are you somebody?-nuala o’faolain

“The most useful thing I brought out of my childhood was confidence in reading. Not long ago, I went on a weekend self-exploratory workshop, in the hope of getting a clue about how to live. One of the exercises we were given was to make a list of the ten most important events of our lives-the key moments that brought us from birth to wherever we are now. Number one was: “I was born,” and you could put whatever you liked after that. Without even thinking about it my hand wrote, at number two: “I learnt to read.” “I was born and I learnt to read” wouldn’t be a sequence that occurs to many people, I imagine. But I knew what I meant to say. Being born was something done to me, but my own life began-I began for myself-when I first made out the meaning of a sentence.” (24)

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2 thoughts on “are you somebody?-nuala o’faolain

  1. “In my real daily life, however, idealism was something quite destructive. It manifested itself as a nostalgia for, or a hankering after, something better and other-something more overwhelming-than even the best things that actually happened. I used to get formlessly depressed. I felt I was not in life, I was looking at it. I’d come back to the flat after being away somewhere. I’d push in the door against a drift of junk mail, and the place would be emptier than empty. The air would be thick. I’d push up the window, and dead brown leaves would rustle down from the lemon-geranium plant. I didn’t like thinking about the past, and I had no enthusiasm for the future.” (120)

    “People do not live in single states of mind. I’m as often happy as not. And whatever it is I am lonely for, it is not for company. I have Yeat’s “company of friends” in my head. I have imaginary companions as the girls at the Dunnes Stores checkouts or the man next door, coming out onto his step for a smoke. “Bookworm,” they used to say at school. That’s right. I’ve wormed my way into what I’ve read and no one can ever shake me out.
    Music is, however, a more dangerous element. It can surprise me, getting at me before I can stop it.” (184-5)

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