Belated Merry Lughnasadh to you, and welcome to issue #20 of my quarterly newsletter, e-mailed to subscribers in August 2016.
The Longest Road in the Universe Cover Reveal!
I'm delighted to reveal the cover for my forthcoming collection The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales. The art is a piece entitled "The Ash Room" and was originally commissioned from the brilliant Nancy Farmer by Murky Depths for the title story when it was first published in Issue #7 of that magazine. The equally brilliant Kimberly Mayfield of KFX Graphic Design turned the art into a book cover, for which I'm most grateful. Even better, the collection itself will contain the other piece of art commissioned for the title story...more
I'll be at When Words Collide next week, and here's my schedule. There isn't much on it, which is just as well, since it's my first time at the con, and I'm leaving for Newfoundland shortly after I return:
1:00 (Waterton) A Dialect for Your Alien Character
Did Star Wars get it right? Yoda switches word order. Chewbacca grunts. Jar Jar Binks is unintelligible. Or are there better ways to demonstrate through dialogue that your alien characters are from out of this world?
Rhonda Parrish invited me to read my story from the C is for Chimera anthology during the Sirens launch, but it looks like the one panel I'm on conflicts with that. What a bummer!
Last summer, I participated in a great scriptwriting workshop here on the island. What follows is part of the work I did during that time, since I thought it turned out well. The first chunk of text is a true, if tragic story from my life, and the second is the vignette I wrote from that experience. I hope you enjoy it.
The Story Behind the Story
It was perhaps 3:00 a.m. on a summer night in 1998, somewhere between Toronto and Windsor on a warm, dry, mostly empty highway. I had been sleeping under a pair of quilts in the back of the station wagon while my husband drove, but now it was time to switch off, so we stopped at a rest area for the washroom and a cup of coffee.
Afterward, Sean settled...more
In recent weeks (since the Orlando shooting), I've read a great deal of frustration from people where it concerns offering thoughts and prayers to tragic situations. I understand where this frustration comes from. It's easier to 'like' a post or write a quick note of sympathy and get on with the day than it is to engage a tragic situation, so offering thoughts and prayers can seem trite to people who are suffering.
But it isn't always possible to support the people and things we care about as fully as we might want. Sometimes posting an offer of thoughts and prayers online is all we can do because of our personal circumstances. Having said that, one of the cornerstones of spiritual teaching is that we introspect first, which makes thinking and...more
On the 14th of September in 1607, Neill of Tír Eóghain, Rory Ó Donnell of Tír Chonaill and about ninety followers left Ireland for mainland Europe after several years of crushing defeat at the hands of the English. In the wake of their departure, the old Gaelic world began to collapse, and with it, the system of patronage that kept a hereditary class of Gaelic poets housed and fed. In the generation after this Flight of the Earls, the complex meters of Gaelic poetry gave way to freer, more melancholy verse as poets no longer had stable homes from which to compose. In time, this unique contribution to the world's literary craft was abandoned by its caretakers, since they simply did not have the support they needed to continue writing in the...more
Belated Merry Beltane to you, and welcome to issue #19 of my quarterly newsletter, e-mailed to subscribers in May 2016.
A Messenger Traveling Northward
In an early fifteenth-century address to a messenger given by Dubhthach Mac Eochadha entitled A theachtaire théid bhu thuaidh (O messenger who goes northwards) and recorded in the Leabhar Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, the messenger is instructed to pass on exactly what is told to him, not missing a word. This means that Dubhthach Mac Eochadha would have recited his message, and the messenger would have learned it by heart. (Literacy in Medieval Celtic Societies, 251) Such was the way of these things, that a messenger would have been required to learn the messages he carried, just as poetry was largely an oral tradition during this time, since few members of...more
"Her name is Alejandra Maria Yaotl, and she is desperate to squat here, in this ribbon of grass between armies, to defecate. But her knees do not permit squatting, and she knows the desperation is only a great, killing mass in her bowels making demands of the failing body it consumes from the inside out, a little more every day. So she walks; strands of white hair blowing about her eyes, bent spine unable to straighten, papery hand gripping the rough wooden knob of a cane. The punishing sun shines down on a spill of engine oil, a pool of chlorophyl, a gob of intestine crushed into the soil. Behind, there is a shuttle with a weeping grandson at the helm who begged her to stay home and die in peace. Ahead, there are the towering gates of a city-state that teaches its people how to...more
Aaron Pound of Dreaming About Other Worlds has offered the most comprehensive review to date of The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales. Among other things, he writes:
"At a mere eighty-two pages, this collection ends much too soon. C.S. MacCath's short stories have a raw and almost visceral feel that hones directly into the travails and triumphs of everyday life, casting light onto the ways in which those living such lives might turn to Pagan spirituality to help guide them through their days. The poems, on the other hand, display a...more
I've just received my official acceptance letter for a PhD in Folklore from the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I've been waiting to blog about this news until it was official, though I've known for about a month that the Folklore department was offering me a place in the program. And while it isn't done to publicly disclose the financial details of one's award package, I'm pleased to write that I've been offered a fellowship, for which I'm most grateful.
I'll be researching intersections and divergences between Western European 'Celtic' Paganism and traditional Celtic and Gaelic cultures. As a longtime Pagan and Gaelic learner, I've long felt tension between these two branches of the same cultural tree, and I want to look at them more closely. My supervisor has already...more
I'm seeing quite a bit of soldiering on among my writing colleagues and friends right now, and I thought I'd share this little poem with you all in solidarity. It isn't terribly polished or suitable for submission anywhere, but I wrote it in one of my own soldiering on moments this week.
Hang in there, friends.
Hush, monster. I am working.
And sit over there, if you please.
There is little enough space in this room,
and you sprawl unconscionably.
If I can sit in this corner, with my small lamp, and write
until night falls, at last, across my attic window -
and if there is music enough to drown the drone of your breath,
that might be enough, might just be enough.
I know you're hungry, and I know that you exist on one food alone,
but I've already fed you so much, and you are too fat now.
Can you not sit over there in the long shadows and lurk awhile?
I'm getting to the good part.