The September and third ‘gathering’ of the WORDS Writers’ Group at the The Art Hand took place last night. The sun was setting as I drove along the Copper Coast towards that intimate space in The Art Hand which is becoming more and more familiar.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for the minute’s silence which was held to mark the death of Seamus Heaney. Lights switched off and all our gazes gathered on a simple candle in the middle of the table. To experience such shared love and respect brought a well of tears to my eyes but a stronger feeling than ever that Seamus Heaney’s life and work will always be held precious.
It felt last night that the ‘performing’ aspect of WORDS has changed from being a nerve-wrecking experience to a well-thought out and unselfconscious presentation of words and genres that matter hugely to each individual.
That twenty-two people could bring such a diverse range of material, contexts and emotions was breath-taking. Memoir of ballet classes in the 1980s, neighbours in the 1950s, poetry of love and rejection, a beautiful reading of Seamus Heaney’s ‘Harvest Bow,’ a folk tale from Co. Kilkenny, reflections on tall ships and emigration, a mouth-watering piece on our relationship to chocolate, spoken song lyrics that brought Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen to mind, a lighthearted monologue on ‘talking.’
I would just love to know what’s going through the minds, hearts and imaginations of my twenty-one ‘co-brethern of the quill’ this morning!