Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Óengus & Ibormeith

Not sure who did this, but I would like to, it's beautiful.

I made it safely over the 20k mark the other day, whilst bringing these two characters to life. Óengus is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann of Ireland, who saw a beautiful woman in his dreams: Caer Ibormeith. He and his family searched the land for her, and eventually found her chained by a lake along with a hundred other maidens, all doomed to turn into swans for one year every second Samhain. It was said that if he could choose her correctly from amongst all of those swans, she would regain her human form and they would be wed. 

I stumbled across this legend by chance, whilst looking for characters to bring to the Feast of Age. When I read it, I knew that I had to include them. Another story of swans, sharing similarities with the one that I am writing. It seems to be a common Celtic theme. There were others, but this one was the most beautiful I thought.

Óengus, or Aengus, the god of love, a little like Zeus and Leda reversed. Worth checking out The Swan Thieves for more swan-related goodness.

I am struggling at the moment. Work is currently bringing me little money and a great amount of tax-related headaches: PAYE, VAT, Reverse VAT, Withholding Tax, Community Tax - and a tax department that's about as helpful as a kick up the arse. I'm sat here with a puddle of receipts about my feet and fond memories of Bernard Black turning them into a rather smart casual jacket. Unlike Bernard Black, I've been one week off the cigarettes and coffee, and the thirty-minute workout I do in the morning will take about thirty days to recover from.

Still, I do waste an awful lot of writing time online, and now that I have online tax submissions to return I'm suddenly writing a lot more... funny that, eh?

Talking of all things Irish, it is now officially December, and I know this because I have finally played this song. Yeah, you know the one. Any Brit hears that in a pub, they know it's almost Christmas; you scumbag, you maggot. Full of bright-eyed Blighty cheer. 

Speaking of festive realism, I saw this quote tweeted the other day and had to smile:

Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea. They talk about their ‘morning ritual’ and how they ‘dress for writing’ and the cabin in Big Sur where they go to ‘be alone’—blah blah blah. No one tells the truth about writing a book. Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver... 
Most authors liken the struggle of writing to something mighty and macho, like wrestling a bear. Writing a book is nothing like that. It is a small, slow crawl to the finish line. - Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Ah, Amy, Amy. Way to kill the romance, but I can't disagree with you. I've had so much encouragement lately, I should be sailing through this next novel, yet I feel as though I've hit that point in the workout (about three minutes in) where you just want to go back to bed with a tub of cookie dough. 

Never mind. I'm sure I'll reclaim my mojo soon enough, and thankfully my freezer pickings are engagingly re-readable when the thaw of dawn sheds fresh light upon them. I am plodding slowly forward. Blessedly not as slowly as Madeline Miller.

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