Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Samhradh | Taking Stock



I have always seen and treated summer as a time to grow, learn or as we say locally – to “stand back and take stock.” Some people do this more typically in winter or the New Year. But for me, it marks the end of another academic year, a chance to gather my breath, find space for my head and process whatever has passed since the previous summer. Oh and yes, my birthday is smack-bang in the middle of the season, that might have something to do with it all of this put-things-into-perspective mullarky.

I have missed this, writing slightly longer posts, sharing and blogging itself. I am not the first, and I will not be the last to say that the business of it has changed considerably. For those who are involved in it, you will understand this for yourselves. It has stepped away very much from the written word, and blogs being set up by people who enjoy the act of writing itself. It is now more visual (which is great!), but it can be said it’s become more superficial and more of a money racket. With each passing year, our attention span of consumers of media becomes shorter and shorter. This results in far fewer people reading this far into an article. 

For the last year or so I have felt very disconnected from it and I took a break. I started my journalism course and my attention was fixed more towards news and news writing and well, building a new life for myself. I had battled, and still battle the balance between both worlds; my interest in current affairs and broadcasting, as well as creative writing and the arts. There are more pressing things to worry about, of course. Though I will be coming to a crossroads in the next year or two about having to decide where I will start. Do I dive straight into a Masters programme after I graduate? What will that be? Will I work for a year or two first? Where will that be?

And the thing is, no one cares! Breaking news, just in; you have to make life decisions on your own and even if you think you don’t know what you want, darling, you still know better than anybody else. What’s the matter, Kitty? You have so much opportunity and CHOICE and you are COMPLAINING of such?

So I know only I will make these decisions, and no one else will care about them as much as I do, and that’s fine. It’s like assignments and grades, no one else can put the work in for you. That’s life in general, really.

But then I remind myself that I have made some pretty big decisions of my own accord the last few years and I have some headway.

Amongst other things, this is what I have been mulling over while we have all been basking in our heatwave. Summer is where I do most of my figuring out and writing at leisure, and it is at times and weather such as this that I am also reminded of my late sister. Not only did Ashling lap up the sunshine whenever she could, but she also had plenty to say! I can only imagine what she would be saying to me about what she reckons of things now, as we'd sit on the green, dodging the bog to "mind the house."

For anyone that knows me well enough, they will know that I am often actively putting things into perspective, and very few people will know just how often I do this. It’s something I have to do to just be okay with things, not take things too much to heart, combat the occasional bout of low-mood, to be thankful and humble, to not let life’s general fashion of passing overwhelm me. It can be rewarding, and tiresome – although the latter does not always rule the roost thankfully.

I look at things from all angles, all sources, as many eventualities that I can imagine, what gets what from A to B, and what makes that journey easier and what hinders it? Who is involved, who will benefit, who will not? It’s not about winning or losing, it’s just accessing the art of how things simply pan out. People are what I find most fascinating, so it is people who I try to understand as well as myself.

I am very much encouraged to think this way also, it helps when reporting for news. If you did not think that way for journalism, you would almost definitely end up getting sued.

Other annual notions present themselves between the months of May and August, I cut my hair shorter, more books are read, more physical ground is covered, I re-evaluate my skincare routine and get to be as fit as I can be. This has been jokingly and affectionately called by friends the “time where Catherine goes through a stronger hippy-dippy phase and sheds herself before the winter.”

In my own life, it is a beneficial exercise to make sense of things, and it can be carried out almost anywhere. I do not claim to be "all-seeing" and "all-knowing", either.

If I have been in your company, I have probably gone through it to some extent then without you knowing, or verbally dished it out in discussion if I feel I can. But often I neglect or turn less time towards acknowledging what I would think or feel about subject y. I would be annoyed at myself for just being annoyed in the first place.

I was told in recent months by a very close friend; “You are strong and I am proud that you seem so rational, but it is okay to acknowledge your own feelings and mark the logical operation for another time.”

They were right – although they usually always are to be fair.

Poetry helps to quieten things down, to see what I reckon myself and to solely understand, whether what is written is stylistically good, bad or indifferent. I may be crippingly indecisive to decide what film to watch or where to eat, but ask me something with a bit more substance behind the question mark, give me a minute and I’ll have a few more notions in the bank.

That is what I am doing a lot of this weather; taking stock of more than one thing at a time. But all is well – as I come towards the end of my 20th year. The currach is swaying over my homely clear-blue western waters nicely, evenly and steadily.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Nine Grids | A Poem



Imagine
How things go,
Their sequences
Left untouched
Present jump cuts regardless
Click
Click
Click
Keep an eye on that aperture,
Watch the depth,
If the shutter speed is too slow you’ll
Miss the shot entirely,

What will your caption be, kiddo?

White balance calls to mind
Those rose-tinted glasses
We all wore at some point -
I lost mine along the line,
A bus from College Green to Ballymun last Spring
I pick up a pair the odd time
I feel the need,
Lose them again
And repeat.

Every person will take away
Something different from
Something printed;
Glossed and brazen,
But flimsy matter
Ignorant to scrutiny

(Once
I looked over the shoulder of
A young doctor
Reading my notes in his lap
As he quickly flipped
Through pages containing
Delineations of my windy spine;
“You probably don’t want to see these”
He said.

I made him flip back
To the page
And told him his learning
Does not stop at RCSI.)

A simple matter of trial and error
Balancing the wheel on the edge
of the curb,
Shift focus
Keep your finger halfway on the silver button,
Gently rested but
Ready for action,
You have it,
You have it.

You could frame it,
Give what you saw a
Sense of permanency
Until the colours fade;
Black
Yellow
Cyan
Magenta -

In a hallway,
Bedroom wall
Or the top of a fireplace,
Far away from here,
By all means
Have faith in what
Your eyes see and have seen

For they take around
Sixteen thousand
Pictures daily anyway,
The ones worth storing
Could be found on a
Sheet of crinkled paper
At the bottom of a wardrobe
Or in a prized technicolored
Notebook
Under my pillow

Through the looking glass,
The subject will shift as the
Eighty thousand people
You’ll come across in your lifetime
Flit in and out,
But the rule of thirds
Will keep you in line.

I said that you have it.