Fennells Bay Man Launches Book
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
On the Softening of Our World: 81 Sayings
This is the title of a recently published book, edited by Manfred Schewe, since 1995 resident in Fennells Bay with his wife and two daughters.
As a lecturer in UCC's Department of German he always had a special interest in aspects of cultural bridge building, including at local level: he facilitated an exchange between a Crosshaven-based indoor soccer team and a team in his home town Esterwegen, North Germany.
Over many years the teams have been able to enjoy fantastic tournaments until sadly Covid-19 put a sudden stop to these mutually beneficial intercultural encounters.
Manfred Schewe retired from UCC in 2019 but as Professor Emeritus continues to be involved in creative intercultural projects. When in the days of lockdown he came across a poem by well-known German writer Bertolt Brecht the following lines captured his special attention:
how quite soft water, by attrition
over the years will grind strong rocks away.
in other words, that hardness must lose the day.
It occurred to him that Brecht's poem could provide a useful impulse for tapping into our imaginations and he came up with the project idea "On the Softening of Our World: 81 Sayings".
Eighty-one authors from fourteen countries and different professional backgrounds have participated in this project (approx. a third of the contributors are based in Ireland, a third in Germany). It aims to make more visible, in both our private and professional lives, elements that we perceive as hard-set and rigid in our volatile world, and also make more tangible how such inhuman hardening may be overcome.
The book should be of interest to anyone with an appreciation of creative and philosophical thinking across national borders. It contains, for example, Brenda Roche's saying "This uncertain journey of life can be made lighter by focused attention on improving the quality of our relationships" or Barbara Siller's "Caring for what exists". Each of the 81 sayings is followed by the author's commentary.
This thought-provoking book might be an ideal present to give during the reflective Christmas season, as it includes contributions by authors from the Crosshaven area and features colour photographs of the Fennells Bay/Myrtleville coastline.
All 81 authors write from a perspective of personal experience, raise critical questions, and offer sensitively wrought scenarios of a more caring, more fully human world that serve to boost our courage and confidence: they suggest that yes, in many areas of life it would indeed be possible to overcome what is unhelpfully, dispiritingly hard-set!