A few thoughts on making and using the Guide…
“Again the universe of actualized event-experiences (reality) does not take place simply here. It takes place there as well. It is spread out – that is, in space. Nor does it take place simply now. It transends now as well as here and is therefore in time as well as spatial.” – B.A.G. Fuller writing on A.N. Whitehead in A History of Philosopy (1945)
Using the Guide could be a bit like walking along the street while concentrating on using the internet on a mobile device and each time you come to the end of a footpath and need to cross the street you have to glance up, briefly re-entering the real world. It could be just replying upon and trusting one more subjective guide (such as yourself, friends and family, the news, religion, weather forecast, history) which you can soon come to realize often bear little relation to the reality they purport to show. It might also be an invitation to re-examine and re-imagine the world for yourself again. It could also be none of these things or more.
It could be argued that W.B. Yeats was the most successful Irish artist at transforming how a county (Sligo) and its landscapes are viewed and interpreted to this day by locals and visitors alike. Co. Leitrim has its writers and artists too who bring the poetic truths and the possible of their environment to bear on the public’s imagination of that place and through some mysterious and gradual alchemy this can become how a place is viewed. The Guide is influenced by many of these previous sculptors of the imagination of place and carries on in this tradition.
While I never set out to convince people of any of these stories, I find it a very positive thing that so many believe these things could happen in Leitrim (a sign I succeeded in finding some poetic truths perhaps). I like how Leitrim is not so ridgidly set in people’s imaginations (if they have any preconceptions about it at all), unlike a more well known place such as Dublin for example, this leaves it free to be anything or just itself.
While doing the Guide I came across brochures and advertising for houses and estates yet to be built at one of the ghost estates I visited. These idealised computer generated images (complete with families that would never be) could be seen as precursors to the Guide. They and the times they came from promised a convinicing but untrue reality so many wanted to believe in.
“Of all the forms of mental activity, the most difficult to induce even in the minds of the young, who may be presumed not to have lost their flexibility, is the art of handling the same bundle of data as before, but placing them in a new system of relations with one another by giving them a different framework, all of which virtually means putting on a different kind of thinking-cap for the moment. It is easy to teach anybody a new fact about Richelieu, but it needs light from heaven to enable a teacher to break the old framework in which the student has been accustomed to seeing his Richelieu.” – Arthur Koestler The Act of Creation
Leitrim, like the world, can be shaped by imagination.