Friday, February 27, 2009

No Obama Here

Latest joke going around the country: What's the difference between Iceland and Ireland? One letter and six months. Yesiree, there are a lot of people who believe this ship of state is sinking fast. And, of course, the wealthy - being the rats they are - are bailing faster and moving all their money out. Can we call on a fresh young new face with dreams and visions to save us? Not a hope in hell. All we've got is the same old fusty rumpled-jacketed red-faced men who are the best friends of the guys who destroyed our economy in the first place. Their solution? More taxes, cut the pay of the public service, squeeze the peasants. And don't get me started on the failure to tackle the obscene wages of incompetent bankers and the inflated wages and allowances of TDs themselves. (Can you believe that our Taoiseach gets paid more than the President of the United States of America? For misruling this tiny country?) So, let me tell you how I really feel about it ...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Off Again!

It has been two weeks since I returned from the Franciscan Friary and these are my sins: I haven't done a tap of work on my new book, i.e. the adult one. However, I have been doing a load of business and prep around a graphic novel version and television series for the new young adult book/series. Re the latter, there's still so much to be finalised, I simply can't make any announcements ... yet. Meanwhile, I am off to my favourite artist's retreat in Co. Monaghan - Tyrone Guthrie's house at Annaghmakerrig - for a week. I'll get back to work on the adult novel and will also be meeting with my graphic novel artist who lives nearby. More about that anon.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Music and Dance as Prayer

The incredible Mercan Dede brings Sufi music, dance and poetry (Rumi) to the club scene. Some might find this sacrilegious, but why should the Divine not be welcomed into every aspect of life? The Whirling Dervish spins even as the electron spins, even as the galaxy spins: the dance of creation.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Thundering Disgrace

The Irish government will nationalise a corrupt and inefficient Anglo-Irish Bank (on behalf of its Fianna Fail cronies who all have dibs in it, not to mention its former Chairman who should be in jail) but not a national treasure like Waterford Crystal. It's heart-breaking that the workers are occupying the Kilbarry plant to keep the furnaces going because once they are turned off, all is lost; it would cost millions to turn them back on again. These men are fighting for their jobs, their livelihoods, and a big part of our heritage. Waterford Crystal is known the world over as a true Irish brand. It's an utter disgrace that it is being left to die. Ach, couldn't some Ireland-loving billionaire give them a hand? Michael Flatley, maybe? If I had a magic wand and lots of capital ... I would buy the company, pay off its debt, meet the workers to form a co-op, hear their ideas for running the place economically and efficiently, set up an apprentice programme, offer an annual prize to art college students for once-off designs, get more young designers involved ... Alas, I am rich in ideas but poor in cash.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Franciscan Sojourn

Just back from my residency in a Franciscan Friary in Westmeath. Oh my God -and I mean the pun - it was glorious. I'll talk about the work I did on my Book Blog, but here I will say that I spent two weeks with five amazing holymen and three other artists. Here's some of the stuff I did besides write: got up seriously early to attend 7:30 Mass in the Lady's Chapel, meditated and prayed and sang at 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily, explored the corridors and rooms of the two abandoned wings, walked in the garden, climbed the 17th century tower (pics to come) of the restored church, played Scrabble, had long chats about theology, Transactional Analysis, Enneagrams, art, life, the universe and everything, read a ton of books including Teilhard de Chardin's Le Divin Milieu, engaged in a discussion session on the Cosmic Christ, shared meals in the big Dining Room downstairs and also in the smaller kitchen upstairs where we had breakfast and supper, did an art therapy session with Fr Joe, the Guardian (whom most of us would call the Abbot). I really didn't want to leave, though I have a gazillion things to do here at home. Truly I am meant to live in community. I loved every minute of it.