Some will call them Ten Streets but with me that hasn’t taken
That’s marketing talk from another place by people who can’t count
To me this is the North Docks, the gates where we came in
The generations before me who lived and dreamed round here.
Who worked the warehouses, queued at the gates and thought TB was normal
Would speak of lives in better days off out in Norris Green
And still and all I come and take these pictures on my phone
A hundred years later, like it’s mine and this is home.
Stories of what didn’t work can be as instructive in the long run as things that did. So I’m leaving this here, so others might find it one day…
For some time now I’ve been thinking of writing something on here about Coming Home. For many reasons, some of which I’ll explain, the time’s never seemed quite right. But stories need telling, otherwise how do they become stories? So here goes, the Story of Coming Home:
Whatever kind of maker you are, a maker of things, tools, songs, stories, poems or paintings, the most difficult thing to do is to get going. So many of us are full of the big even beautiful ideas, aren’t we? But how many of them ever amount to something you can show or use or put in a story, let alone live in?
I’ve been thinking about this, this getting going, as some friends and I from The Beautiful Ideas Co have been talking about what Coming Home does next. And as I’ve also been reading a novel by Colm Toíbín called ‘The South.’ I love Colm Toíbín’s writing. He’s a near contemporary and I often find valuable thoughts about life and the living of it from reading his books.
In ‘The South’ I’ve found a particularly relevant gem. It’s in his afterword, where he writes about how hard he’d had to search for the answer to how to get this, his first novel, going.
Being a story he’d wanted to move around Ireland and Catalonia, abstractedly painting their emotional and historical landscapes he talked to an Irish artist, Barrie Cooke, about how he did beginnings:
“You make a mark” he said, as he gestured the making of an almost random mark with an imaginary paint-brush.
Sometimes in our lives, if we are lucky, we get to spend some time in somewhere that’s so beautiful that when we look back at our photos only two short weeks later, we can barely believe we were ever there. Today me and Sarah want to show you Ilnaculin, a tiny island in West Cork.