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
Thirty years after her death, Daphne du Maurier has not run out of surprises. Undiscovered poems written some 90 years ago when the author of Rebecca was still a literary unknown have been discovered hidden inside a photograph frame.
Gene Wolfe, a towering figure in science fiction whose magnum opus The Book of the New Sun was hailed as a masterpiece by Ursula K Le Guin, has died at the age of 87.
Netflix has been on a book acquisition spree over the past year, developing screen adaptations of dozens of novels, series, short story collections, and graphic novels. About 50 of these literary properties are being turned into series projects, while the screening service has announced plans to adapt only a handful into features—a list that includes Button Man by John Wagner, I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid, Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani, and The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
The 2019 Pulitzers have been announced. The winners in the "Letters" category are:
Fiction: The Overstory by Richard Powers
Nonfiction: Amity and Prosperity by Eliza Griswold
History: Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight
Biography: The New Negro by Jeffrey C. Stewart
Poetry: Be With by Forrest Gander
The Library of Congress rejected pressure from student activists to change its subject heading "illegal aliens" to "undocumented immigrants," arguing that many do have documentation of some type and that the term is not widely used in law, but has decided to replace the former heading with two new ones: "non-citizens" and "unauthorized immigration."
The subject headings are an integral part of the world's most widely used library indexing tool, the basis for thousands of daily searches around the globe.
Mental Floss has a fun article on words that started as spelling mistakes. For example, nicknames were originally called eke names, with the verb eke used here in the sense of "to make longer" or "to provide an addition." Sometime in the 13th century, however, "an eke-name" was mistakenly interpreted as "a neke-name," and the N permanently jumped across from the indefinite article an to the verb eke.
According to a Pew Research public opinion poll 3 in 4 Americans believe that local news outlets are in good financial shape and fewer than 1 in 6 pays for local news.
"I found the survey results to be really sad and disturbing," said David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, which advocates for news organizations. "Local journalism is very much at risk, and the public just doesn't seem to realize it."
In the 1990s, 30 percent profit margins were common at regional newspapers and the chains that owned them but revenue from print advertising has declined precipitously and a new generation of news consumers never developed the daily-newspaper habit that their parents and grandparents had. Newspapers (and to a lesser extent local TV stations) were forced to cut costs and reduce employees (by 45 percent between 2008 and 2017.
But even in their shrunken state, many regional newspapers are producing important public-interest journalism. While this may seem encouraging, the ability to do so is fragile: the gutting of many local papers continues apace…
After fiercely challenging Ted Hughes's description of deaf children as "alert and simple" in a poem in his first collection, the deaf spoken-word poet Raymond Antrobus has won the Ted Hughes award for poetry.
The 33-year-old British Jamaican, who has performed at Glastonbury and also works as a teacher, has received the £5,000 prize for his debut The Perseverance. Described as "compelling" in the Guardian, the collection touches on family life, particularly the death of Antrobus's father, his diagnosis with deafness as a small child, and his biracial heritage. It has also been longlisted for this year's Folio prize.
More than 1,300 writers including Kerry Hudson, David Nicholls, Sally Rooney, Michael Rosen and Val McDermid have backed a campaign for Waterstones booksellers to be paid the living wage.
The support follows a petition from staff at Waterstones, signed by more than 6,000 people, which calls on the book chain's managing director, James Daunt, to pay booksellers a starting living wage of £9 an hour, or £10.55 for the Greater London area...
...In an open reply to Hudson, Daunt said the writers were "preach[ing] to the converted", but that the book chain could not yet afford a pay increase, two years after returning to profit. .... "If you raise the bottom level really significantly, then everybody all the way up the company has to go up, and then we go bust, which isn't very helpful ... If we were to move to a significantly higher starting rate, then we would have to take that money from our more experienced booksellers, or cut costs in another dramatic way. We're simply not profitable enough to wave the magic wand and shower gold all around."
The European parliament has approved a controversial directive introducing sweeping changes to copyright enforcement across Europe.
The European copyright directive is best known for two provisions it contains: articles 11 and 13, referred to as the "link tax" and "upload filter", respectively, by opponents.
The latter requires websites that host user-generated content to take active measures to prevent copyrighted material from being uploaded without permission, under the penalty of being held liable for their users' copyright infringement.
Article 11, the "link tax", includes new requirements aimed at making companies like Google pay licensing fees to publications such as newspapers whose work gets aggregated in services like Google News.