Ghosts and excuses
I’ve had a bit of a long walk in the dessert. I’ve been lying low on the promotion media front. Trying to put it in perspective.
Trying to accept the turbulence I see and sometimes engage in, on social media and wondering how art fits in as an agent for positive change.
Trying to finish things. Life can get in the way and you begin more things than you can complete.
When I express this openly , some kinder voices will say ‘It’s called introspection. The work will get done in the right time and place.”
Some others will ask "WTF have you been doing, you lazy bum, call yourself an artist ? Where’s the results? Come On!"
The little boy inside convinces himself that both voices are real. And when you hear both messages simultaneously, It can be…. paralyzing.
I took on this great project. Years in the making….. when I was 19 I wrote a song about that unheralded Irish Patriot Sir Roger Casement. I discovered that he was an extraordinary humanitarian who’s efforts saved many tens of thousands of lives in Africa and South America.
About 2012 I discovered looking at his wikipedia page that we shared the same birthday separated by exactly 100 years. So I found three biographies, his Amazon diaries and attended and performed some newly inspired songs at a conference in Tralee 2013, Ireland. This Gathering was entitled 'Roger Casement ‘A Glocal imperative’.
There, I met some of the authors of the books I had read, film makers and scholars who had worked on his legacy. It was eye opening.
Historian Kurt Bullock kindly shared Rogers poetry with me, published and un-published which he had painstakenly gleaned from Rogers remaining writings in a museum in Dublin. I felt compelled to tell his story in song using his own words. The idea of a play with music came up and I actively researched and recruited who might help me with this. There were showcases and readings, shows and musical lectures.
The plan was to release the work in 2016 to coincide with the anniversary Rogers execution for treason Aug 3rd.
Life can get in the way…… that deadline crept up quickly, came and went.
I found myself back home in Kells, County Meath in my Child-hood bedroom on the night of August 2nd 2016.
I had returned to perform at a local anniversary event marking his execution.
I read again Rogers letter to his sister Nina, he had written in the days before last.
It was filled with regret, his sorrow at knowing that he would not be there to care for her. He begged her for forgiveness for any hurt he caused her. In that moment he could not see his own nobility , his greatness, his achievements, but only his flaws and failures.
He was leaving the world at 9AM with his lofty noble goals unfulfilled, spending the night alone.
I woke up at 8.45 AM. I counted down the seconds. Felt him fall through the gallows, having breathed the same number of breaths as I,… to that point in my life.
I was in the right time right place to feel a profound sense of grief. A sense of my own death and how that might affect those that I love. What have I achieved to leave this place better than I found it?
How will I face my death? Will i look it in the eye?
His executioner later stated "Roger Casement was the bravest man it ever fell my lot to execute”.