Tuesday, October 23, 2007

emotion comes before language

well, we're back to the days of the only routine being no routine. but at least i'm back at the page.

i'm sitting with a coffee outside a downtown cafe and desperately trying to ignore a couple sitting in a car not six feet from me who, for the past 45 minutes, have been engaged in a marital dispute with the windows wound down. their passive aggression is sending spikes out onto the sidewalk to slice through the autumn sunshine with black icy coldness of disconnection. so i'm retreating into the iWomb. both wearing grey. sitting in a silver car. this mis en scene is all monochrome. devoid of colour. neutral is not always peaceful. there's your trouble.

you can be sitting in a brand new car facing foward and yet be going nowhere. but there must be something in this shade of grey. something in between, as Adam say.


this past week i have been staying a stone's throw from my old family home in the hamlet of Delgany which nestles above the Wicklow coast with my brother, my sister in law and my neice. our friend heather makes a wonderful host and we felt thoroughly at home. colour. texture. artistry. hospitality. ongoing conversations. connecting. listening. encouraging. celebrating. meeting many faces not seen for six years at least. memories being stirred. realising the things we choose to forget. realising the things we can't. and surrounded by families. infants. little people only just learning how to crawl. seeing the massive achievement it is to cross a floor on soft limbs.

but the underground feeling has been of homelessness. family tastes bittersweet. the joy throws shafts of light and the shadows become colder, sharper. provokes deep lying feelings down in the mists. i have felt stranded. orphaned. claustrophobic in the desert. dana scully once said, "Loneliness is a choice." this is not loneliness. this is the crushing pressure of aloneness which makes lonliness seems like a preferable option. the weighing need when feeling connection to put up walls. to push away. shut out. protect. defend. connection is risk. trust is a risk disguised as a promise. we're not dipping our toes here. it is a hard won battle to learn the craft of walking toward what you need rather than running for the hills to weep in peace. there is achievement in crawling. on days like these, love is a painful act of moving forward bit by bit while the mists of the past lick at the heels. history wants to strangle and suffocate. to eat hope with its slack empty jaws.

so we are stepping up to the plate. with the meagre tools we have. the pen. the page. daring to let the past speak. die to it. let the void howl. and stand firm. to use it. to express it. and then choose its opposite. to sacrifice security for moments. to give history a voice not knowing what it will say. to know that the infant is bearing secrets it did not have language for. only tears. but it has my mouth now. it can speak if i will let it. it has my limbs. so the page becomes a battle ground.

all art is autobiography. the muse is the child with a story to tell. time to let it speak again. it will be a painful birth. but it is the labour of freedom.



  1. cheryl12:00 am

    this took my breath away.

    peace to you x

  2. Cary...your words are so much a part of who you are - honest, complex, beautiful, vulnerable, searching...that's why we love you so much my friend xmox