Saturday, May 21, 2011

When First We Met

Maybe I should back up for a minute to explain myself, just a bit.

About six years ago, I found this play called "Riders to the Sea," a short one-act written a hundred years ago by a playwright whose last name I couldn't pronounce. The play, about a family living on one of the Aran Islands in the late 1800s, consumed me. I read it over and over. I started reading about the Aran Islands. I started reading about the playwright, John Millington Synge (pronounced SING). I just started collecting information - Aran history, archaeology, mythology, Synge's plays, poetry, essays, his biography, everything. I couldn't get enough. I became obsessed with a 19th century Irish writer and some rocky islands that he wrote about.

That's how I ended up visiting Aran in November 2007 to search for the Aran that Synge described. It was freezing. And it was unlike any place I'd ever been.

I kept reading and wrote about what I'd read and what I'd experienced in that first trip. My next trip in 2010, I stayed for a month, and when I left those islands, I was a different person. Aran, in some ways, was just as Synge described. In other ways it was entirely different.

I love the similarities, and I love the differences. Aran totally fascinates me, and I love Synge's love of Aran.

I'm going back this summer to see what else I'll find.

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