Behind the scenes, and besides all the other sketches I’ve worked on, I’ve been slowly and methodically working on my sketch of William Butler Yeats. I’m not quite sure it’s finished … I may tweak it just a little more but I’m really happy with how it’s coming along… A very big thanks to Mr Modigliani for all his help with this.
A scene from Breaking Bread, Book Five in the Bucks County Novels, by Margaret Sorick. Find links to all the excerpts here.
There were more tests to be run, evidence to be gathered. My family would have to wait to lay Tanya to rest. Immediately after Jack broke the news, Brad drove me to my parents’ house. My father looked ten years older as he sat, head in hands, staring blankly at the surface of the kitchen table. My mother had taken to her bed and didn’t respond to my knock. No parent expects to outlive their child. Ma was obviously in shock.
We had so many questions, but no one had the stomach to ask them at the moment. Michael and his parents came over and joined my father at the table. They spoke in hushed tones about things of no particular consequence. Platitudes and cliches were all that anyone could muster.
I couldn’t sit still. And since there was nothing I could offer in the way of comfort, I began rearranging all the books tin the bookcase. Alphabetical by author, then by print date. Everyone reacts in their own strange way when circumstances are too terrible to comprehend. Brad sat in the room with me, with the TV on and the volume turned low.
The phones rang intermittently. My parents’ home phone, my phone, Brad’s phone —everyone calling to pay their respects, no one knowing what to say. What could you say?
Neighbors stopped in, my parents’ friends from church. Brad eventually went to collect my grandparents. They both looked a hundred years old to me. The house had a steady stream of people coming and going until close to suppertime. The church ladies brought casseroles and cakes —offering solace in the form of food.
Jack called. It seemed a pretty open and shut case as far as the who, when and how the crime had been committed. Why was the big question. Could jealousy make someone go to these lengths? My own sister? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.
We were getting ready to leave to drive my grandparents home when my mother finally made her way to the kitchen. My father stood and put an arm around her and she slumped against him. I took a tentative step towards her holding out my hands. She let me take her hand in mine and clung to my father with the other.
“Maya, you’re all I have left,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. “What have we done?”
I squeezed her hand. It was a strange thing to say, but my mother was clearly devastated. I said, “I don’t know, Ma. I really don’t.”
She started to say something else, choked up and started crying. I put my arms around both my parents and the three of us wept.
An Irish fairytale by Meg Sorick.
Once upon a time, there was a giant named Fergus. Fergus was one of three brothers, but his brothers had all gone away to find wives for themselves, leaving Fergus alone on the western coast of Ireland. For a while Fergus was happy. There was no one to tell him what to do and no one to fight with for the food, because giants eat a lot of food.
One day while Fergus was on the seashore, scooping fish out of the sea for his supper, he heard singing. It was the most lovely sound he had ever heard. He turned toward the sound, but he couldn’t see where it was coming from for the mist. There’s always a mist near the seashore in Ireland. He tried to walk toward the sound, but it was coming from across Galway Bay.
Now, Galway Bay is a big deep bay where all the ships can come into port. It would take Fergus a long time to walk all the way around Galway Bay especially in the heavy fog which made it very hard to see. And even though giants are very, very big, the ocean between the shores of Galway Bay is deep. Too deep for Fergus to walk through. And Fergus, unfortunately, had never learned to swim.
So it was that every afternoon Fergus would go to the seashore to fetch his supper and he would hear this beautiful voice singing to him from across the bay. Finally, he could stand it no more. He realized how lonely he was all by himself without his family and with no woman to love. In his desperation, he gouged out a huge boulder from the granite cliffs of the Connemara Mountains and hurled it into the bay. With a mighty splash and a huge tidal wave, the boulder settled into the bay. It was almost close enough to step to from the northern shore, but not quite.
Again he gouged another huge boulder, this one bigger than the last one and hurled into the bay. Because this one was bigger, it didn’t fly as far. Closer, but still not enough. Once more, he gouged an even bigger boulder from Connemara’s granite mountains and hurled it into the sea. This one landed closer still to the northern shore. Now Fergus had three big stepping stones to walk across Galway Bay. He didn’t hesitate. He stepped, one, two, three on the islands he had created and lastly onto the southern shore of Galway Bay. And what do you think he found there?
A beautiful lady giant. She had been singing on the seashore every afternoon while she fetched her own supper from the sea. She was as lonely as Fergus and was singing to keep herself company.
So Fergus ran right up to her and told her that he loved her. But she was afraid of him at first because she had never seen this giant before and he was fearsome and big. Much bigger than she was. So he kept her company for a while and scooped fish for her from the sea. He fetched berries from the trees and brought flowers for her to weave into her hair. Pretty soon, she fell in love with Fergus. And when Fergus saw that he had won her heart, he asked her to marry him.
Or course, she said yes. And they lived happily ever after. That’s how the Aran Islands were made. You can see them in Galway Bay down to this very day.
There is a tale from Irish mythology that tells of the formation of The Aran Islands at the hands of giants. In that tale, however, the islands are formed when two giants fight by hurling rocks at one another and they miss and land in the sea. I thought it would be fun to repost this as it was one of the very first things I posted on my blog two years ago.
Speaking in hushed tones,
About things no one cares about.
Platitudes and cliches:
“There, there, by and by”
Covering up the ugliness,
With half truths and exaggeration.
Rewriting history, erasing memory…
“Be at peace, peace be with you”
Droning voices and incense,
The rituals and traditions,
Offer the bereaved no comfort.
“Dona eis requiem. Amen”
In a box lined with silk,
And into a whitewashed grave,
We commit our “beloved”
For whom we gather here together.
But whose rottenness is more,
Than decomposing flesh,
It runs completely to the bones.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
Header Image: detail form Garden of Earthly Delights: Hieronymus Bosch; The Gates of Hell
A poem for Tanya…
I had this amazing conversation with my friend, Roger Moore, last week about how we as writers often find ourselves following the same themes as each other or even using similar language in our work without being aware of it. He explained the concept of ‘intertextuality’ and I asked if he could expand on the idea for a post. Here is the marvelous result! Enjoy!
Intertextuality is the dialog that takes place between texts or as Merriam-Webster explains it: “the complex interrelationship between a text and other texts taken as a basic to the creation or interpretation of the text.”
Often we write from an intertextual perspective when we respond to other writers and their thoughts and imagery. This is why, in the creative process, reading can be as important as writing. Reading expands our vocabulary. It reinforces some of our own opinions and challenges others. Without reading, we are lonely rocks in sunless seas.
To be creative, we need to be aware of what others are writing and how they view the world we inhabit. When we read creatively we read with an eye to improving our creativity and our structures. We look for new ideas, new images, new words, new ways of expressing our thoughts.
Often we think we are being original…
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