So….the technology gods were not willing. They didn’t even turn up.
All seemed fine at first. I got picturesque film (do we say footage?) of Sligo and surrounds, especially of the Garravogue river on its rush through the town and evening sun at Rosse’s Point, the beach where Yeats his first experience of masturbation, valiantly included in his Memoirs, so “that some young man of talent might not think, as I did, that my shame was mine alone.”
This is the side of Yeats that I prefer to the oratorial dictator of epitaphs.
My thoughts on this aspect of his character and writing were what I intended to underwrite the images, together with some quotes from his poetry and an explanation of how they had influenced the writing of A Dance in Time.
Izzy, the narrator of that novel, shared two longings with the young Willie Yeats: she had the same love of love, “passion’s passion for itself” and the same need of writing — even if she didn’t get quite the same results as the genius poet.
On paper, in preparation, it all looked like it would work.
On celluloid (well, digital playback), it looked – and sounded – like amateur pottage.
I cut and I pasted, I replayed and I reshot, I added and I subtracted but no matter what way I fiddled with it, all I had was a mess.
Not the kind of mess that every thoughtful piece of work has to go through before it comes together. (See Eight Stages of The Writing Process).
And with about as much soul in it as a tourist commercial.
The worst of it is: all that fumbling about with the camera meant I was only half there, half the time. If I’d gone there to write, I would have been immersed in the place and the experience.
So no more cameras for me. Just words.
Here are some good ones, from the great poet: “The wandering earth herself may be/Only a sudden flaming word,/In clanging space a moment heard,/Troubling the endless reverie.”
Or, more simply: “Words alone are certain good.”
Didn’t I already know that?