I love dolphins and one of the things I want to do before I die, is swim with them, play with them, laugh with them. Now, yes I could go find Fungi in West Cork, but the water is so cold, I would have to don a wetsuit, wouldn't be able to feel him though, skin on skin. I was flying somewhere some time back, and read an article about a chap who followed the dolphins around the world. I was so envious of him (Not good to be envious, I know!) One day that will be me! I hate seeing them captured in pools trained to jump through hoops and perform dreadful banal tricks. A couple of years ago, I stood on the left hand side of the burren, Co. Clare with family and friends in lashing, unforgiving winds, waves crashing against craggy coastline, drenched but exhilarated. One of us spotted a school (think that's for whales, but you know what I mean), heading southwards towards Kerry. We were all hopping around, shouts of 'where...where?'. Our Dublin slicker friend, Christopher, however, bemoaned the fact that he had missed them. Suddenly, as if they sensed his disappointment, the dolphins re-appearing from the depths, were now heading northwards towards Galway. We were ecstatic and the childish left-out pout melted from Chris's face. Oh to be a dolphin, with it's sense of fun and laughter!
I started writing this blog a few days ago, while HMS PINAFORE was still sailing. The vessel ended her voyage last night to a standing ovation. The curtain came down on what seems to have been an extremely well-received production. Now I am a bit of a perfectionist (perhaps there's some Virgo mixed in there with the stubborn Taurean parts of me), but the fact that the films, that I had gone to great lengths to create as part of the production design, only worked properly on one night, freaked me out completely. From a performance point of view, the show was more than ready to open on Tuesday night, but the technical support network was almost non-existent. That it worked the night the critic was there, is of no consolation to me whatsover. Professionalism springs from attitude as far as I am concerned and there were absolutely no excuses for this cock-up! However, this was an important learning curve for me. Although I like to do the encouraging, inspiring thing rather than the dictatorial director thing with the cast, I now realize I have to 'toughen up' in some areas and 'demand' rather than 'request' cetain things, particularly those things that I believe will enhance and refresh. Many of the cast knew me as a fellow performer, or stage hand, or 'whatever it takes to get the show on the road person', but none of them had worked with me as a director.
My Turkish Floor Painting
I am still reading 'The Odyssey', and I'm totally captivated. I can't believe that I am only getting to this stuff now! But thank God! Whilst reading a chapter during the week, I was reminded of a young male friend of mine, who had nervous breakdown recently. At 21 years of age, he felt, that somehow sharing tears with me, was not being a 'man'...a 'hero'. It has played on my mind since and I have wondered where those expectations come from. It dawned on me, that perhaps all young men should read this classic of Homer. Odysseus, hero of heroes, who slaughtered Polyphemus, outwitted Circe, etc. etc. sheds tears on many occasions throughout this magnificent tale. Not for one moment did I, as the reader, think any the less of him as a hero. It made him more believeable...an even greater hero, because he wasn't afraid to show his vulnerability! Now to Cranes...
I have had a fascination with cranes for quite some time. In second year at UCC I stayed in the most abysmal bedsit in the whole of Cork, I think... the antithesis of first year, which saw me staying in an upmarket apartment in Rochestown. However, inspite of its crumbiness, the space in that bedsit felt like 'home' , was almost next door to college, and I met my wonderful friend, Catriona from Galway, who was living in the bedsit beneath me. Sadly we only got to speak to each other towards the end of that year, but we got on so well! Catriona was in 3rd year doing Italian and music and went on to get a first in her BA, but was hoping to go on to do an MA in Italian and we said that we could perhaps share an apartment the following year. However, I thought that during the summer she might have second thoughts about staying with an old fogey like myself, but sure enough, come September, I got a text from her about us heading off flathunting! We found an amazing apartment on North Quay. It was, without question, one of the happiest periods of my life! Catriona and her friend Catherine (another Galway girl, who is now also my dear friend) travelled from Galway and Cork respectively, through floods etc. to see HMS Pinafore on Friday night. It was such a pleasure to have them stay in my home and meet Mel and Charlie, the horses, Flossie and Buffy the dogs and Scout, the cat. I forgive you Catriona for calling Charlie a little runt... He's a fellabella pony...he's supposed to be a little runt! It was wonderful to hear my piano being played so beautifully and to be a part of that simple, but elegant piano duet with Catriona, who got her first in her Italian MA. Congratulations dearest Cat! Anyway back to cranes...
I love them...I want to climb one some day and hang out there for a while! Across from the bedsit, there was all sorts of development going on in the TYNDALL research department of UCC. In the midst of scaffolding, soared the most majestic, heroic crane, covered in night-time blue lights, which became a great source of comfort and inspiration to me. I would just stand there and watch its twinkling eyes, that seemed to see right through to my heart and soul...we really, really connected. I know... I'm insane! Am I bovvered? I dont know where my hero is now, because the updating process at Tyndall is now complete and he has moved on to another. I am not jealous or sad...I keep those moments locked away to warm and hearten me whenever I'm cold or afraid. I am getting to the point of all this. Somehow, cranes are connected to my concern for troubled spirits, in search of a connection to others, to the universe... a reason for it all. Somehow Odysseus, Dante's treatment of Virgil, my young male friend's plight and cranes all connect. That has to be my next project...a play...a musical...a poem...I'm not sure...but it won't let go of me! Someone told me recently I was 'emotionally crusading!' I was flattered...thank God I am! I'm looking forward to everything...with an air of excitement and anticipation...but sometimes become frustrated and impatient with myself...mostly!. Probably just need to give myself a break!
Anyway, I'm away to Connemara on Thursday at 3pm when I've finished teaching. That's a start. Will take a little work with me, but mostly it'll be fun-time... can't wait!
There will be time to brainstorm...the future...new projects! Just hope the dolphins come out to play!