With the gift of word comes a responbility to readers and the world around you. I believe writers especially have to create art with a purpose and the responsibility of raising social awareness. The writer is socially aware and socially conscious. I think as a writer, I have a responsibility of making the reader think and being a voice for marginalized and oppressed voice- at least this is my idea of writing with activism. I think having perspective and sharing with, as Kimberley Lynne likes to say, “the distance of the metaphor.” This is key to being a writer. As a person from a large city and more importantly from the “inner city” I see multiple types of people and disparities which are often ignored in modern and (some) classic literature. These issues are overlooked and ignored and my job as a writer is to shed light and commentary on these issues. More so, supporting my community and being able to increase literacy and education in my community is also my job as a writer. People want to read things they see themselves in or can relate too. My goal is to create these things for people like me.
My impression of Belfast is a city full of rich political and artistic history. Belfast was one of the sites for the Troubles and captures a sense of what it was like. With the peace wall and the famous murals. When I think of Belfast, I think of this, the photos above. These artists made art with a purpose. These photos have a message and purpose which ties into the rich history of Belfast.
Looking at Irish Newspaper really allows me to explore culture and exploring the differences in America and Irish media.
The article that I read is about a procession that celebrated the victory of King William and battle of Boyne. It was celebrated with 15 bands from around Northern Ireland. Most importantly, the Royal Black Institution was created two years with Christian influence and ideas.
Personally, I enjoy newspapers and international news. Being able to see what is being talked about here (aside from Brexit) and it impacts culture is a part of the Armagh experience which I enjoy.
It is nice to have the opportunity to sit down with the Martin and ask him about his work.
Questions to ask Mr. Lynch:
- Would you describe your work as “controversial”? Do you use that term to describe your work?
- What inspired you to sit down and write about the “ills” or issues happening within your society? When was the point in which you said this needs to happen?
- Are themes of the Troubles present on many of your works?
Yesterday at 6:30 pm, there was a rally for the Black Lives Matter movement. Initially, there was a knot in my stomach because at times, it gets tiring screaming to the world that my life is valuable. The men who look like me are valuable. Hey are worthy… etc. It can be a tiring fight but it’s fight worth fighting. It’s a struggle worth pushing for- by any means necessary and as long as possible. As a African-American woman being abroad and living American tragedies as well as experiencing them here, I would have to say being able to be apart of the rally provided a space of acceptance of solidarity. Being apart of the Armagh project is a wonderful experience that has allowed me to think deep up about myself and other things, however I am again in the minority and unfortunately that is a constant reminder for me. The reminder that, although you’ll make friends, you’ll have fun, you’ll be the “Black” friend or the “Black girl that went to Ireland.” I drive the streets of Dublin and Armagh seeing the flags hanging, realizing my flag- not the American flag- most likely won’t ever be there. Being an American and being an African-American are very different things. In Dublin, I felt a since of solidarity and understanding that I don’t feel in America unless I am in a community with people who look like me. That is unfortunate. The rally explored issues of discrimination and race in both the USA and Ireland. One of the speaker bellowed into the microphone, “We don’t want to be like America. America can learn from Ireland.” She said this while simultaneously talking about microagressions and issues of race in Ireland. There was a poet who read a poem on a trance like state- it made me feel like I was being called or like I was in church because of the chills she sent up my spine. She talked about Black man’s blood being splattered on wet grass and is being brown a crime. Questions I ask all the time. There on speaker that reminded everyone that once upon a time, in America there was a sign saying, “No Irish. No Blacks. No Dogs.” Now it seems the signs only read, No Blacks. People can say, “that’s not true” or “you shouldn’t feel that way” but who can tell me how to feel from my experience? Others joined me but I hope on joining me, they said have better perspective of my head space and more importantly learned from this rally. Be present with Black people. Understand our, my issues. I needed this space of solidarity and I believe this is the best part of my Dublin adventure.
I would first like to admire the history and preservation of the Abbey Theater. Being apart of Dublin at this time in the remembrance of 1916. The Abbey Theater impressed me because of the detail put into the stage and staging of the play. The stage was the best because the way it was able to transition the scenes and create the environs for the characters. The actual staging of the play was different from what I expected because of strong yet touching characterization of Vera. From the beginning with Finbar and when she was shaming her body in a way to when she was captured to go to the mental hospital. The play explores the dynamic of a dysfunctional family. Although I was impressed with the scene transitions, I was a little confused at the start of the play because it wasn’t how I imagined but that is the best thing about theater- it’s open for interpretation.
Dublin is a change of pace from Armagh because Dublin reminds me a lot of home. It’s a very spacious place with tourists traps and more importantly history. The history of the place has merged with the big city feel. It is a interesting marriage but a joyous one nonetheless. Between the history and reminders of home, I would have to say the history and the food have been very impressive. Starting the day in Glendalough and ending with exploring the city on foot. It has been a pleasant first day.
The dinner scene shows the dynamics of a divided family. Many families will argue however this dinner served as a metaphor for the Ireland. The family is loyal to the personal allegiance to their opinions. Especially, Dante who is very loyal to the church and her beliefs.
While being in Armagh, I have thought a lot of culture and identity. I have had these conversations with myself before visiting the city of Armagh; however I realize there is more that resonates with me in Armagh than expected. In Baltimore and more importantly on a larger scale in the United States there are continuous growing issues regarding race and gender and orientation. The racial tension in America is so thick, it can be cut with a knife. While learning about Irish history, two things resonated with me- poverty and riots during the the troubles. Part of the Protestant/ Catholic conflict reminds me of the tension in Baltimore especially with the neighborhood boundaries and district for certain people. This is very much like Baltimire because as D. Watkins describes, there are two Baltimores- “White Baltimore” and “Black Baltimore”. Black Baltimore is different than White Baltimore- especially speaking of funding and the socioeconomic structure.
The dissonance also comes with being a minority in Armagh and having to describe the American PoC experience in Armagh via prose/poetry. It’s interesting because there a few PoC people in Armagh and with the American perspective , it seems that at times you have to be the voice of a whole people. That, however is not true. Being in Armagh has allowed me to think more of issues that I wondered about before coming to Armagh.
Vera stumbles in, rather calmly. She sits and exposes that she has a secret to tell her family. Of course, they want to hear none of it – asking her to leave. Vera says, ” there is something you all should know.” Mrs. Connelly wants to hear none of it but Maria is intrigued. “I didn’t live the life you thought I lived… I tried it once but I couldn’t come back. I wasn’t a call girl but …”
Maria want s Vera to spit it out the suspense was killing her. Maria asked Vera what is she trying to say, if not a call girl then what? Vera smiles devilishly rising. “Cigarettes…. It was always cigarettes. How else could I survive?”
Their mouths drop as Vera exits.
They are angry, cursing abs screaming after her, wondering why she’d let them think terribly of her all along.