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
Andrew Sean Greer's novel Less and James Forman Jr.'s book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America are among the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners, each of whom receives $15,000.
Pulitzer-watchers see Less as a surprise win given that it was not prominent on other award nomination and "best of year" lists.
Three judges for the Nobel literature prize have resigned. Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund released statements or letters Friday to Swedish media but gave few details. Englund wrote in a letter to the tabloid Aftonbladet that his decision was linked to the Swedish academy's decision late last year to cut ties with the head of a Stockholm cultural center who was accused of sexual misconduct. The academy asked a law firm to investigate what influence the man, whom it did not name, had on the academy.
UK bookstore chain Waterstones will likely be sold to hedge fund Elliott Advisors by the end of April, the end of the store's fiscal year, according to the Bookseller, which cited "a source with knowledge of the situation." Neither Waterstones nor Elliott Advisors has commented on the report.
Elliott Advisors is the U.K. arm of Elliott Management Corp., the investment management firm headed by Paul Singer, known for an interest in companies with heavy debt, for his financial support of the Republican Party and for his support of LGBTQ rights. Elliott Advisors is run by Singer's son Gordon Singer.
A new report from the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and Civic Economics reveals the continuing and increasing loss of jobs and essential state and municipal revenue as a result of the growing retail dominance of Amazon.com. The report documents both Amazon's sales and, for the first time, the explosive growth of sales through its third-party Marketplace from 2014 to 2016. And the report makes clear that Amazon's sales tax avoidance strategy has continued despite well-publicized agreements with American states.
Joan Silber has won the PEN/Faulkner Award for her novel Improvement (which won the NBCC Award last month.)
All five finalists (Silber, Hernán Díaz, Samantha Hunt, Achy Obejas and Jesmyn Ward) will read from their work at the ceremony on May 5 at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. Silber will receive $15,000; the other finalists will each receive $5,000.
When U.S. booksellers celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on April 28, their neighbors to the north will be taking part in Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, a "new look" version of Authors for Indies Day, which was launched in 2015 and had announced last fall that significant changes were in the works. Beginning this year, the Retail Council of Canada has adopted the project and renamed it Canadian Independent Bookstore Day.
The winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards for "literature that confronts racism and examines diversity" are:
Fiction: Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
Nonfiction: Bunk, by Kevin Young
Poetry: In the Language of My Captor, by Shane McCrae
Lifetime Achievement: N. Scott Momaday
Anita Shreve, author of 20 books including The Pilot's Wife and The Weight of Water, died of cancer Thursday at home in southern New Hampshire, she was 71. She had announced her illness almost a year ago,writing on Facebook: "This is a hard post to write. I have so been looking forward to going on book tour for my new novel, The Stars are Fire, and had hoped to meet many of you on my travels."
Jacqueline Woodson, author of 30 books including the National Book Prize winner Brown Girl Dreaming (a memoir of her childhood written in verse) has won The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest prize for children's writing. She will receive five million Swedish krona ($600,000) at a ceremony on 28 May in Stockholm.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has appointed Tracy K. Smith to serve a second term as the nation's 22nd poet laureate. During her second year, Smith plans to expand her outreach efforts to rural communities and unveil a new anthology to be published in the fall.