Ireland


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 http://www.ted.com) 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.

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 jumbletown.ie, 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!

Wish 5

The rain has stopped, the sky is blue. On Google weather, a little row of bright sun icons line up for the days ahead. My bad humour has broken. This morning, blowing off work for a walk in the country, I wouldn’t have swapped my muddy black berry lined path for the Boulevard Saint Germain.

Having spent the last two months in the city, I was in the mood to be charmed to see nature at play. The acrobatic swallows were again out in force. the same fat wood pigeon of yesterday was perched on the same branch of the tree and beyond him, the large dog fox appeared again as if on cue, out for his evening stroll….

Until he paused…

And crouched…

Ominously!

Even from a distance I could almost see his muscles tense as three of my father’s stupid pin headed guinea fowl and beloved bloody peacock meandered straight into his orbit. The peacock in particular seemed to stroll straight towards him, almost as if to say hello. It was like watching the first half of one of those carnage filled documentaries my father watches on a loop on the nature channel.

Much screaming from my bedroom window wasn’t enough to deflect the foxy little fecker, which is why I found my self scrabbling over a brick wall, ducking under electric fencing, up to my ankles in mud, waving my arms frantically to scare him off. To be honest he seemed less frightened rather then slightly miffed. He’d trot off a few feet then pause and look back as if to say ‘Bother, are you still there? How terribly tedious’ until eventually, bored, he took to the hills.

Meanwhile the brainless and ungrateful guinea hens and peacock resisted my attempts to herd them to safety by flying left, right and centre. When I eventually managed to drive them back over our wall, I realised, to my chagrin, that I couldn’t get myself back over it, agility is not my strong point.

Hence, feeling slightly guilty for interfering with the fragile circle of life I had to trek through muddy fields in my good patent shoes till I could find a gate to get myself back out onto the road towards home. It all felt a far cry from France until negotiating my way around cowpats put me in mind of dodging dog shite on the streets of Paris.

Hmm, I’m very tempted to pop down to Dunnes stores to buy a dress. Apparently they have nice ones down there for 20 quid. However I am broke and there is better things I could be doing with my squids, like saving them to go back to Paris. Anyway I don’t need any dresses. I still haven’t unpacked half those I bought in order to attract attention from cute French men and immigrants.

No, I just really feel in need of a retail therapy hit. They weather has stopped flirting an is now just sulking and I am looking out at grey rainy clouds. The news is grim. The artists exemption, which means that broke writers are at least tax free, is about to be cut, the new Irish drama on tv is about jobless Irish people being forced to immgirate. Personally immigration is looking like my best option at the moment.

My ambition to write and direct a feature film is being insideously replaced by the desire to teach English in a country that is at least warm. I think I, along with most Irish people, suffer slightly from seasonal emotional disorder, and suffice to say today it’s gloomy both inside and out. I wish I had a punch line for this blog entry but I don’t. I’m just blue and I suppose I have enough blue dresses already.

Flea market, Bantry.

Flea market, Bantry.

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