Laughing Badger: Finding Comfort in a Competition
The Starling at KFC in Ashton. Photo: Sean Wood
I mentioned in a recent post that it is time for a competition, well now is the time, and it’s three tasks in one.
Do you know all the quotes people post on social media? The ones on what to do if you’re feeling down, if you’re feeling less than positive, or even downright shady. Well here is your chance to create one of your own and in doing so help a lot of other people.
This is the age when you can get rid of things, and men and women can admit that they are victims of depression and visits from the so called Black Dog, and I would like readers to produce some words that someone struggling with their sanity can hold onto, find resonance and hopefully some comfort in recognizing that they are not alone.
The number one task is not straightforward, and believe me, the very notion can scare even the most experienced writers.
Oh sure, journalists, poets and scribes of all kinds will have the words in their lexicon, but much like the old piano-note gag of Morcambe and Wise, the words are there but not necessarily in the right order.
I admit that I recently got angry with a friend who kept stealing and posting quotes from “other people” and berating him for not writing his own. On second thought, I was a snob and hit the back of my big horse.
Woah Trigger, I whispered to my trusty steed, realizing the task is very difficult.
So it was time to put my money where my mouth is, and this is an example of my own attempts at a few deep words. No explanation is needed or forthcoming, and multiple meanings can be drawn … From the quietest venues come the noisiest auctions.
And here is your second task, what do you understand from my quote, what does it tell you, and does it tell you something about your own life?
After writing for so long, I’m awake to everything, especially in the countryside, and there has never been a time when there wasn’t something to photograph or write about.
There is inspiration in everything on the outside and let’s face it, we are lucky in these areas. Occasionally there is a stimulus in not being able to do anything at all.
For example, I had twisted my ankle and was locked in a cabin on the Atlantic coast 50 miles west of Galway and the Heavens opened.
It rained for 12 hours, beating like the motif of my bodhran (Irish drum) on the old tin roof, and I could see the briefly sketched mountains playing hide and seek behind the jagged curtains of the Atlantic downpours. and I wrote in response; being there is enough.
And believe me, that was partly because I had boiling pig’s trotters on the griddle with cabbage and sweet potatoes, and I could easily reach for a bottle of Bushmills whiskey from my fireside chair.
In a later article, I extended this notion with the following opening sentence in a national newspaper; even in winter, fuchsia hedges bloom in gentle Connemara, and donkeys dominate the roads that last saw real snow in 1963.
Last but not least, your third task: As an example of something that tickles my imagination outside, check out this pic from the other night when I was walking Connie (short for Connemara) our 11 year old springer but looking like a puppy. . The road took us from Mossley Alto up a tree-lined slope to Bottom Mossley.
I was grateful that there were lights every hundred yards or so, and for two reasons, firstly I could see where I was going, and secondly for the wonderful colors it produced.
I was willing to walk through badgers and foxes because I know they’re nearby, and you guessed it, I kind of saw them anyway, as their lives replayed in my mind at from past encounters, and then as if by magic, a tawny owl gently adorned the whole from left to right.
Bingo, the owl reminded me of the tales of ancient Ireland when little paths or alleys like this, known as ‘boreens’, were the haunts of so called ‘little people’, banshees and elves.
I kind of still believe in all of these stories, especially the one about the Banshee knocking on your bedroom window three times. There was a tree very close to the room I stayed in at my Aunt Nancy’s cottage in County Carlow and during high winds the upper branches banged against the glass. I was lying there under the covers counting each strike and heaving a big sigh of relief when it hit four and up.
All kinds of wild animals have found their way into folklore, so maybe you could do some exciting research.
Take this about the humble but beautifully colored starling seen here, from all places, KFC to Ashton. They can take us into the changing world of artistic experience, opening what Seamus Heaney calls âa door in the darkâ. But it’s when they get together in large groups that starlings really come into their own. A whisper.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, sitting on the bus to London in the winter of 1799, captured the surreal beauty of this behavior in his notebook: shimmering and shivering, dark and gloomy, now thickening, deepening, blackening. And of course, the starling is on the same level as the owl in Celtic myth.
All you have to do now is write down what this picture reminds you of, and it can be a poem or a piece of prose, but no more than 300 hundred words. You can even combine this job with the first one and produce your âquoteâ using photography. I won’t say more.
Just for fun, all inputs for me to [email protected] by December 15th.
As a fine example of improvised lyrics from Irish wisdom, this imaginative County Kerry farmer said to me when I asked him for directions: ‘Well,’ he said, ‘it depends in which direction you go. go ? “
And then when I inquired further he said, “It’s a long road and I have a short leg!” “
The Laughing Badger Gallery & Cellar Bar Music Venue, which many of you have visited, has raised the sticks and moved into its new natural habitat at Howard Town Brewery in Old Glossop.
All the usual shenanigans including workshops, live music, and art.
Find out more here and give me a shout out.
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