Last week I realised I only had ONE tricolour in my collection of sketches for my upcoming book. One! I am a passionate patriot and I love my country. It was time to right the wrong! And so yesterday I went into Galway City to draw the flags that festoon Quay Street. It was a sunny spring day and there wasn’t a moment to lose: the book has been submitted for publication, and if I was going to squeeze another sketch in, I would have to be quick.
There’s nothing like pen and ink and watercolour to capture a fleeting moment. The pigeons flocking overhead were gone in a second. The seagulls that flew over the rooftops were a flash of white that came and went in an instant. The shadows, while they stuck around all morning, moved with the sun and had to be tied down at the same time.
The bottom of Quay Street is a portal into the lively atmosphere of Galway City. Can you feel it as you look up the street? It’s like that all year round, but from now on it’s hopping with life. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the Irish are party people. Oh wait…
I am listening to a motivational audiobook at the moment. I bought it thinking it was something else – I don’t go in for books with sunsets and silhouetted people looking serene on the cover – and I was going to send it back after the first chapter. Then I skipped to a later chapter and found it was actually really good, so I kept it. I listen to it wen I walk the dog every morning, and I come back full of determination to do better. It’s written by four guys who run martial arts schools in the US, and it’s very American in tone (positive in the extreme). Meanwhile, last month I received Michael Caine’s autobiography: it’s all about living your best life, to use that unfortunate expression. I thought I would share one of the things I picked up from both books.
That’s Michael Caine’s way of saying to look for the silver lining in every cloud. He talks a lot about turning bad situations into good ones. For example, when he fell and broke his ankle he used the enforced sitting-around time while it healed to write his autobiography. I like that idea. There are situations in my life that I used to see as bad. One day I decided to turn it around and look at the situations from the other direction. For example, the fact that I don’t live anywhere near a conurbation means there’s lots of unspoilt countryside nearby: it’s an endless source of inspiration. Another example: there is no place in the primary school system for me, because I am not qualified to teach young children. I use this difficulty: I teach a crowded class of children after the school day has ended, and because I design and run these classes privately, I can teach them whatever I like. This gives me great joy and fun, the kids love the classes and I get to respond to their level exactly as I see fit.
I’ve had the kernel of a plan forming in the back of my mind over a long time. Those motivational books are convincing me to push my idea further…if and when I do, you’ll know who to blame.
Watch this space!
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