“So exciting seeing people in wheelchairs tying themselves to buses”
Really? This is what I hear first on the radio this morning. It is quite an image to conjure up. Fortunately, John Humphreys of the BBC Today Programme has now moved to Mars (sadly, not literally) and I can tune out and come back to my own dark, miserable rainy winter morning here in Cavan. Winter writing is far more enjoyable than summer. I love snuggling down in bed in the early mornings with pen, pad and pink netbook while outside horrible weather lashes and leers. I can indulge in flights of fancy which fly me away which is more than can be said for the holidaymakers of Sharm el Sheikh who find themselves delayed as a result of the 240 people apparently bombed out of the sky last week while the Brits make sure those pesky Egyptians re-check their security systems. I must turn down the radio. It is too much of a distraction. As I turn on my lamp, casting a soft cosy glow across my room and listen to the radiator click into operation and pipes gurgle into warmth, it strikes me how our key measurement of pleasure is, indeed, the discomfort of others. What would we do without people in need over whom to laud or strut, faun up to, or to feel sorry for or pray about? How would we feel good about ourselves or thankful without refugees, homeless, the poor, and the starving?
Enough, Kate! Back to flights of fancy.
Indeed, there were major flights of fancy in Cavan this last weekend at the Festival of the Dead. Shock and horror (of the delight and screaming kind as opposed to the political and scandalised kind) abounded as people with white faces and black eyes or white eyes and black faces boarded the Ship of Fools and sailed away to the spooky old Bishop’s Palace in Kilmore to be tormented in gambling dens, screamed at in staged gun fights, and freaked out by life sized, moving toys. I waved them off from the safe shores where I spent my time waking the town hall with poetry, plays, stories and songs written and performed by local people on the hour, every hour across the weekend! It all culminated in a wicked parade a la New Orleans through the town, a bonfire to burn the town hall coffin and a night of jazz and dance in the re-born town hall as the new arts centre in Cavan. A fanciful spectacular indeed! Flights of fancy for sure!
Actually, all I fancy now is a nice cup of Twining Breakfast Tea before I begin work. I am putting together a collection of stories which, come to think of it, is a series of rather startling flights of fancy: a society of dead Irish mothers, a suburban woman tied to her kitchen chair by her neighbour, a girl crossing to the moon from a step ladder, a puppeteer, and the glory of a blow up doll at Christmas… Oh, the joys of the short story! But, actually, this morning I plan to write a poem about the new shopping mall they are turning the TATE Modern into on the South Bank of the Thames. Hopefully, a flight of fancy!
But, first, a cup of Twining tea while I listen to the news that liberal Sweden will be closing its doors to more refugees! So, another 100,0000 flights of fancy curtailed. I drink my tea, warm and content, grateful for my life. Good morning!