.
And free wine too.