Happy Day after the Ides of March! “Et tu, Brute?” and all that. Next on our March docket: St. Patrick’s Day!
Now, I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in me–one hundred percent German ancestry here (yes, Gramma, I know Luxembourg isn’t Germany, but it was part of the Prussian clan back when our forebears were there)–but I can dream. I don’t know what it is about Ireland and the Irish that fascinates me, but I get one day a year when no one will question me if I claim some Irish heritage. Ireland is on my bucket list. I had an opportunity to participate in a school-sponsored tour of Ireland next year, but since I haven’t been offered that five-figure advance ;-), and my son will be starting his freshman year at college, I had to bow out. Rats.
I’ve run into a lot of people who are enamored with Ireland. Why is that? Is it because of the wonderful green landscapes? The history? The myth? The accent? U2? The music? The dance? I’ll venture to say most if not all of the above. March 17th is our opportunity to celebrate it all.
I don’t know as I’d peg the Irish as particularly lucky. No, really. Look at the history. Invasion after invasion: the Picts, the Milesians, the Celts, the Vikings, the Normans (no, not from Cheers), the Gaels, and others, I’m sure. Then there’s the whole Catholic-Protestant thing that lasted way longer than it should have, along with the Republic of Ireland vs. the United Kingdom thing. The Potato Famine wasn’t exactly a luck-inspiring affair, and neither was the treatment of the Irish when they first arrived in America. And we all remember where the Titanic was built, right?
So where is that famed Irish luck? In a pint of Guinness? Maybe in Waterford. How about on the Hill of Tara or in the mythic traditions? Maybe that’s why we want to claim some small piece of Ireland. It’s the home of the lucky four-leafed clover, pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, and tiny men dressed in green that give us “magically delicious” cereal (okay, maybe not that last one). There’s something different about Irish myth compared to typical Greek and Roman myth, or even Egyptian or Norse mythology. The Irish can claim stories that include Cuchulainn, Fionn mac Cumhaill, banshee, selkies, Brigid (or St. Brigid, as the Church transformed her), and any number of wars between the Fae and, well, lots of others.
Ireland is loaded with historical and mythic traditions that inspire creativity. I know it inspires mine. What part of the world inspires you? Is there a particular place that is a muse to you? Maybe Iceland. Norway or Sweden? Oh, New Zealand? Hawaii? Japan? Do you use that place as general inspiration, or do you place your stories in that locale? I’ve done both.
Anyway, Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Éire go Brách!
For those who were wondering how my pet story turned out (see the Pet Story post), we will have to amputate the lab’s leg between the shoulder and the elbow (if they amputated between the elbow and the wrist, the dog would have a greater tendency to try to use it). The vascular and nerve damage is too extensive. Even now, we can tell gangrene has set in. At least she’s alive, and my teenage daughter is okay with the lab losing a leg. Whew!