I've been a little quiet in these here parts over the last few months - what with writing and voice-overing and just -ing in general.
2016 has been a strange year - a lot has happened, and not much has happened at the same time. It's a 9 year, a time of endings, if you, like me (and Kevin Barry, who, whenever I hear him talk, or read, seems to be obsessed by the symbology of the number 9), believe in such things. Much of this year for me has felt recycled, or only a brief hint of other things to come. And after 9, comes 1: endings are new beginnings and life sparks anew from the darkness.
Since winning the Irish Writers Centre Greenbean Novel Fair back in February, my short stories were published in the Open Pen Anthology and the Losslit journal, and I signed with my wonderful agent, Paul Feldstein, and that has all been lovely. You also may have seen or heard me on RTE recently - The Speech came back for round 2 and Geist was available on the player for some time also, which was lovely, too. But now, just on the other side of the winter solstice, it's time to be still, and keep the light for next year.
Last night, while observing the solstice, I sat in the dark for a time, then lit a single candle, and watched how the flame gathered the shadows around it like skirts. As the flame danced the skirt swished and gathered and pooled; and I saw then that the two, as much we try to separate them with a lower case 'v', can never be parted, for in each other they give the other life.
Like all the natural things in this part of the world, everything has drawn back into a slow resting time. The sap stays warm under ground and out of sight, and branches spread, naked and proud, free of their leaves and blossoms and fruit.
I stay in the dark under ground with them. Soon I will walk into the new year along with them also, empty-handed and expectant.
Image by Aaron Shaver.
RM Clarke is a writer and voice-over artist. She has written for various literary mags and anthologies and won awards. She has put her voice to most things she can think of.