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
The National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of its 2017 awards tonight:
Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (Graywolf)
Carina Chocano, You Play The Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages (Mariner)
Xiaolu Guo, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China (Grove)
Caroline Fraser, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Metropolitan Books)
Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Simon & Schuster)
Joan Silber, Improvement (Counterpoint)
The John Leonard Prize:
Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf)
The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing:
The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award:
About three-quarters (74%) of Americans have read a book in the past 12 months in any format, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since 2012, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January. Print books remain the most popular format for reading, with 67% of Americans having read a print book in the past year.
And while shares of print and e-book readers are similar to those from a survey conducted in 2016, there has been a modest but statistically significant increase in the share of Americans who read audiobooks, from 14% to 18%.
Overall, Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months. Each of these figures is largely unchanged since 2011, when the Center first began conducting the surveys of Americans' book reading habits.
Netflix will begin streaming the movie adaptation of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society in North America, Latin America, Italy, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia on April 20. Studiocanal will release the film in the U.K. on the same day, followed by Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany.
Accused by at least 10 women of sexual harassment, author Sherman Alexie has decided not to accept the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction that he won for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir (Little, Brown). His publisher has also delayed the release of the paperback edition.
The Guardian reports on the quandary facing romance authors--in the wake of #MeToo and Time's Up, how 'bad' should the bad boy be?
Introducing what will be an ongoing project, The New York Times writes, "Since 1851, obituaries in the New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now we're adding the stories of 15 remarkable women."
The obituaries published today include Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Bronte and Qui Jin (a feminist poet and revolutionary who became a martyr known as China's 'Joan of Arc.')
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington will star in and executive produce the TV series Little Fires Everywhere, based on Celeste Ng's book.
Three women have gone on the record with NPR's All Things Considered--and at least seven others have spoken off the record with the show--about author Sherman Alexie's abusive treatment of them, confirming the anonymous and somewhat vague allegations that have been made recently online.
New York Times critics chose 15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century...
Although many movies based on books were nominated for Oscars this year, only three won with a total of five awards between them:
Darkest Hour, based on the book Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink by Anthony McCarten: Two wins: Best Actor (Gary Oldman) and Best Makeup & Hairstyling.
Call Me by Your Name, adapted from André Aciman's novel: Best Writing Adapted Screenplay (James Ivory).
Blade Runner 2049, based on characters from the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick: Two wins: Best Cinematography & Best Visual Effects.