Feb 14, 2011

bitten by a small shark....Siorc beag ionsaí orm sa chuan ar maidin roimh an bricfeasta.

Mary Duffy, 1966

Over the last while, I have been learning Spanish and have discovered the benefits of a limited vocabulary.  However, true to my nature, I found myself edgy in class, bored and staring out the window. Over thirty years since I left school, and nothing much has changed. 

When I was a teeny tot and asked to repeat by rote “Éirigh mé ar maidin ar a hocht a chlog. Nigh mé mo aghaidh agus mo dhá lámh….The rote didn’t allow for me to have no arms or to stray from where I am supposed to have risen at eight o'clock in the morning, washed my face and both hands. I remember being hauled up in front of the class of 45 pupils and made to clarify my “error” when I tried to manipulate the words I had and to deny that I had washed both my hands. I got garbled and ended up saying I had a hundred hands. My limited vocabularia then either didn't allow me to change the words and make them true for me. I remember the crushing effect of being forced to deny my reality. I wasn’t let sit back down again until I had agreed I washed both my hands every morning on rising.

In my Spanish class every day I was reminded of this experience as we had to report to our teacher what we had done before coming to the class. There was a lot of “Tengo una ducha y lavarse el pelo…” I don't have a lot of hair to wash and I hate showering, and so participating in the recitation of our morning rituals made me bold, and dare I say, revengeful,  as I always wanted to be when I was five years old. For some reason, I was always  last to be asked in this class,  and there is only so many showers and hair washes …. (vocabularia was muy limitada) So, I made up stories worthy of my five year old self…. Me fue mordido por un tiburón pequeño en el puerto esta mañana antes del desayuno... I was bitten by a small shark on my leg while I had my early morning swim in the harbour....Siorc beag ionsaí orm sa chuan ar maidin roimh an bricfeasta. Oh, yes, and those of you who were schoolchildren then can correct me and say I didn't add that I "say my prayers". Somethings never do change.

La Tormenta, La Gomera

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life as an artist

I write about life as an artist and the challenges that this choice presents. I was born without arms in 1961 and this makes my painting demanding, my life stimulating and my choices complex. I like it like this.