A trick of the eye.

Today there are fewer cars; the start of Easter holidays, so that morning rush is absent and all is quiet . A good time to think and to write, to put thoughts in order as they hit the page, to read, flick through the newspaper and instantly forget the news, forget to worry for those in far places whose lives affect ours like butterfly wings.
Instead, to invent lives, imbue characters with joy and problems to surmount.

Soon the visitors will come streaming, a chilly season to camp by the sea.

 We see lambs frolic as if they are in the garden; a trick of the eye, as a wall and a road separate the farmer’s field from ours.

No wind rages, no rain falls, in spite of the forecast, so time in the garden is the order of the morning after all.To work on the latest patch to be laid to lawn , to have seed scattered and checked daily for signs of sprouting. Thus far, this year’s scattering is stubbornly dormant. No sign. Perhaps sewn too early or last year’s seed, or stoney ground.

Either way.
We keep thinking we should move away go somewhere with more life, somewhere that is nearer for family.
Perhaps we should but this oasis becomes our life now.


In Praise of Fiona Shaw


Colm Toibin discussing the novella The Testament of Mary, patiently and charmingly made clear that once a book is published and out in the world it is out of the author’s hands as a woman repeatedly took him to task over the imagery used to advertise the play made from the novella and starring Fiona Shaw. It was the crown of thorns across her mouth I think  she objected to.

Fiona Shaw’s face behind the crown of thorns used as a gag is disturbing and arresting. Perhaps she just has a strong face but it makes her look like Christ.
She was a tour de force in the Testament of Mary stage production at the Barbican but I preferred the less mad Mary I had envisioned from reading the book. Somewhere between the two, perhaps.

The Guardian, Tuesday 20 May 2014 23.33 BST

‘Among the many fine things to come out of Cork are crubeens (pigs’ trotters), the short-story writers Frank O’Connor and Sean Ó Faoláin and the actor Fiona Shaw; the last is displaying her characteristic sense of adventure on stage in The Testament of Mary. In line with the demands of Colm Tóibín’s original novella, Shaw presents us with a mother of Christ who is, by turns, angry, sceptical, guilt-ridden and grief-stricken, and who fiercely resents the appropriation of her son. This is typical of a restlessly exploratory career that, in tandem with director Deborah Warner, has led Shaw to play an emotionally arrested Richard II, a biliously pregnant Hedda Gabler and an unusually resilient Mother Courage. Some actors take the stage by default; Shaw invariably takes it by storm and is unafraid to make bold choices and bare both body and soul. In an age of cross-gender casting, one has to speculate on what she’d be like as King Lear.’