From my Detroit photoset on Flickr, in case you thought either I or this blog was dead.
I’m not dead. It’s not dead. Everything is OK. All my creative writing muscles have been working on another task for the last seventeen months. But I am on the cusp of emerging from one stressful chapter and setting about the next. The examination copy of my doctoral thesis has been emailed to the printers, and will be ready for submission on Monday morning. After that, I hope to be examined in the next few months.
New adventures to come.
This is a photograph of the grave of Felix Guattari, the French philosopher and psychoanalyst (1930 – 1992). He’s buried in the Cimetiere Pere Lachaise in eastern Paris. A few moments before chancing upon his grave, while sitting on a park bench admiring the autumn colours, we were approached by a rather crass American girl who demanded whether a) we spoke English and b) we knew where Chopin was. We did speak English (nonetheless assuming the reluctance of a Parisian when asked that question in English) but we did not know where Chopin was. She strode off, barely stopping for breath, beckoning on a more reluctant group of grave hunters.
We mused about the tendencies of human beings to take pleasure in collecting things (stamps, train numbers, gravestones) and scoffed a little bit to make ourselves feel superior. Then we stumbled across Guattari’s modest grave and we melted into idiotic philosophy fandom. So in addition to the photograph of the grave, here’s a photograph of me taking a photograph of the grave. Analyse that, cochons.
I was in Dublin last week for the first events of the annual Open House weekend. I met a friend in town to see the opening debate (a snooze fest from which we escaped early) before he kindly gave me a lift part of the way back to Belfast. I asked him, based on his knowledge of Dublin and of me, which neighbourhood in the city he could see me living in. I don’t know whether this reflects more on me or more on Dublin, but he suggested the Liberties.
I generally wait ages for a trip to Dublin, and then two come along at once. So I’m back again this week, doing some research in Dublin (today and Friday) and Waterford (Thursday). With an hour or two spare, I took a tram towards Heuston and the Museum of Modern Art. Heading back to town, I diverted through the inner city Liberties to have a look around.
It’s only looking back at this photograph an hour or two later that I realise just how green the grass would seem to be on this side of the border.
However, just to re-assure everyone who might be surprised at the thought (including my family, my girlfriend, my supervisor) – I’m not moving to Dublin. It’s just a handy way to ask someone who knows you and a city that’s unfamiliar to you where your characters might overlap. It was on that visit last week I realised that I’ve been to Paris more times than Dublin. Being so close to this city, that’s something of an embarrassment. So I’ve made some allowances in my schedule to rediscover my flâneur-ish behaviour in a city that’s shamefully quite unknown to me. I’ll be uploading some more photographs from my trip in the coming days on Flickr.
Edit: More pics from my walk around the Liberties here.