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Day 30 - A Faerie Tale

Jul 09, 2024

Failte, reader. Welcome, or welcome back if you're a returning reader. It's Day 30! For new readers, that means we've come to the end of a 30-day commitment I made to blogging. Returning readers will know I've *ballsed up the publication dates a few times throughout the month, sometimes because I hit publish too late, sometimes because my laptop is - and I am - confused about the time zone setting. *But sure look, *it is what it is and *there's 30 posts published.

I can't tell you there's any specific theme to the writing other than Fridays, which are dedicated to Hiberno English (the English spoken in Ireland). For the past few days, I've been blending a post with Hiberno English and following it up with a poem. I'm enjoying that format. It's a bit unusual. Over the month, I've posted true stories, short stories woven from some of my experiences, poems also woven from experiences, and one or two more opinionated pieces about the disgrace that is the Irish justice system and how marketeers bullshit you into buying. 

Learnings 

Time is the greatest gift we have. On the days I've been able to make real time to release into my subconscious and just let my fingers tap, I've got lost in the stories whose words were gifted. When I say the words were gifted, I mean that I'm not sure where they come from. Yes, I'm typing them. Yes, I pause now and then to find a nice synonym or when I hit a wall mid-sentence, but however the words seem to find a way to weave together into the stories I've put down, I don't know. It's flow, pure and simple. 

I've been quite inspired to give myself permission to write, freely and unapologetically. For that inspiration, I'm very grateful. The first short story I did, back in late June, was inspired by one my favourite humans right now, the unique and endearing Blindboy, whose ability to illuminate the mind's eye using verbal imagery makes me moan with contentment. Pauline McLynn's words played a part in the inspiration too. One of my sisters and I went to see Blindboy interview her live in Vicar Street (if you haven't heard him, listen here). Their conversation about how they use their own stories in their writing made me flip my focus and give it a go. I am willing to say I feel quite proud of what I wrote - and I feel like I've only begun scratching the post on what I can write. 

To Me To You

Apart from the stark reminder of how much I adore writing, and awakening the freedom I feel when doing so, the greatest lesson I learned this month is that when I put the things I love first, I make everything else happen around them. If there is anything you may leave with after reading this post, it is that message: do what you love and the rest will get done. 

It's a fucking dirty cliché, I know! Different people have different access to different opportunities and it's not easy to do what you love. I know. It's not easy. In fact, it's damn fucking hard, especially when you come from a society that expects you to be married with 2.5 children, a good job, house, car, life insurance and investments made for the future. It's damn hard to find that trust in yourself that you'll make happen what you dare to allow yourself to dream. It's even harder to recalibrate that level of personal trust after having eroded it so finely for so many years. 

I say I've learned to go with the flow; I need to say "relearned." For most of my life, up to a point, I did whatever made my solar plexus buzz. I went with the flow. I wrote about it sometime during the month, so I won't write again. In short, I stopped while in a narcissistically abusive relationship, lost trust in myself, my journey and everyone else around me. 

Coming Full Circle

If you berate yourself for stalling when working towards your goals, this is for you. I've been writing my book, "From Head to Heart: Healing on the Camino" since the beginning of the year. It's a story about my experience walking the Camino de Santiago after leaving the relationship I was in, woven together with stories of my earlier life, to help readers understand how women like me, and so many others - and men - find themselves in the grip of narcissistic abuse. 

I've stalled twice, just stopped writing. I should have finished it by now. I've taken the summer off my podcast to dedicate time to the book. But I was stalled since I submitted the first two chapters for publication at the end of May. Until this week. 

I've been beating myself up about it, which I shouldn't have been. I firmly believe that when a project get stalled, it's because some piece of information hasn't been revealed yet, or there's something else to learn or experience before the next steps can be taken. Last night proved that right. When I submitted for publication, I changed the format of the book. I want it to read like a hike or a river weaving in and out of different estuaries as the stories unfold. 

The next part of the journey starts taking me towards trust. The friendships start to form. I start to meet the people who will ultimately become part of my heart forever, and with whom I am still in touch today. I couldn't have written that a month ago. I needed to come back to Ireland first and come full circle. For the past 3 weeks since landing, I've been in the fullest, most beautiful, joyful flow I've been in for years.

Love Flow

Flow and love are very closely correlated for me. To be able to write about recalibrating fully, coming full circle back to myself, but out of the spiral at a higher frequency, I needed to feel love again. In Ireland, my heart swells. I am surrounded by people I love, and who love me. I am surrounded by the Irish Sea, one of my first ever loves. My heart and soul are steeped in the scents of frightened flowers, the dances of delighted leaves and the wholesome hoots of wood pigeons as they flutter and fornicate. It is in love that the story of the journey back into my heart can be bred. 

30 Days More

The book must get written. I feel that truth deep within me. But I also want to write for you and for the work that I do. I've decided to do whatever I feel like, with the commitment to publish at least twice a week. This way, I don't feel constrained by the limitations of a daily duty to produce, and I can write whatever the wind blows into my brain as an idea. I'm going to publish a few days of articles about public speaking and presentation skills for your professional perusal too. As I wrote yesterday, if you are a returning reader, please send me feedback, questions and ideas. Subscribe below too, so you can get new posts directly into your email. 

An Error

There is one thing I did make a horrible mistake on during the month - a very neglectful one altogether, given my Irishness and love of all things Irish, magical and mythical. I didn't write anything about the faeries. I can hear them *nattering at me now. "You were supposed to write the story about the time we gave you a name, but you didn't!" True, I didn't, yet. I made a deal with them one night to help keep my sister's son asleep so she could get some rest. In return, I promised to write the story. They didn't hold up their end of the bargain, so I didn't feel any need to hold up mine. If the child had slept all night mind, *I'll tell you something for nothing, I'd have written that story. You don't break deals with the faeries - and you always remember if they do you a good turn, just like the man in the tale you're about to read. 

Again, this one's from my poetry writing days in Australia. Go back to the last few posts to read others. As we close on Day 30, what could have been more fitting than a little faerie tale told around fire? But just before we go, I'd better give you your Hiberno English glossary. The words and phrases you've seen throughout the post with an asterisk* are typical in Ireland, and worthy of you noting if you ever wish to try your hand at conversing with some of the locals. 

Glossary:  

  1. ballsed up: completed incorrectly. 
  2. but sure look: used to indicate that we accept what's happened, knowing there's nothing we can do about it, and that it's not the worst thing in the world.
  3. it is what it is: as above. It's done as it is and that's it.
  4. do your damndest: work as hard as possible to achieve something. 
  5. there's + plural: this comes from Gaeilge as far as I know. We use a singular 'there is' before plural nouns. There's loads wrong with it in the UK, but not in Ireland.
  6. nattering: talking. In this case, I mean they're prattling on at me. 
  7. I'll tell you something for nothing: emphatic. What I have to say is important. Pay attention. 
  8. scéal: The Irish word for 'story,' pronounced 'shkayle.'

 

 ***************

A Faerie Tale

I see it skip and dance with glee 

a little faerie child. 

Roaming free among the bush

untamed, alive and wild. 

 

The dark of night is filled with flecks 

of light so bright and bold.

While round a bonfire warm and safe 

an age-old tale is told.

 

"When I was once a nipper 

among the faerie lands I'd lie

humming softly to myself

an unlearned pixie cry.

 

Before I'd know it, there they'd be

scattered all around, 

and suddenly I'd find myself

atop their magical mound. 

 

Tales they'd tell, stories of times

that long had since gone by. 

I listened, quiet, from the back

absorbing as they rhymed.

 

They got me once when I was older

and brought me to their ring 

Then round me danced and hopped and skipped

and here's what they did sing: 

 

"Old earthly man, tell now the tale, 

make haste and us excite,

of the day you met the faeries

and how it changed your life." 

 

Well, as anyone knows who's experienced this, 

a tale I was bound to tell; 

so I sat, and spoke, and told the scéal

of the day when once I fell. 

 

My knee I split on sharp flint stone

with not help around for miles.

Fear crept through my aching bones

when from a tree there flashed a smile. 

 

Rest yourself upon that bank

and bathe your aching knee. 

Seal it with a salivad dock

then breathe deep full and free. 

 

The words I heeded, off I took

to the riverside did I go

when suddenly all around me 

erupted a resonating glow. 

Closed my eyes and breathed did I,

as deep as my lungs would let. 

Then down I looked upon my knee

to find that the cut had set. 

The pain was gone,

the light had ebbed,

fresh fragrance filled the air. 

The faeries healed me, I tell no lies. 

You'd know if you'd been there."

 

Well clap and dance and sing they did

at the tale the old man told. 

"We're glad you don't forget it

even now that you are old."

 

Forget that night he never will, 

it shook him to the core, 

and led to a life filled with laughter and love,

to the passing of faerie lore. 

 

So if sometime you find yourself

upon the lands of the Goddess Ériu

never fear if you're lost in the stillness of night

you may spy faerie folk under the moon. 

 

If you do, and decide to approach, 

heed these words of the wise, 

it is mischief and magic the wee folk possess

enter untamed, carefree and wild! 

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