“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