Please enjoy these blogposts, written between 2011 and 2015. Another blog is on the way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ireland, Part 1: The Cliffs of Moher and Last Comments on Wales

Southern end of the Cliffs of Moher

I’m in Ireland now for ten days at a retreat house located up the hill from the Cliffs of Moher. I’d describe the area to my West Coast friends as the Mendocino beach stretched out, minus the fancy B&Bs and restaurants. The sea is generally gray-green in the distance (rather than the blue in the photo above), and the slow slope uphill from the cliffs is dotted with cows and modest, stucco'ed homes painted pale colors. It’s usually cloudy, sometimes foggy, but occasional sun breaks through and lights up the houses. Narrow roads lead up to where I am staying, among women, making new friends. We’re on a secret mission here.

My face is healing fast, and I’ve just had a massage. I’m drinking lots of water and eating vegetarian food. I’m very well. (Special note to my daughter: I’m really very well.)

I want to share a bit more of what I learned from my classmates in Wales about tackling climate change in writing. Tackling is not the right word. (It is in fact a sports metaphor, God help me.) I’d say now including or, a bit more precisely, being transparent to climate change.

Below are some of the approaches my classmates and our instructor in fiction, Jay Griffiths, are taking or have taken in their writing. I’m hinting here at possibilities, being careful, I hope, not to give away any of the magic.

An imaginary landscape in which survivors face dire need, but their problems are quite different from those we are likely to encounter in the future.

A group of people trying to figure out how to live differently. Their histories and character flaws have everything to do with how they approach this challenge.

The last days of ease as related by a character who didn’t really believe these last days would come—sort of “The Death of Ivan Illyich” where death is general as well as personal.

Jay Griffiths’ A Love Letter from a Stray Moon (2014), in which the earth is seen from a point of view that is a unique melding of the imagined minds of Frida Kahlo and the moon.

A letter addressed from the future to a friend or relative living in the past, before massive change began to take place.

A big thank you to the kind and brilliant people I met in Wales.