Countdown to My Real Mother project

For months now I've been thinking about questions like Are we real? Is there a part of us that is more real than the rest? A kind of true self? Although I don't think there is, the questions still intrigue me.

And then I've also been thinking about familiarity and what does it mean when something is familiar to us, and even more so, what does it DO to the person, object, place we are familiar with, when we say 'I know that'.

Over Christmas I read Anam Cara, a beautiful book by John O'Donohue. He says (based on Hegel's philosophies) that familiarity is in fact one of the most subtle and pervasive forms of alienation. When we are familiar with something, we try to tame and control things which are outside of ourselves: people we know, places we live in, even our homes.

When we do this, we close the door to the often strange and marvellous Other.

In this research project I want to dive into the relationship with my mother who lives in Ireland. By creating unusual and unfamiliar meetings, we will attempt to meet each other outside of our normal mother-daughter relationship.

So, we will cross the Irish Sea by ferry together. We have only done this together once 17 years ago when I was going to university in Manchester. This time we re-map that journey onto the new terrain:  Cork-Manchester becomes Cork-Bridgend.

Travelling together along these new lines, is it possible to meet my real mother? Is it possible to move beyond the familiar façade, and to encounter the strange, and often marvellous things that we may find there?

You can follow the journey on Twitter as we go @trebreathnach and #myrealmother

You are also welcome to join us when we get to Bridgend in an informal sharing of the journey on Tuesday 11th March 3-4pm in Carnegie House, Wyndham St, Bridgend.

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