Monday, November 15, 2010

Dreams Deferred But Not Abandoned

It has been three months since my last post. You know what that tells me? Well, it means I am so busy writing really great screenplays and novels that there is no time for blogging. I think that is the best news ever!

In one week I leave Ireland. This blog is not about reflecting on my 13 month odyssey here. That will come later and not be on a blog (I hope!).

So, back to California and I bring with me all the Magic and Spirit that is this country to keep me creating and keep me believing - in me!

SlĂ inte!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Natural Installation

As the morning dew lifted this morning the light revealed a field by the river magically transformed by a hundred small and gauzy spider webs. Like white sails afloat on my own sea of grass. There is a new wonder to be found in my new world...each day...I need only look to find enchantment.

In not so many months I will turn 60 and a few days ago I completed my very first screenplay. Even better than that - today I began my second screenplay.

Enchantment, indeed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Wild Irish Rose

A young woman leaves her parent's home to move to a small home with her newly wedded husband. She brings with her a cutting from the wild rose that has always grown in the hedge along her mother's garden. It is bright and pink and the young woman knows, that when it takes root and grows, it will link her forever with her mother and the land on which she was born. And the rose does take root and it grows along the fence between their fields and her garden. In the summer it spreads along the fence and blooms and lights up that small corner of their land. And then babies are born - one after another until her husband builds his family a new home, a bit bigger, and his wife, not as young as she was, takes a cutting from the wild rose and plants it in what will become her new garden in her new home. In this way she will always be rooted to that spot of earth. Then one year a stranger comes from far across the sea and she asks if she can live in the home that they outgrew and they said yes and when she moved in it was March and the bad winter still lay frozen across the old garden. The plants were so stricken by the deep frost of the winter that the new woman from across the sea was not even sure if they were alive. So she bought shiny new pruning shears and began to gently cutaway the most damaged branches. And then she waited. And then the sun came and the warm rain of spring and then branches grew and reached out along the fence between the garden and the fields until one day, in late June, the new woman saw the new flower buds - masses and masses of them - all over the fence. And she knew and she understood the land was still alive, the heart was pumping again, and life returned. The wild Irish rose, who had blessed the young woman's childhood home, and then her own children's home, now welcomed the stranger from across the sea.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mass Rocks and Hedge Schools

The English, in their many attempts to destroy traditional Irish culture, enacted the Penal Laws of 1702-1719. In these laws it was stated that Catholics could no longer gather together in celebration of mass. What came from this attempt at religious suppression was the formation of secretive meetings under the protection of dense forests where a suitable large rock became the priest's altar. What the law actually accomplished was returning people to the land for their worship - for what greater cathedral is there than tall trees whose deep roots penetrate the belly of the earth and whose branches reach high toward the sky? Alive with the elementals the people of Ireland must have, once again, felt the sacredness and power of their land. Another part of the Penal Laws was the outlawing of Catholic teachers. The English created their own schools where only English was spoken and the old stories were banned. Hedge Schools sprang up - often taught by the revered Brehons - and the Irish language, history, and ancient stories were taught. This is the life-blood of a culture and must never be lost.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Returning to the Fold

Sometimes you have to leave home in order to find your true Home. I have returned to Ireland and my old farmhouse in the hills of North Leitrim.

Here with my people - children of the Gael.

Spring has welcomed me...

It is here that my heart sings and my soul dances.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

All I (Really) Want

1971 - the year I moved back to California after a forced exile. The year Joni Mitchell released her amazing album "Blue." I bought it instantly and have owned every format of it since - including the one now on my iPod.

When I first heard it I thought "this is my life Joni is singing about" from "Green" for my own love child to flying home from trip number 1 to Europe:
"California I'm coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I'm coming home"

And then, other trips, with other lovers haunting my goodbyes:

"You got the touch so gentle and sweet
But you've got that look so critical
Now I can't talk to you baby
I get so weak
Sometimes I think love is just mythical
Up there's a heaven
Down there's a town
Blackness everywhere and little lights shine
Oh, blackness, blackness dragging me down
Come on light the candle in this poor heart of mine."

Through all the years, and all the formats, Joni's "Blue" has been with me. Each song brings up a memory of a person or a place or that time which will never be again for me or for the world.

I never thought I would live again a song - but now I know the true pain she felt when she sang "All I Want." Now I know the deepest pain that only can come with the darkest finality:

"I am on a lonely road and I am traveling
Traveling, traveling, traveling

Looking for something, what can it be

Oh I hate you some, I hate you some
I love you some

Oh I love you when I forget about me

I want to be strong I want to laugh along

I want to belong to the living

Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive

I want to wreck my stockings in some juke box dive

Do you want - do you want - do you want

To dance with me baby

Do you want to take a chance

On maybe finding some sweet romance with me baby

Well, come on

All I really really want our love to do

Is to bring out the best in me and in you too

All I really really want our love to do

Is to bring out the best in me and in you

I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you

I want to renew you again and again

Applause, applause - life is our cause

When I think of your kisses

My mind see-saws

Do you see - do you see - do you see

How you hurt me baby

So I hurt you too

Then we both get so blue

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling

Looking for the key to set me free

Oh the jealousy, the greed is the unraveling

It's the unraveling

And it undoes all the joy that could be

I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun

I want to be the one that you want to see

I want to knit you a sweater

Want to write you a love letter

I want to make you feel better

I want to make you feel free

Hmm, Hmm, Hmm, Hmm,

Want to make you feel free

I want to make you feel free."

Free you may be - but not me.

So, Joni, what more will be revealed in my life to come from this album? We shall see.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


GREETING by Ella Young

Over the wave-patterned sea floor,
Over the long sun-burnt ridge of the world,
I bid the winds seek you
I bid them cry to you
Night and morning
A name you loved once;
I bid them bring to you
Reed songs, and songs of the small birds -
and sleep.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Town stunned as boy (9) dies in school-run lorry collision

By Anita Guidera
Saturday February 13 2010

A POPULAR schoolboy who was "full of fun" was being mourned by a small Co Leitrim town yesterday following a tragic road collision on a school run.
Nine-year-old Simon Land was killed instantly when the car in which he was a passenger was in collision with a lorry on black ice just outside Manorhamilton at 9.15am.
His mother Sarah, who is in her forties, was taken to Sligo General Hospital where her injuries were described last night as "non life-threatening".
The driver of the lorry also suffered minor injuries.
The mother and son were on their way to St Clare's Primary School when the accident occurred on a slight bend at Donoghmore on the main N16 Enniskillen Road on the outskirts of the town and less than two kilometres from their rented home at Ballyboy.
The car careered into a ditch after colliding with the lorry.
Emergency fire personnel worked for several hours at the scene of the accident to free the body of the victim from the wreckage.
Parish priest Father Oliver Kelly, who attended the scene, said that the town had been left deeply shocked by the tragedy.
"It was a terrible scene. The community is devastated. The car was very badly demolished. The mother was bringing the child to school in his school uniform at the time," he said.
School principal John Conlon said that the dead child had one older brother, Fenner, who was a former pupil of the school, and is believed to live in America.
"Simon was in third class. He was an absolutely lovely, kind lad who got on well with everybody in school."
The road was closed for several hours yesterday for a forensic examination.
A local business owner, who did not wish to be named, said that the town was in a state of numbness.
"I knew him well from coming in and out of the shop. He was a very mannerly little guy and very lively," she said.
It is understood that the victim's mother, who is originally from England, had been living in the Manorhamilton area for about 15 years.
A severe weather warning was issued last night with motorists being urged to take care over the weekend as temperatures were expected to plummet to -5C.
The Road Safety Authority said heavy rain will fall in parts of the north, Connacht and the east followed by freezing temperatures and morning fog.
It is feared this combination will lead to icy driving conditions and reduced visibility.
- Anita Guidera
Irish Independent
Road diversions sent me driving to and from Manorhamilton through the farmland and when I came home dark and heavy clouds gathered over our mountain ~ as dark and heavy as the hearts of the townspeople. At 4 p.m. I glanced up from my work and watched as a single circle of light from the West cleared its way through the clouds. I wished the wee boy a safe journey Home - home to Tir na n-Og.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

i mbolg



St. Brigid's Day

and in Ireland I was gifted with a new home. A hearth to warm me and kindle my late winter fire.

Today I rooted a rhododendron cutting from the forest near my new home. They are blow-ins, like myself, and have flourished in the rich moist soil of the Irish woodlands.

So will I.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snow Bound

First there were the floods and then came the snow and the ice. Ireland. So for weeks I have been on my hilltop watching the amazing and ever-changing sky of North Leitrim from dawn to dusk. I venture out to seek the various animal tracks in the snow - fox, bird, house cat, farm dog, a lone sheep cut-off from her herd, and along side these I plant my rubber-soled footsteps deep into the crusted whiteness. I am making my mark on this, my new home - for she has long ago made her mark upon me. My roots are growing strong in the frozen earth, seeking nourishment from deep below and waiting for the thaw...

The Pomegranate
Eavan Boland

The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere. And have.
As a child in exile in
a city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted. Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The pomegranate! How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and
the noise of stone and the proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry. I could warn her. There is still a chance.
The rain is cold. The road is flint-coloured.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world. But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.