You can’t schedule a story, but I’ll try anyway.

“You’re nuts” is the general thought I’ve received from helpful friends when I’ve mentioned writing 52 stories in 52 weeks. I agree with them, more now than when I began 6 weeks ago.


Part of my reason for challenging myself in this way is to prove that I can write with consistency during every phase of life. When  the kids are sick, I want to turn out a few pages of writing anyway. When I have 100 things written on a to do list, I want to prioritize so that writing always gets done.


Sitting on week 6 I see that it’s a delicate balance of holding myself to a schedule and knowing when I need elbow room so that what I send into the world in it’s first draft is a true representation of what I can do.


ie: I know that not everything will be great, but I don’t want to publicize crap.


Usually I post short stories on Sunday night or early Monday morning. I had one all set to go for today, and just as it was about to be tied with a ribbon, almost half an hour before I put it on my blog and pressed “publish,” it exploded as stories sometimes do. It wasn’t finished and it wouldn’t be capped, no matter how I pleaded with it. So much to my disappointment, week 6 will take an extra day or two.


That still counts, right?


In the meantime I’m posting a poem I wrote that fits in an unfinished short story.


When I was little I used to spend hours with my Nanny who would, with very little prompting, talk about her life growing up and her father who died when she was young. She’d talk about her mother and sister and her best friend Robin who had glasses and prettier hair than she did.


Some of my favorite stories were the ones that she’d tell of the fae. I believed in them as she did and held their mischief at arms length with saucers of milk placed on the windowsill and by never calling them anything but the ‘good folk’ out loud. Her face lit up when she wiped the dust off of old tales her father told her and she would lean close to me while her mind wandered back 60 years and walked through Irish fields or stood in the sea.


I was no older than 5 when my imagination was torn open with the words, “Daddy would always tell Vickki and I not to trample the violet beds” Nanny said, “because that’s where the good folk are.”


When I looked through books of Irish legends I hoped to find a poem or small verse that confirmed what my Nanny told me, but I never did. I’ve looked through google searches and libraries and asked anyone with any knowledge of Irish and Celtic myth, and I’ve waited for the truth to find me in its time.


I feel the breath of so many on my neck as I scratch away on paper or tap at my keyboard so I wasn’t surprised when my great grandfather Valentine and his soft Irish brogue turned up in a story I started to write about two sisters lost in a garden. In that story he spoke, and from his lips to his daughter’s ears came this poem. I’m sure it isn’t anything close to the one that he would have told my Nanny and aunt Vikki, but it will have to do until I can ask him to tell me the truth himself.


Down beside the front gate where violets rise in bloom,

little people dance and sing at the coming of the moon,


through long nights they troop and play, singing ancient tunes,

they whisper words not for human ears and tell stories of faery runes.


When dawn’s weak rays appear to signal day’s arrival 

the wee ones go where we don’t know, cloaked in magic fae survival.


But when you leave from our front door to skip to school or play,

you would be wise to mind your step at any any time of day,


for each one loves the violet beds with all their faery heart

and many days whole families stay, reluctant to depart.


You will not see them from above as you pass carefully by

but they might stand and wave a tiny hand as away they fly.

Callie Armstrong © 2014


2 Comments Add yours

  1. It does still count and this is just great. I don’t think it matters if you found something to confirm what her dad told her about the Fae. Like all stories of old, it would have been passed down by word of mouth. I think that is something we’ve lost. That magic, that not truly knowing. Children believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Clause and then someone tells them it was all a lie and all magic is lost. I believed fraggles lived under our house just like in Fraggle Rock on the TV. I want children t be children again and have an awe and wonder about what may be. If people believe in God , why not faerys? People believe in ghosts and angels but I get laughed at when I say I’m writing a story about beings who live under the ground. “But that’s not possible, that just couldn’t happen,” they mock. Oh yeah? Well you know what, It’s a story and maybe there are some children left out there who will read it and look for them and start their own mythology.

    I can’t wait to read this story of yours and I’ll look forward to seeing it soon on here
    Don’t stop believing! (As some famous song once said!)

  2. Love your honesty (“I don’t want to publicize crap”) and enjoyed the background on this sweet poem. And it reminded me of something I’d read – drove me nuts until I realized it was one of my son’s Magic Tree House books called Leprechaun in Late Winter. Not sure if you’ve read those with your littles yet? The Leprechaun one centers around stories of Irish fairies called the Shee. It tells how the Shee became tinier and tinier with the passage of time in order to hide from humans, and how the Shee are trying to keep the story of their people alive. At the end of the book, the author includes some facts about Irish fairies, including that many people in Ireland used to believe in fairies who lived inside mounds of earth. So not sure if it’s quite the same as what your Nanny told you about, and you might already know this book, but just wanted to mention it. 🙂

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