A Ghost in Cornwall
This land is my memories. For two thousand years this valley has been mine alone.
I know every rock, every stream and every tree. I know the forces that shape this land and the people who inhabit it.
A billion years ago this land was a migratory trail for the animals of Western Europe. They roamed freely across the huge land of one continent. Millennia passed as the rivers washed silt to the ocean and the sun raised rain to the sky. At that time the mass of Eurasia was joined. The tectonic plates shifted and islands formed, raising proud, green peninsulas on green water, thrust out to the ocean. Long before my time the forces of nature battled along the coasts of Western Europe. From the Southwest, the Gulf Stream warmed and opened the land with summer heat. From the north, ice raged and cracked the rock of what would become the British Isles.
The land tells me it was an epic struggle. The generous heat of earth, venting her spleen, the wash of the water, cooling and circulating air. Rain succoured the land and ran back to the sea, endless cycles, repeating endlessly. The earth shifted, chasms opened and the sea swept in, submerging areas and separating the islands of Britain and Ireland from the mainland.
Spouts of boiling lava spewed from the molten centre of earth to create granite formations, a source of wonder till the end of time. A great rift opened up what is now the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea, separating the land into distinct areas. Many characteristics still connect Brittany, Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall. Their joining can still be seen in place and people. But veins of power run through the sea, a matrix of energy criss-crosses the land and reaches out around our planet.
The Phoenicians, Egyptians and Greeks journeyed to these coasts even before the Iron Age, in search of Keltic wisdom, since long before the time of my youth. They followed the trail of gold and wisdom across the sea to Cornwall and then to Wales and Ireland. Later, tin trade followed these routes across Brittany and the journeys of wise men and saints to the west of land, the land of setting sun, of Gods and the quest for immortality that haunts us all. Ships and boats from the French and Spanish coasts often sailed to rivers on the south coast of Cornwall in search of trade and journey with the friendly and civilised Keltii, hopefully avoiding the pirates that have ravaged these coasts for millennia.
2000 years ago I was killed trying to save my mother from Portuguese raiders on the river, who stole the gold that came from Ireland. My story is located in the valley of one of these rivers, now called 'River Fowey'. It is a story that I have not been able to tell until now. My own story starts with the visit of Jesus of Nazareth to the river Fowey in 30 AD (according to the Julian Calendar and allowing for a seven year miscalculation). He was twenty three years old. He journeyed on a vision quest to the west-of-land, in search of the wisdom of the Keltii and union with his father spirit. I have spent much time thinking about this moment and my brief encounter with a man who claimed to be Son of God. For hundreds of years I puzzled at his smile, the light in his gaze. He had a quality of being rare in the extreme, an utter and unconditional compassion for all life.
Who am I? A ghost; Fintan, born 2000 years ago and caught in the matrix of nature unable to tell my story until now. I am here, waiting for you.
A Cornish ghost story, 'The Lily' available only at www.simonthescribe.co.uk/Lily.html">http://www.simonthescribe.co.uk/Lily.html
In what has become an annual rite under the Trump administration, the president's fiscal year 2020 budget proposal calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. Trump's initial budgets for both fiscal 2018 and 2019 also called for cutting the NEA, but each time the House restored funds for the organization and last year gave the NEA a $3 million increase.
According to researchers, the English language might never have enjoyed a richness of F-words had it not been for early farmers and the food processing they favored. Dairy products and other soft foods, such as gruel, porridge, soup and stews, helped shape our faces, the researchers claim, and allowed us to form the sounds "f" and "v", known as labiodental fricatives...
After skipping 2018's announcement due to scandal, the Nobel Foundation has announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded in 2019 - and that Laureates will be announced for both 2018 and 2019.
According to the press release: "During the past year, the Nobel Foundation has had a close dialogue with the Swedish Academy about the problems that arose in late 2017 and early 2018. Several important changes have been implemented since then. The Academy's regulations have been amended, making it possible for members to resign. The statutes have been clarified. Several new members have been elected. The Academy also no longer includes any members who are subject to conflict of interest or criminal investigations."
The longlist for The Women's Prize for Fiction 2019 have been announced. The winner will be declared in June.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces Melissa Broder
Milkman Anna Burns
Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People Diana Evans
Swan Song Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li
Bottled Goods Sophie van Llewyn
Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli
Praise Song for the Butterflies Bernice L. McFadden
Circe Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Across America, small theaters are canceling productions of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," citing a threat of litigation from a powerful, sharp-elbowed Broadway producer related to a contract that dates back half a century.
The theaters were planning to stage an adaptation of the novel by the playwright Christopher Sergel, which has been widely staged by adults and students for decades. Lawyers for the producer Scott Rudin, backed by the Lee estate, are telling the theaters that their productions are no longer permissible because there is a new adaptation, by the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, which opened on Broadway in December...
The Guardian has a fun article on Susan Rennie's book, Roald Dahl's Rotsome and Repulsant Words, which is worth a read for all Dahl fans, and particularly lovers of his 1982 classic, The BFG:
If a small child were to walk up to the lexicographer Susan Rennie in the street and call her a slopgroggled grobsquiffler, she would know exactly how to reply. "You squinky squiddler!" she would shout. "You piffling little swishfiggler! You troggy little twit! Don't you dare talk pigsquiffle to me, you prunty old pogswizzler!" ...
Silicon Valley billionaire, philanthropist and author Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman's charitable foundation has been announced as the new sponsor of the Booker prize, a month after the Man Group revealed it was ending its 18-year sponsorship of the prestigious award for literary fiction.
Moritz and Heyman's foundation, Crankstart, has committed to an initial five-year exclusive funding term for the Booker, with an option to renew for a further five years. It will not give its name to the award, which will revert to its old name of the Booker prize from 1 June, when the Man Group's sponsorship ends.
We are pleased to announce the publication of
The Inner Lives of Book Clubs!
This fascinating report is the first to really get to the heart of the book club experience. It's the result of two surveys of more than 5,500 people, combined with BookBrowse's more than 15 years of book club experience and research.
Its 56-pages are packed with interesting and usable information that is relevant to librarians, authors, publishers, booksellers and, of course, book clubs.
Among much else, you will discover:
- The attributes most successful book groups share.
- The demographics of public book clubs compared to private groups.
- What people want from their book club.
- The elements book clubs look for when picking books.
- The 12 most common book club challenges, and how groups resolve them.
- The link between discussion length and happiness.
- The percentage of book clubs that use library book bags.
- What people interested in a book club but not in one want from a group
- What causes people to leave book clubs.
Prolific author William E. Butterworth III, who wrote under the name W.E.B. Griffin, has died aged 89.
The writer Andrea Levy, who explored the experience of Jamaican British people in a series of novels over 20 years has died, aged 62, from cancer.
After starting to write as a hobby in her early 30s, Levy published three novels in the 1990s that brought her positive reviews and steady sales. But her fourth novel, Small Island, launched her into the literary big league, winning the 2004 Orange prize, the Whitbread book of the year and the Commonwealth Writers' prize, selling more than 1m copies around the world and inspiring a 2009 BBC adaptation.