Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Nuala O'Faolain

Achill Island, Ireland, May 2017

I heard the most moving interview with the Irish journalist Nuala O'Faolain after a sudden, terminal diagnosis.  It's a few years old but that doesn't matter, its desperate and poignant and stunning.  She offers listeners no comfort, its just the brutal sadness and searching of someone not ready to leave her life before.  I have listened three times.

This is the first half, if you click here you can hear more..

I liked it so much I got her book 'Are You Somebody?' out of the library.  Apparently it was a huge bestseller so maybe I'm the only one who missed out but it was published 20 years ago so maybe not. There are many passages I marked and felt so keenly but here are my two tops:

"My life burned inside me.  Even such as it was it was the only record of me, and it was my only creation, and something in me would not accept that it was insignificant."

"The place I was leaving had from beginning to end contained feelings so vehement, however silly they were, that even now it is hard to believe they don't live, still, somewhere else as well as in my memory."

Her vulnerability is palpable now, in nearly 2019, risky, as a woman.  So I'm sure it was scandalous at that time.  What courage she carried through life.  At one point in the interview she said she feels so devastated that all her knowledge, stupid and serious alike, will be lost when she dies.  That thought worries me too.  I'm so thankful for books and paintings that can carry some small pieces forward.  


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