September 2009

Hmm, I’ve been a bit lame on the blogging front lately haven’t I. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything, though I just don’t feel I’ve been doing anything worth writing about. I care that I’ve been having a lovely time catching up with my mates, but why should I presume any one else does?

Now I could write about what I consider the very interesting mechinations of what’s going on in their lives but that would entail my opinion and could involve my getting a kicking the head, if they read my blog, which judging from my stats they don’t (cept of you Amber…do you have any gossip I could use.)

Apparently Nora Epron the screen writer/director said that everything in life can be used as copy…don’t know if she’d count sitting in watching Lip Stick jungle repeats.

Tree in flood lake

Tree in flood lake

I have small veins, possibly due to dehydration. I found this out today when trying to donate blood. I’m in Dublin, borrowing a friend’s house while she’s on holidays and when ever I’m here I try to build up a bit of karmic credit. Well after all I’ve lived 8 months this year on bursaries and other people’s generosity, so I kind of feel I better give something back or the cosmos might feel a tad underappreciated.

Also giving blood is the only time I allow myself ‘whole fat Tayto Crisps’ and the Time bars they give out free to build up strength so it wasn’t an altogether unselfish gesture. I did happen to be peckish when walking past the clinic.

Unfortunately it was literally like trying to get blood from a stone. The nurse spent about five minutes trying to rise my weedy little veins before sticking a massive sharp PIPE into one of the stringy little feckers but to no avail, I couldn’t yield a single drop. So not only did I manage not to donate but I’d already scoffed back two bag of Taytos and had loaded up my bag with free blood donor pencils.

However I had already volunteered at ‘Fighting Words’ that morning, a group set up to teach kids the joy of writing. Basically, in the morning workshops a group of kids comes in and are facilitated in making up a story on the spot. This is simultaneously illustrated, typed up and then, while the volunteers work with the individual kids on endings, the story is printed up into a little book which they each get to take away with them. It’s a fab idea (see Dave Eggers on and very satisfying and rewarding…if you’re not a writer yourself.

Trying to get some of the kids to come up with endings was like, well trying to get blood from one of my scrawny little veins. The remit is to be encouraging and supportive so I managed to suppress my frustration at certain 8 year olds lack of instinct about conflict and narrative arcs just enough not to be discouraging but not, I fear, to put my karmic credit balance into the black.

I think I speak for many women of a certain age when I express my heartfelt regrets at the passing of Patrick Swayze, who died yesterday, aged 57. I’m not going to make a joke of it. I am genuinely sad.

I went to Dirty Dancing 7 times when it was in the cinema in Cork. I went to see it once with my friends and the other times on my own, all the better to savor it, straight after school with change stolen from my father’s suit pocket. (Don’t blab siblings!) I must have been about 15, so puberty had obviously already kicked in but Johnny Castle brought it onto a whole new level.

Even now, the emotional memory of the chemistry of Baby and Johnny has more resonance and power then most of the half hearted crushes of my thirties. Like it was yesterday I remember DANCING out of The Everyman Cinema with the thrilling anticipation that a similar love story could be all ahead of me.

Alo, as well as planting a desire for explosive romance, I think it also compounded my desire to work in film for what I felt coming out of that cinema was pure unadulterated joy and hope. How many jobs, how many many life experiences..can claim to make you feel like that?

Hence it was with a certain amount of trepidation I borrowed the dvd a few months ago beucase it surely could not be as good as I remembered it could it? BUT IT WAS!! In fact if anything it was better! Subtexts I’d missed out on in my teens by had assumed a hindsight resonance….Baby’s coming of age, her having to stand up to her father, but I have to admit, it still was all about Johnny’s gluts, and if anything, a tad of experience and empathy added to imagination made the ehh… ‘dance’ scenes all the better.

Scary to thing it was almost never made, it took them years to get financing, after all what audience could possibly be interested in a young girl’s coming of age experience?? Scarier again to think that when it was previewed to some of the executive producers they recommended burning the negative and reclaiming on the insurence!! Can you imagine? There would be a big Partick Swayze shaped hole in the consciousness of a generation of women. NO ONE PUTS BABY IN A FURNACE!

So thank you Johnny, thank you Patrick, I am going to watch it again in your memory. And one good thing about being single is that I can tell myself that my own Johnny Castle is still out there.

They say ‘be careful what you wish for’. So, because, when my pal told me she and her husband were moving to India for his job, I enviously sighed “Oh I wish something would happen to me that would shift me out of my rut” I wonder did I unconsciously wish up the fire in the house I rented for 14 years. Okay, it was more of a smoulder then a fire, but believe me, it’s the smoke that’ll kill you.

Still, consciously, I was actually quite happy in my rut in Dublin, in my cute fire hazard of an apartment by the sea, surrounded by 14 years worth of clutter. So when the landlord, incited by the fire authorities, told us we had to vacate the building I felt the initial devastation of loosing what was effectively my home. However disconcertingly soon afterwards certain excitement started to niggle in my gut. ‘Hell’ I started to think, ‘I’m a writer, I can write anywhere, why tie myself into a lease for an over priced bed sit in Dublin when I could be…well anywhere!’

Thus I found myself giving away 80% of my possessions on, storing the rest of my worldly goods in archive boxes in my parents house. Thus becoming, at a stage where most of my pals were settling down and buying houses, effectively homeless.

You’d be surprised how liberating having nothing feels, and how bloody terrifying! And disorientating and exciting, all at the same time. It makes for erratic dreams.

Oprah frequently says “the universe very often has a better plan for you then you have for yourself, if you let it”. So when the universe landed a three month residency in Paris on my lap, I said cheers. When a woman I was speaking to for all of ten minutes at a Paddy’s day party in the Irish Embassy, offered me the loan of her exquisite little house in Bagnolet until the end of August, I said thanks very much. The fact she had season 4 of The Wire, which I’d been hanging to see was just gravy.

When I rang my mate just to say hello, she informed me that I could have her lovely house in Dublin, a ten minute walk from where I used to live, for the next two weeks, again i was able to cheers yes. I’ve actually been officially homeless for over a year now, and I keep wondering when panic and a mad yen to settle down again to kick in, but instead , having no official roof over my head seems to be opening alot of doors, so for the time being, I’ll just go with the flow, who knows where it will take me.

And guess what, she has series 5 of The Wire!

I have come to a huge decision today. I have decided to let go of my desire to be a writer and director! For the last ..lots of years..I have been focused on this one goal. I have gone to film school, I have engaged in a lot of post graduate training in this field. I’ve made a lot of award winning short films, a semi-successful tv series and even a precarious living…. but I’m giving up.

Oh I’m not giving up the writing, I’m not even going to give up the soul crushing activity of trying to get a feature film made, I’ve just decided to let go of the notion that BEING a writer/director is who I AM. Instead I am going to let it just be something that I DO, amongst all the other things I do, like drawing, travelling, saving peacocks from foxes and watching too much tv.

I have finally realised by making it all about who I am, by defining myself by it, I’ve been wrecking my head and possibly wrecking the work. Too much of my ego and my sense of myself has been wrapped up in the ebbs and flows of my career and that’s all very well if you’re a sailor and can predict that when there’s an ebb there actually will also be a flow, but not in a profession that I am beginning to think has less to do with talent then with tenacity and an alignment of the stars.

Also I’m hoping by taking the issue of ‘my whole sense of myself’ out of the equation, I’ll allow the work to flow better. Put it this way, I won’t put off writing because I am worried that what I write will be shit and that of course must mean I am shit. It might also mean I’ll stop putting pressure on my poor beleaguered muses to prop me up as well as my stories.

Also I’m hoping that now that I’ve decided by stopping pigeon holing myself as a ‘writer/director’ I might open up a bit of cosmic and mental space and freedom to doing a lot of other things besides, things that might challenge me, or might just be fun or…notions of notions, pay! So from now on, if anyone asks me what I am.. I am just going to smile prettily and say ‘Fabulous’!

Oh crap! I just got my first rude email from my internet dating site! Some bloke, seeing me on line, asked me if I wanted to msn to see his **** like right now! He actually used **** but I can kind of guess what was going to be on view.

On a more pleasant note, Cute Date Guy is back in contact (note to self, learn to create links`to past posts). Turned out he hadn’t gone awol, he’d gone to Stokholm and Amsterdam to meet some friends. What’s more two of my friends, who are usually quick to run down men, told me I was being too needy and demanding for expecting regular contact after one date, especially from someone met on the internet.

In fact my mate Amber, who met her guy on-line, told me he used deliberatly NOT email women for a week or so in order to weed out the ‘crazies’, ie the women who would get in a strop about it. Hmm I think that makes me a *****. I think we can all fill in the blanks.

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