So what am I doing? Adding my voice to theirs, I guess. The last ten years have been some roller coaster for me, and I've learned a shed load of cool stuff that I get to write about now. I probably shouldn't keep wasting so much of it on Facebook and Twitter, right? Not that I'm giving up the social media stuff, oh no, that'd be sensible and productive and a bit shit - so, no. But this Blog Column thingy has been brewing for a while, and I've learned not to ignore that kind of stubborn 'refusing to budge' creative idea.
And, girls and boys, Ireland is changing. She's changing for the better in some ways, and for the worse, in so many more. She needs our help.
Wait, what now? Yes, I did just anthropomorphise a bloody big landmass. From sovereign Goddesses to Cathleen Ní Houlihan, it's what we do. Ireland is a Lady, so get used to it. And, the slightly awkward thing to talk about in polite company, is that I believe she speaks to me. Not in a disembodied voice in the corner of my bedroom kinda way, coz that'd be creepy. But through the connection I've made - unconsciously through my childhood, and consciously from my teens to today, in my not-so-teens. (Ok, ok, so my eldest KIDS are coming into their teens by now; there, I admit it!) She 'speaks' to me through that connection; through her old stories, through the archaeological monuments and sacred sites I work with, through my observations of her people - the living breathing embodiment of her spirit. We are Ireland, and we're in trouble.
We're at something of a crossroads right now. We have the banking crisis (all the crises, really), austerity measures and increasing European control, emigration in droves, suicide, rape, child abuse and neglect, a Church desperately clinging to control, lack of health care, a struggling education system, abortion legislation, driving media pressure, obesity, and a generation (or two) who've been cut off from all that used to keep our communities strong. And all of these things are linked, and all have a similar cause, at root and stem - a fundamental lack of connection.
Where do we go from here? Ireland herself has something to say on all this, and maybe that'll unfold as we go on, through me and through others, as she's a bit reticent sometimes, and a bit sullen after we've effectively ignored her for so long.
I'm not saying now, that everything on this blog will be profound and spiritual and angled towards massive social change. Coz, I'm just looking at the next few posts I have lined up, and there's a review of Cartoon Saloon, a post on privilege that I've tried (and probably failed) not to make too ranty, a small piece on the Vinegar Hill historical site, and a wee Celticy story. I'm researching a magazine feature on the 'Abortion War' too, so that'll probably come into it, especially with the current legislation debate happening and anti-choice folk being all weird and increasingly rude. This is a snapshot in time (hence the post title, clever aren't I?) - who knows where Ireland will be in ten years, or even two.
But the random shifts that my brain will take over the course of this blog column thingy, and the stuff I'll be poked to write about by Herself (that'd be Ireland, like), might be of interest to ye, and might help some of us to re-connect. To each other, and to Ireland. And sure, we might even have a bit o craic along the way too.
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