Athchasadh

This entry constitutes a bit of a departure from my usual practice on this blog. Over the last few weeks I’ve been wrestling with issues of perseverance and commitment, so to try and keep myself on track and simultaneously move forward with some of the things that have developed since the Solstice I am composing this blog as an active essay or meditation in order to organize my thoughts. Perhaps by writing here I will force what have been half-thoughts and suspicions out into the light of full awareness. We shall find out …

I am at a place right now where my previous pursuits are no longer tenable in and of themselves. This is to say that I am fairly done with academia. I desire something more creative, tangible and productive. I want to affect people and contribute to the quality of life, but more to the point I yearn to finally stop living within the limits of my assumptions.

When I was an art student my first time in college, I was told to make a chair out of cardboard for an assignment. I proceeded to make a model of a burton-esque chair replete with giant mouths and gothic curls (in the modern sense and not the medieval French Style). A professional artist was visiting and liked what I was doing. She asked about it, and I said that if I were to ‘do it right’ that I would collect massive amounts of cardboard and make the chair large enough to sit in. She said ‘why not do it?’ I had no response and mumbled something about time and resources. She again said ‘why not do it?’ Suddenly the scales were lifted from my eyes and I saw that real art, the stuff that pushes boundaries and magnifies life, ennobling our Wal-Marted existence was the drive and resourcefulness to get such works of vision done. I understood the theory but never applied it. Now, I want to apply it.

To do so, however, to challenge myself to the extreme of my abilities and live utterly on the edge of my own self, bare to existence and reality, means some pretty robust changes, namely committing to a much more aggressive style of living. Most importantly it means tossing conventional wisdom and all sense of security completely out of the window.

The first thing to do is to commit to my fluency in Irish. For the last year and some I have been completely committed to Scottish Gaelic, but the events of the last year with my resignation from Orkney College disrupted that along with my entire perception of Scotland. A new perception begins to coalesce in my awareness now in which my supervisor’s words ‘Scots Gaelic! It’s just incorrect Irish,’ holds new meaning. While my view is less vehement than her own, I begin to see now how Gaelic culture in Scotland was always an extension of a cultural continuum across the Irish Sea. The modern political association of these languages to various nationalist interests is not only a recent development but tangential to the reality of the language itself. In my view, Scottish Gaelic is just an extended dialect, a sister to the southern, western and northern dialects. I do not know what Irish I speak yet, but it is time to put up and shut up – at least so far as an Bérla Sáxain is concerned.

The second thing is to fully develop what I want to do with the language. (The words ‘empire’ and ‘media’ come to mind, not necessarily in that order, but this is a subject for another time.) Books, films, animation and particularly games are my primary interests: in fact, anything that acts as a cultural moment, further spreading the prevalence and popularity of the language. I know that I have much to offer in this regard, but – as I said above – I need to step up and just get immersed in the language. This vision means researching and really getting a myriad of skills and competencies that will enable me to assemble a team and the resources to make them productive. I guess that my vision is a kind of combination of Disney and Yeats, but Gaelic style. I will need a way of coalescing this so I can show it to others and share the vision, but how this is to play out is still something I need to figure out.

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