Death is on my mind today. Long-time readers of this blog will, of course, recognize that this isn’t really unusual, since I think a lot about mortality and our treatment of the dead. And certainly with an unusually awful early hurricane season combined with seismic activity in Mexico, I’m thinking about, and praying about, the dead and their survivors in Chiapas, in Mexico City, in Texas and Puerto Rico and Barbuda and beyond. But today I’m thinking specifically about Earrach of Pittsburgh, whose funeral is this afternoon.
This past Sunday, Three Cranes celebrated the feast of Lughnasa. As we have for eight years now, we did so at the Dublin Irish Festival. That in itself is a big deal: we get a very large crowd, mostly non-regulars, who attend a pagan ritual that receives equal billing with multiple Christian services (everything from an interdenominational service to a Gaelic mass to a ‘U2Charist’) at one of the largest Irish festivals in the country. Such very public reverence for the old gods is in itself a powerful instantiation of the vision of Ár nDraíocht Féin. But beyond the questions of organizational stature and presence, this year’s DIF — our ritual and the broader festival both — had me thinking a good deal about music and the ways its presence supports and shapes my spiritual growth and wellbeing.
I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about what it means to be an artist. Who gets to be an artist? Who gets to own that? What are the obligations of an artist? If they keep it to themselves, if they share to the world, what does that mean? As a writer and teacher these questions have been floating around in the back of my mind for a long time, but a few interactions recently have really amped them up for me.
When I buckle down and hammer out headnotes, I get things out more timely; thus, week 3, barely a week and a half overdue! Continue reading A month of prayers: week 3
Yesterday I was talking with a good friend, catching up on each other’s lives after a couple months only ‘seeing’ each other on social media. He asked me how I was doing, and I paused a bit to think before responding “I think… I feel like I’m changing. Not in a bad way, and not like a total upheaval, but still: a definite shift.” He nodded. “That matches what I’ve been seeing from you online.” It’s good to have that kind of validation, because it’s a very odd experience to see these processes happening; usually they’re only clear in hindsight, so it’s more than a bit disconcerting to feel like you’re observing the building blocks of your life in motion, and to feel like there’s an extent to which they’re moving beyond your direct control. Continue reading Imbas and change
It’s been quiet around this blog for a couple months, and I’ve been increasingly unhappy about that. I actually have a few things I’ve wanted to write about, but once I’m done working, rehearsing, cooking, cleaning, and writing for my other blog, the thought of writing 500-900 words of crafted prose is just overwhelming. I’m ironically amused by this, since I have a master’s degree in creative writing and even before I was in that program I was prone to dropping 2500 words on LiveJournal without a second thought. But life changes with age, and responsibilities and needs shift. Looking back at some of my recent posts to figure out that word count, I realized that this is a recurrent theme: I pack my life full of activities and obligations, all of which I enjoy and feel strongly about, but then I start to spiral into a tailspin of stress and guilt. And part of that tailspin is a false sense of being in some sort of debt: as if, having written nothing here for two months, I now need to write The Perfect Mini-Essay. which is of course an impossible task.
Continue reading Guilt, stress, and letting go