First, a confession: I’ve been lazy about writing. Since we received our Irish citizenship, I’ve wondered how my written perspective would change, or rather, if it even should change.
Am I still an expatriate, a foreigner, a blow-in, a transplant, and now an immigrant?
Only time will tell.
But it’s been a curious experiment, to lie low and ruminate on the newness of this identity, not unlike when we first moved to County Meath and spent our days listening, waiting, soaking it all in. Eventually, though, your mind and heart reach saturation levels and you just can’t take much more in.
Maybe that’s where I am now. Saturated. Waiting for the tide to go out, the pores to empty.
While waiting, I recently turned back to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I started this book and the morning pages exercises in 2014, but somewhere along the way I forgot all about it... Until I picked it back up, that is, and remembered: it’s a lot of hard work, this minding and nurturing my inner artist child, naming my advocates and my monsters, writing the affirmations until my knuckles start aching.
I don’t mind telling you that two weeks of spring break hampered this good work.
But before the break, I took my artist child out on a date. Which one, my friends asked, meaning my own actual children.
Me, I said, to their looks of mild confusion.
We walked through St Stephen’s Green and sat across from James Joyce in the mist and listened to This American Life and the stories of Five Women (being both equally believable and unsettling).
Then we sat in on a piano recital at the National Gallery from an excessively talented 17-year-old playing Chopin and Rachmaninov; a practice lesson for the upcoming Dublin International Piano Competition. I thought I’d write notes and remark on the setting, the shiny parquet floor, the revived newness of an old Georgian ballroom with its white columns and alternating busts. But instead I just sat, listened.
His work was wonderful, and he was nervous, and as his brown curls bounced above the grand piano’s keys, all the pent up musical energy within his bones contract and release, I was as proud of him as I would’ve been of my inner artist child at that age, in that place.
(But she never got very far in piano.)
I look forward to more dates, more museums, more walks, more music, more filling of the well (so to speak). Yes, that’s a whole lotta New Age-y talk, but I’ve bought into it. For now.