My “Great Address To The People of America” scheduled for February is now back on track. The SDLP Conference and blogging diverted me away from this for two weeks.
All of a sudden I have woken up realising that 73 days is not such a long time after all. There are various family occasions ……a new grandchild hopefully around Christmas being the major one.
I was in Belfast today and got some more material from “Healing Thru Remembering”.
In some ways the stuff I am writing now is “The Book Wot I Never Wrote” (as Ernie Wise might have put it). In 2008/9 I wrote an overlong (with the permission of the Supervising Tutor) dissertation on Politics which covered a normally too long (again I had permission) period of time. It centred on things drawn from my own life experiences.
The idea was that it would form the nucleus of a “book”……not a published one….but rather a legacy for my sons. It is a strange thing that (say) fifteen years ago we often passed Andersonstown and/or Springfield Road RUC Stations and I would often (too often) say “I was arrested and taken here on…..” and with one voice they would say “we know we know…….you tell us that every time we pass it”. But now in 2012 ….my sons are quite interested.
So while the dissertation provides a kinda academic analysis…..the Great Address To The People of America……provides a combination that is both academic/personal. And perhaps further down the line the “book” will be completed with the personal and the family.
My American history friend has asked me about books that she should ask the College Library to order. I can really think of nothing better than the “Lost Lives” book (David McKittrick & others).
I intend to refer to a cross section of people who were known to me. And I think I need to refer to that arc of events ………….Internment/Ballymurphy Massacre (August 1971), McGurks Bar (December 1971), Bloody Sunday (January 1972), Bloody Friday (June 1972) & Claudy Bomb (July 1972)…..a roller coaster of trauma and emotion which shaped me and how I think. Before Internment there was a vague Phoney War……and of course a lot happened after Claudy, including having a gun shoved into my mouth (November 1974).
It is all a bit “The Troubles According To My Da'” (Martin Lynch’s play). That is inevitable and my friend in USA will have to edit my text quite a lot……..but what is left on the cutting room floor so to speak will still be crucial to the finished product…………for my sons.
So in “Healing Thru Remembering” today. I am not of course totally convinced ……and those of you who read this blog often will be aware of the reasons…….but I need to “up my game” here. It is now not enough to simply dismiss Conflict Resolution with pithy one-liners.
It is also likely that I will weave some anecdotes into the Great Address to The People of America. There is this near inevitability that when any 60 year old man who has lived thru the Troubles starts talking about Ballymurphy, McGurks etc……….that before too long there will be some humourous references> Does that actually undermine the seriousness? No…….
I think I have learned that Civil War is actually an extraordinary event…..in which extremely ordinary people get involved.