“I'll tell you how I will go to her class and watch her dance herself into a spirit of fire. And I want to cry she is so excellent.” Quote from my favourite play, Calico, about Lucia Joyce, James Joyce’s daughter. Today I want to honour her fierce heart. She was her father’s muse but so much more than that and tragically she is a cautionary tale of a woman oppressed and unappreciated. She was his artistic match in her dancing but her artistry was stifled and that mad, passionate energy came out in ugly ways instead. She also had the greatest capacity for love, was a clairvoyant and had a vision that she and Samuel Beckett were meant to be together. Boldly, she went right up to him and told him so and she loved him with her whole heart. She was driven by her fierce and tender heart. He did not appreciate it though, messed her around and discarded her love. Some people suggest he used her to get close to her famous father. She maintained he was the love of her life but he couldn’t handle her. He was addicted to her light but he took from it selfishly and then left. Whenever I read about them I cannot fathom why he didn’t love her. She was so damn radiant. I wasn’t there, I don’t know. Her diaries and records were burned by the Joyce estate. But she lived, she danced, she loved. She reminds me that even though the world tried to shut her up, even though all that’s left of her are photos and stories, her Self was great enough to give light to me and others today. We’re human beings, not human doings, we’re not made by the things we do but by who we are, the way we love. The creation of your beautiful self.
Funny story, a year after we made My Name Is Emily, Simon and I were still talking and exploring the character we’d created in Emily. I mentioned a quote about Lucia and I cited her as one of my/Emily’s heroes. Simon said ‘oh my god you’re not going to believe me but I am obsessed with Lucia too - she was who I thought of when writing Emily.’ Lately I feel Lucia moving through me, her authenticity, her ferocity her struggle to stay light. She’s giving me strength. And I know that’s you, Simon, reminding me who I am. I see that, I miss you, thank you.