Happy Beltane/May Day! Summer is a-comin' in! In Ireland, this day is the beginning of the "lighted half" of the year when the sun begins to set later in the evening and the hawthorn blossoms. Beltane was celebrated in Celtic times with the lighting of bonfires to banish the long nights of winter and to mark the coming of summer and fertility. The name originates from the Celtic god, Bel (the "bright one"), and the Gaelic word teine ("fire"), giving the name bealttainn, meaning "right fire." The hawthorn blossom was worn as it was believed to be a potent magical plant, and it is still considered unlucky to bring the blossom inside the house at any time except May Eve (30 April).
When Christianity came to Ireland, the month of May became the Virgin Mary's month and May Day her celebration day, taking such forms as works of art and school skits in which her head is adorned with flowers. Another popular remembrance of the day is the giving of "May baskets," small baskets of flowers and/or sweets, usually left anonymously on neighbours' doorsteps.
In honour of the day that's in it, I hope that you find this issue of The Anam Cara Cascade to be a basket of "useful things" left on your doorstep and that you will follow and contribute to the Anam Cara blog at http://anamcarawritersandartistsretreat.blogspot.com as well as send along work that you would like to have included in this bi-monthly newsletter. You can reach me through the new email address email@example.com or the web site http://www.anamcararetreat.com. Please also send any photos that you would like to have added to the Picture Gallery to the e-mail address and include a short description of the image.
I send my best wishes to you for a wonderful May Day and for your continued success with your own creative work, Sue
Anam Cara Updates
Questions You Need Answers For
Writer-in-residence Bobbie Dahdi Cole (Killarney, New Brunswick, Canada,) suggests that there be a section in the newsletter where questions can be posed and, hopefully, answers provided. Please respond to Bobbie directly and/or the firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can make the information available in the next newsletter. Here's Bobbie's query:
"I thought maybe you or the residents might be able to recommend a good printer - I want to self-publish a work I'm putting the finishing touches to currently. I've done a little research in the bookshops, and although nearly everything comes from the Far East these days, there are some lovely 'old' style books, thick paper and ragged edges to pages, that are printed in the US or Canada. Any recommend-ations?"
Alums Receive a 10% Discount
Once you have been on retreat to Anam Cara, you will receive a 10% discount on your chosen room rate on all subsequent residencies.
The duck house is now a maternity ward as five ducks are laying eggs in their individual nesting boxes. As she does every year, Princes Leia has begun setting first and, in her now traditional way, covers herself with straw to the point that you have to look two or three times to see that she's not just a pile of the stuff. Once they have begun to sit on their eggs, the ducks leave their nests only to eat and drink and swim in the pond. Over time, I've learned that it's ok if they leave their nests for a bit each day and that their wet feathers help keep the egg shells at the right thickness for the ducklings to be able to peck their way out when they're ready.
If you are interested in a short- or long-term stay in Castletownbere on the Beara Peninsula, you could rent West End Cottage, a fully furnished, two-bedroom home on the main street in town. For more information, contact Sue at email@example.com.
Workshops Scheduled for 2009
For more information about any of these workshops, please contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bookings for each workshop arelimited to a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 15 participants on a first-deposit-in basis.
The Poem and the Dream
Leaders: Paula Meehan, an award-winning Irish poet and playwright and a member of Aosdána (established to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland), and Juliet Clancy, a dreamworker whose mentor is internationally-known dreamworker Jeremy Taylor.
One-week residential retreat from Saturday, 27 June through Friday, 3 July 2009
Following on from the success of this workshop at Anam Cara last summer, The Poem and the Dream is a midsummer poetry workshop using dreamwork as a tool for poets to make connections to their poetry and as a guide to reading and understanding the poems of self and others. The focus will be poetry, making it and making it better. This workshop is suitable for those starting out and those already writing poetry.
Writing from Within: Haiku and the Spiritual Dimension
Leaders: Maeve O'Sullivan, a leading Irish haiku poet, a founding member of Haiku Ireland, and an experienced haiku workshop leader, and Kim Richardson, a published haiku poet and experienced leader of meditation retreats
One-week residential retreat from Saturday, 18 July through Friday, 24 July 2009
Also following on from the success of their Writing from Within workshops held at Anam Cara in July 2007 and 2008, this workshop is again designed to help you develop paths to your inner inspiration -- the path within. Toward this goal, the group will work with the ancient medium of haiku poetry and its related forms, with their links to Zen and its emphasis on mindfulness. Combining the haiku work with meditation, breath and light practices, the outstanding natural beauty of the BéaraPeninsula and the peace and quiet of Anam Cara, the aim is to heighten levels of awareness and to open creative channels.
Writing the Short Story
Leader: Leo Cullen, an Irish short story writer, novelist, and regular contributor to "Sunday Miscellany" (national radio programme)
Three-day residential or non-residential retreat from Wednesday, 29 July 2009 through Friday, 31 July 2009
Working through the senses, the workshop will explore the building blocks of the short story -- character development, location, and plot.
Writing in Ireland: A Workshop
Leaders: Karen Blomain, an American novelist, playwright, and poet, and Michael Downend, an American playwright and scriptwriting coach
One-week residential retreat from Saturday, 26 September through Friday, 2 October 2009
Returning to Anam Cara in 2009 after a great success in 2008, this relaxed-format workshop is designed for writers at all levels of accomplishment -- from the novice wishing to try her hand at writing, to the seasoned writer who needs a jump start for his muse for a new project, to those wishing to challenge themselves in a different art form. Appropriate for all genres. Non-writing spouses/partners welcome; they'll find the peaceful, Irish vistas the perfect getaway and may even find themselves drawn into their own creative outlets.
A Gift That Keeps on Giving
If you're looking for the perfect present for that creative someone in your life, how about a retreat to Anam Cara? Just let me know, and I'll send along a gift card that you can present, leaving the booking arrangements to be made later.
Gerry Galvin (Oughterard, Co. Galway, Ireland, email@example.com) has just learned that his story "Nightgames" is a runner-up in the Fish Publishing Short, Short Fiction contest and will be included in the anthology that is to be launched in July 2009.
Iseult Murphy (Blackrock, Co. Louth, Ireland, firstname.lastname@example.org) has been accepted into the Horror Writers Association.
Tania Hershman (Jerusalem, Israel, email@example.com) sent the following message to the members of The Short Review. "Two newspaper articles on short stories appeared in major broadsheets (NY Times, Guardian) on the same day [4 April]. Have we slipped through a wormhole into another dimension? Welcome, I say... bring it on! Read all about it:
Bobbie Dahdi Cole (Killarney, New Brunswick, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org ), who originally came to Anam Cara as a writer-in-residence, is now creating art. The piece shown here was inspired by Judges 5 and is entitled "Sisera's Mother" (36" X 26.5," mixed media (primarily silk). It is currently on exhibition at the University of New Brunswick as part of a Canadian Women for Peace project.
Vanessa Gebbie (Rigmer, East Sussex, UK, email@example.com) has a new website -- www.vanessagebbie.com. She also has a story in a new anthology, One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories (http://www.oneworldstories.com/
OneWorldStories/One_World_A_Global_Anthology_of_Short_Stories.html). The anthology is published by New Internationalist and was launched at The Oxford Literary Festival in April 2009. Nineteen writers from fourteen different countries came together, thanks to the Internet, and explored through fiction what it was to live in the world we do, divided by tensions and conflicts caused by physical, cultural, class, colour and creed boundaries but sharing a common humanity. "We were joined by Pulitzer Prize winner (and visitor to Anam Cara) Jhumpa Lahiri, and Orange Prize Winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who both contributed stories. All royalties are being donated to Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders. To purchase the book online, go to http://www.amazon.com/One-World-global-anthology-stories/dp/1906523134, or http://search.barnesandnoble.com/One-World/New-Internationalist-Publications-Limited/e/9781906523138/?itm=1.
LitMatch: "More than just a directory, LitMatch is the free source for literary agent information that allows writers to organize their search for representation and track their submissions online!" See http://www.litmatch.net/.
Original Writing: "Some of the most Irish poets and novelists have published themselves. Whether by actually running a publishing company, which also published other writers or directly publishing their own work, Ireland's literary world would be lacking some of its best-known writers if they hadn't published themselves.
"Historically, it has never presented a problem, the poet Walt Whitman being one eminent example. In this age, publishing oneself online or by using a computer publishing programme is a commonplace. Dublin-based publisher Original Writing helps authors to self-publish, but it does somewhat more than that. Original Writing is Ireland's leading self-publishing company, who work across all genres and publish in hardback and softback, dedicated to providing authors with affordable and straightforward ways of getting their work into print and making it available for sale online. They are also shortly to undertake distribution. The books produced are of a very high quality in terms of both design and print production. Details are obtainable at +353 (0)87 217 8138, firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.originalwriting.ie/.
HungerMountain Fundraising Auction: "Beginning May 1 at 9:00 A.M. PST, we hope you will join in to support HungerMountain's non-profit Fundraising Auction, featuring items of literary interest for writers, readers and collectors. To view HungerMountain's auction items, use ebay's search tool to find "Hunger Mountain Fundraising," and you'll get a full list of the items, with full descriptions and images (www.ebay.com). This auction is also the premiere of the Stinehour Broadside Award. The Stinehour Broadside Award Series of limited edition, signed and numbered broadsides will be available exclusively through auction, while supplies last. Broadsides will begin with number 1 of 100 and continue on a consecutive basis as bids are won. Award winners for HungerMountain's first three years are Alice Hoffman, Neil Shepard and David Rivard. All donations are tax-deductible and support HungerMountain's mission to publish outstanding creative work by both established and emerging writers and artists."
WritersDiaryLive: From Deryck Payne, "There is a BETA website that may interest your members. It is a resource that lists a large number of creative writing competitions presented in diary/calendar form. It covers the USA, Ireland, and the UK -- www.writersdiarylive.com."
WritingRaw.com: WritingRaw.com is a free literary sharing website where writers can upload, view and share their writing. We do not judge or reject! Our goal at WritingRaw.com is simple -- to serve the literary community with the opportunity to have their work online and out in the world. With the disappearance of many literary magazines, WritingRaw.com is providing the blank pages for writers to fill. Feel free to post in any of the following categories: fiction, poetry, non-fiction, remembrance and assorted writings. To view someone's writing, just click on the link and a pdf version of the piece will open in your browser. Read it, comment on it and, most importantly, enjoy it! (email@example.com; http://writingraw.com)
Submissions and Competitions
Bray Arts Journal: Now publishing its eighth volume, this monthly arts magazine is supported by the Bray Council, Wicklow Council, CASC and the Heather House Hotel. E-mail submissions to Anne Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your typed submissions to: The Editor BAJ "Casino," Killarney Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow. The deadline is the 15th of each month. The journal's web site is www.brayarts.net.
Chinese International Figure Painting Competition: The New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) is sponsoring the NTDTV 2009 Chinese International Figure Painting Competition, one in their series of world cultural and art events. The Competition features works of figure oil painting expressing meritorious traditional Chinese virtues and values with classical western realistic methods. Its purpose is to promote cultural exchange and the art of figure painting that portrays pure truth, pure compassion, and pure beauty. More details are available at http://oilpainting.ntdtv.com/en/.
Artists Wanted: Artists Wanted presents Art vs. Design, an international open call for art and design that asks the question: "In a world of images, which has shaped our lives more: Art or Design?" To find the answer, we need YOU to enter the dialogue. The Top Artist or Designer will be selected by a panel of judges and will have his or her work presented in a massive scale gallery opening at the NewMuseum in NYC. The winner and entrants will both receive a number of prizes. For more information, see http://artistswanted.org. The deadline is 11:59 P.M., May 31, 2009.
New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest: This contest is accepting scripts through June 30, 2009 for new works that: 1. Enhance self-realization; 2. Support peace and social justice; 3. Foster new understanding of minority issues that focus on racial, ethnic and gender discrimination both in the United States and abroad; 4. Empower youth to build healthy inner foundations; 5. Educate to gain further insight into healthy social/emotional living; 6. Shed new light on religious, spiritual, and cultural differences and issues; 7. Build respect for cultural expression and identity in a world that is experiencing rapid globalization; or 8. Explore the widening gap between the values this country was founded on and the values we present to the world today. For guidelines and an application form, see www.playwritingcontest.cjb.net.
Incredible Prayers, A James S. Bell Project: "Guideposts is launching a series of 12 books on various aspects of prayer and how people from every walk of life have been transformed through God's responses. These books will be mailed monthly as part of a book club promotion and will be exclusive to this readership. I am now collecting submissions for the first three books in the series and would welcome as many stories as you wish to submit. Submissions can be up to 2000 words. Each story should have a creative title, an attention-grabbing lead, main body explaining a conflict or challenge, and a resolution. These need to be descriptive and compelling personal experience stories-not simply testimonies. We prefer original stories, but you may also submit previously published stories. The payment is $25 for stories under 1000 words, and $50 for longer stories. You may retain the rights to publish the stories in magazines and books with smaller distribution sources. We are accepting manuscripts from now until at least June 15 for the first three volumes. We'll announce the finalists for the first volume around October 15. Please include on each manuscript-not in headers or simply in the e-mail-your name, contact information (address, phone, e-mail, rights offered) and a bio of up to 30 words. Please attach you submission to the e-mail rather than cut and paste the text into the body. Please direct all inquiries and manuscript submissions to my colleague, Jeanette Littleton at IncrediblePrayers@earthlink.net."
The International Artaud Workshop and Balinese Fringe Festival will be held May 22, 2009 - June 7, 2009. A fourteen-day theatre festival with all-day workshops, the event implements the Balinese performance elements that Antonin Artaud found in the ritualistic Balinese theatre. It takes place in the BaliPurnatiCenter for the Arts
Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. For more information, contact Aole T. Miller, Creative Director, STUDIO 5, 421 Classon Avenue, Studio 5, Brooklyn, NY 11238, PH: 347-351-8430, FAX: 718-789-1965, www.perbrahe.com.
Crash!Boom!Bau!: "Scenography Now!" and the Bauhaus Lab 2009 present, in the frame of the Bauhaus Year 2009, a festival for the contemporary scenographical arts -- Crash!Boom!Bau! The festival takes place from May 1st to the 17th 2009 at Theaterhaus Jena in Germany in co-operation with the AA in London, the C3 in Budapest, and the Stage Studio of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. For more information and the programming, see: www.festival.bauhauslab.org.
From the Neighbourhood
The following happened a while ago in Dublin, and even though it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock, it's true. Honest.
John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a storm. The night was rolling in, and no car went by. The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards him and stop. John, desperate for shelter and, without thinking about it, got into the car and closed the door...only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel, and the engine wasn't on!!
The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared through the window and turned the wheel. John, paralyzed with terror, watched as the hand repeatedly came through the window, but never touched or harmed him. Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road. So, gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran to the pub. Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had. A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying and...wasn't drunk.
Suddenly the door opened, and two other people walked in from the stormy night. They, like John, were also soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the other, "Look, Paddy,there's the idiot that got in the car while we were pushin' it."
From Writers- and Artists-in-Residence
From a Writer-in-Residence: Cauvery Madhavan (Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland, email@example.com)
The following is an example of the essays written for her column, "Paddy Indian," for The Evening Herald.
I sit here alone, with just a cappuccino for company and on the radio a local Austrian band serenades me with Eurovisionesque passion -- the type of performance that has you in stitches because of the genitalia-defining leotard of the aging lead singer, but inevitably gets you foot-tapping and joining the chorus, belting a full-throated mein gott, mein lieben ist wunderbar along with the backing singers.
So why am I here? I'm a failed skier, that's why. I thought I did everything that was needed, even bought ski gear that wouldn't make my bum look too big, paying over the odds for one with a stylishly concealed tummy buster.
"You don't vorry, ja?" said Dieter, the ski instructor. The family had insisted that I should have one-to-one tuition so I could catch up with them because last year I broke my thumb at our very first lesson, so they were a season ahead of me and fairly competent. But, back to this year and Dieter - "I vill hold you, if you fall, ja? So now, I go backwards down ze zlope and you try ze snow plough action with your skis towards me, ja?"
I nodded unhappily and what followed was this: I just ploughed the man into the piste. He should have known the extreme velocity that a woman with a concealed tummy panel in her ski trousers can reach on a slippery slope. A three-year-old Austrian toddler skied past, taking expert evasive action to avoid carving up Dieter's face.
"Ve vill try again, ja?"
I thought of my children and how eager they were for me to join them on the slopes. I had imagined myself and the husband zigzagging downhill, exchanging secret smiles as we planned the après-ski. I had pictured us lunching at the mountain top terrace, the air crisp, the banter friendly, recounting the morning's skiing.
Instead, I now lay in the snow contemplating the fact that skiing was not unlike marriage and motherhood -- all those slippery slopes and awkward turns. Under me, Dieter stirred again. "Vill you move, please?" I did, sliding off to this café at the bottom of the slope. I can see my family skiing down the final run now and I have ordered three hot chocolates and a beer -- I may have failed ski school, but I know a thing or two about my squad.
From an Artist-in-Residence: Ann Tracy (Tucson, Arizona, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org) created "Ode to Virginia Woolf." ( 10"x 20"x 2" acrylic and mixed media on canvas), after reading the section on Virginia Woolf in Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer. The book and the section were recommended by Mary L. Bradford (Leesburg, Virginia, USA, email@example.com), whom Ann met at Anam Cara and from whom she is still receiving inspiration by e-mail. This work is Ann's response to this entry in Virginia Woolf's diary, "We're splinters & mosaics; not, as they used to hold, immaculate, monolithic, consistent wholes."
The following recipe fits firmly into the "comfort food" category that a lot of the dishes at Anam Cara fall into:
Totable Tuna Bake
1 C sliced celery
½ C chopped onion
¼ C butter
2 10 ¾ oz cans condensed cream of celery soup
1 ½ C shredded cheddar cheese
1 C milk
½ C mayonnaise
8 oz pk medium noodles, cooked
3 6 oz cans tuna, drained and coarsely flaked
1 4 oz can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
¼ C sliced pimiento stuffed olives
2 C soft bread crumbs
¼ C toasted sliced almonds
In saucepan, cook celery and onion in half of the butter till tender. Stir in soup, cheese, milk, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Fold in noodles, tuna, mushrooms, and olives. Turn into 13"x 9"x 2" baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375˚F. for 20 minutes. Melt remaining butter. Mix with bread crumbs. Sprinkle around edges of baking dish. Arrange almonds in center. Bake till heated through, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serves 10 to 12. From Lois Menzies and Naomi B. Larson
I'm also including here a repeat of the recipe included in the last newsletter because something technological grabbed and threw away a very important ingredient, the milk, but then you probably discovered that if you tried to make the pancakes!
3 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 ½ - 2 teaspoons bacon drippings
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 ½ - 3 cups milk