500 Words Of January

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500 Words Of January for Jim Carroll’s On The Record:               http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/ontherecord/

One more post! One more post! One more post! We’ve reached the end of the 500 Words Of January series and I’d like to say a huge THANKS to all the writers who gave their time, imagination, craft and words to OTR over the last 10 days. I’ve really enjoyed all the pieces and especially sharing the writers’ enthusiasm for what they were talking about.

I’ve kept this post until last because it really hit a chord with me on the day that I first read it because of various other conversations I was having with other people. Last year, Mary Nally set up the Drop Everything event on Inis Oírr and, as she says below, it changed everything for her. A plan to go to New York has been put to one side and Mary is not going anywhere because “maybe I shouldn’t just fuck off when there’s brilliant people here that work hard at doing brilliant things that make Ireland not completely shit”. This is dedicated to all the brilliant people who have decided to stay here and get shit done. -JC

“The rough theme of the series is “2013″ but feel free to ignore that guideline if you wish.”

2013. The rough theme. Jim Carroll must have picked up on my 2013 consuming thoughts of late. A rough theme is right. Really, 2013 is just another year waiting to happen – 2012 got all the decent press thanks to the Mayans. But if the end of the world doesn’t happen, I have a problem. Because my 2013 mind isn’t made up. And my mind is always made up.

I’m supposed to emigrate. At least that was the plan. It was the plan last year too, but a glitch in a visa process left me back in Ireland with nothing but a loose idea to make something happen. A sort of art event. Definitely not a festival (now that I’m writing the piece I can set that record straight). Small. Simple. Showcases. One thing at one time in a place that demands simplicity (in a logistical nightmare kind of way). And free. It had to be free.

To be honest, the idea had been there for quite some time and the location and name were set to go. But now the idea had to become a reality. It was an experiment really. I kind of presumed it would never really amount to anything. And that would be fine. I’d have a summer in Ireland, check back on the visa situation, go back to NYC via Reykjavík by November 2012, Christmas in New York, new year in New York, new life in New York. Done.

November 2012. The event was made. The summer was the craic. The visa is unglitched and good to go. But I got a round trip to Reykjavík and I’m back sitting at the window in my favourite restaurant, exactly where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. The winter sun blasting out of the sky and warming the right side of my confused head. The west of Irelands beauty versus New York City’s sparkle. It’s been years since I had an interest in living anywhere but New York.

But the positive response to my simple idea has changed everything. What happened on Inis Oírr that weekend showed me that Ireland can be great, more importantly Irish people can be great. The local community showed me an Ireland that is both traditional and forward thinking. The old crafts and skills are alive there and not just for show. There are solar panels on almost every house. People grow their own vegetables and are aware of the changing climate. It showed me an Ireland to care about. One to promote, to protect and to be proud of.

So maybe I shouldn’t just fuck off when there’s brilliant people here that work hard at doing brilliant things that make Ireland not completely shit. Design studios like me&him&you, organisations like Re:Dress, who are promoters of local and ethical fashion, festivals like Body & Soul that actually have a sense of soul. Fractured Air, a really fantastic music blog by two brothers from Cork. Electro producers TR-ONE from Carlow. Not to mention the numerous artists and musicians of a world-class standard that are based here.

I’ve been disheartened and out of touch with Ireland, I have had no clue what goes on here, but I am beginning to see things a little differently and I think I might stick around and find out what’s the what. People are creating and the bar is getting higher. There’s still a thousand reasons to make me want to jump ship. But this nation’s bitch is gonna bite her tongue, up the ante and give Ireland one more shot. At least for now.

New York was my everything, Inis Oírr made me drop everything. I guess I set myself up for that fall. Worlds apart, these two parishes with an ocean in between do have one thing in common, they both remind me of my insignificance. There’s comfort in that insignificance.

2013. Maybe it’s time to do something significant? No pressure babez.