Moving to Ireland has enabled me to focus on the fire again. Yes, real fire. And the inner fire. The two are very closely linked.
When you start a real fire, and get the turf burning, it sends you into a trance-like state. That is, if there aren’t any other household chores to do.
But here’s the other challenge. While I’ve moved to Ireland, I’ve also moved back to London. So I live in the beautiful borderlands of The Old Country – and I live in two worlds in my work as well. I know, it doesn’t make sense.
The fire doesn’t make sense. Why doesn’t it completely burn out?
Even two days later, I disturb the ashes and the fire is still there, glowing like a faerie heart. I pour the ashes into a bucket and put them outside in the rain. The ashes completely ignore the cold and damp, and melt through the bucket. The bucket, the weather, neither can put out the flame.
So you see, others have tried to smother the ancient burning. But it keeps coming back. As Samuel Beckett said, ‘Perhaps my best years are gone. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now’.