Ship of Fools

I have taken on my first writing commission! Outside my usual comfort zone in terms of schedule and topic, but I am very excited about where this new stimulus and exposure could lead. I have never really applied my latent inspiration to the needs of a specific third party before. Perhaps this could provide the perfect channel for my untamed desire to write…

My brief is to write a full-length play in four weeks – first samples ready by the end of this week – surrounding themes and implications aroused in the phrase, ‘A ship of fools’.

Having been previously unfamiliar to me, being explained threw up all sorts of connections in my memory. The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, for one – a childhood fondness on VHS that I now come to question in terms of motives and message, having only enjoyed the unique, home-made looking stop-motion at its most immediate level.

I listen to songs of that title; all seeming to barely cover the imagery, emotion and raw thoughts on civilisation and morals that surely must come up when one delves into its origins deeply enough to discuss it intelligently.

What does the phrase evoke in you?

What does it mean to be a fool?

What are the positives of being a fool?

Getting to ride this amazing sky-boat?


2 thoughts on “Ship of Fools

  1. It makes me think of bedlam, and how modern understanding of mental health has really not come very far from that or from the medieval fool ships.
    Mentally ill; a separate category of people. Turning subjective assessments of behaviours and traits into objective diagnoses of difference through the magic of Science™.
    Normal and not-normal, distinct definitions; Them and Us. A protective layer of distance that defines which minds are looked on as ‘healthy’, and helpfully erases the credibility of those judged outside of the agreed parameters. Agreed by whom?
    It’s the same lie for a new age; if we set them all a-sail, and I’m not on the boat, then I am sane, and I am safe.

    I’m partial to the seduction of symbolism, and so it also makes me think of Tarot; of the Fool card. It represents each one of us as we set out on our individual journeys, unaware that we are about to walk over a cliff. We all start out in life foolish, eager and knowing nothing; our mistakes and the places where we fall teach us humility, and to be aware of the world around us.


    • Thank you for this! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply; I am rubbish at blog comments as I can’t navigate my way around the dashboard very well.
      This is all very poetic – would you be happy to look at the script as it is for me, and possibly contribute? It needs a much more interesting injection of language and thoughts to enrich it, as at the moment it is very basic.
      Thinking about this again today, my thoughts turn to my more recent ponderings on the labels we give people, and how we can never truly know what anyone else is thinking. What are they capable of? What are they showing you, and what does that factually communicate? What are your judgements of them based on? How do you ‘know’ the differences between them and yourself? How much do you see mental ‘illness’ or disabilities in yourself? If you have those, how do you know you are making accurate assessments (of yourself or others)? How and why do you deal with that?

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