Today we remember my 'adopted' irish grandmother pauline curran, who passed away 4 years ago. i wrote about how she (re)defined my sense of belonging and roots for the newly launched @libraryofchange - a beautiful space of cultural celebration & inspiration through words, created by @longstream and @sholehj - read more here: https://www.libraryofchange.co.uk/single-post/2017/06/10/roots
below is an extract from the eulogy i had the privilege of reading at her funeral:
much has been said about grandma’s celebratory spirit; it’s most beautiful and constant manifestation was that she loved – and celebrated – the people she held dear.
i feel blessed to have been one of those people, and i’d like to take a moment to reflect on what grandma meant to my parents, my siblings, and i.
simone weil wrote that, “to be rooted is perhaps the most important and the least recognised need of the human soul.” by including us among her own, she gave us a sense of belonging. that an iranian family unit somehow finds that it has roots in ireland is certainly quite unusual. it is also the most defining reality of our lives.
i have always described my ‘irish grandma’ as a woman of great class. she was a beautiful lady, but her style lay most of all in her human warmth and generosity. she remembered everything, she paid attention to details – like making note of the weather on your holiday destination. and she valued everyone. grandma’s home was one where you were always made to feel welcome.
one of the things i loved the most about grandma was how fierce her hugs were. so tight, so meaningful. she could be disarmingly sharp in her observations, but she was unflinchingly loyal. you knew that she was your champion.
we have a saying in persian, when loved ones are absent in a gathering that translates as: their place is empty. what it means is that though their place is empty, they aren’t forgotten.
grandma, we gather today to remember you, and in many ways, every time we gather together will be in your memory.
I’ve been asked to write for the library of change and this had me thinking today about what inspires me? a lot of literature has informed and dared me to think of life as an artist and writer to come to things from a different perspective. artists and writers live in a million alternative worlds and occasionally i manage to share these with the reader or viewer. so to capture a few things that have inspired me and for which i am so grateful: (monthly subscription of) oh comely magazine, granta and specifically doris lessing on “the roads in london” in this granta edition, carol ann duffy’s poetry and peter kneebone a self taught artist who’s still fresh and funny today. #inspiration#peterkneebone#carolannduffy#dorislessing#london#granta#ohcomely#inthestudio#libraryofchange
'this sense of empowerment through knowledge is one that i now realise defines the success of any work that involves change. to know about the big picture problems is not enough; we have to understand the mindsets that underpin them in order to see what is preventing change, and shift it. ultimately, the book beautifully encapsulates the challenge that climate change posed to me - that to change the systems that we have enabled through our culture, values, choices and behaviours, we ultimately have to know and change ourselves.' .