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August 2007

the thorny subject of the Pater

Rain approaching from the west:

My father is a strange man. At his best, he's great, he's jovial, self-deprecating, funny and generous, but he can turn in a heartbeat to being a ranting paranoid rager. He can be like a most unpleasant and frightening child - in how you can see it is poor self-esteem and delusion and who knows what, fear, anxiety, even something that should be medicated, that is pushing him to be like this.
It's not much seen these day, that he flips, but it's lurking there under the surface. All the time. On Sunday he was driving J and I back to town when the car engine suddenly lost power on the motorway and it was decided to abandon our mission and turn for home. J and I would get out at the LUAS stop and get home that way. This was enough to make little sparks start to fly out of the father's head. Nothing too bad in itself, it just reminded me of those powerless, miserable times I spent as a child in the back of the car, or at the dinner table, listening to the anger mount, and him letting fly, me absorbing it all. And I felt sad thinking about it, even though I am an adult and able to be apart from this now, and frightened that somehow I won't be able to contain this, and will pass this on to my family, to J, to anyone. It makes it hard for me to express anger myself, to trust myself with it, to find a safe way to let it out. And it makes me ashamed when I do. I feel in a terrible bind.

I am lucky that Mr August is here to help me, the most patient and understanding person known to man.
The Anti-Da.

All is safely gathered in

Very little happening.. I am in a calm inbetween state of being. It's niiiiiiiiice. I can entertain myself with little dreams and be happy I feel better than last week.
Except that the family who look after the land for my father managed to fit in a quick cut, whisk and roll inbetween the lengthy showers.

Like so:

My father watches these goings-on as another (more normal?) person would a match on the television. He was glued to it for hours, and practically let out a shout of triumph and a punch to the air when the last round bale rolled heavily out of the baler like a huge egg being laid.
"We did it!" he cried. "All is safely gathered in."
The same royal "we" as play in the International Irish squad I presume. He looked for a moment as if he would have his own harvest festival in celebration over the dinner table, but that passed, thankfully.

My father, the armchair farmer.

placement project II

I have been having fun working on my drawings for my placement. It's so wonderfully restful doing it for myself, just sitting at my desk and drawing for hours.
Like a meditation..
Recently I have been so inspired by Blankets - Craig Thompson's book.. a total immersion into the world of the teenage Thompson's life, with all its emotional swings and drama - it's a simple story about growing up - finding his feet despite the pressure from his strict Christian parents and his first experience of love, and all that raw and excruciating emotion of being a teenager, embodied rather than illustrated in the drawings. Reminds me of the wonderful Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld in that examination of that teenage self-consciousness. Oh the agony! not even being able to walk or talk without thinking what I was giving away by it, and thinking what a fool people thought I was..

Also looking at Jimmy Corrigan now - it's harder work and less immediate but now I think I am learning to drive it, and it's a unique journey with many deadstops and 180 degree turns.