Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ancestors are a Great Resource

One of my favourite songs:
Jack Johnson: Flake
Best Line:It seems to me that maybe pretty much always means no
(I use it on my kids)

A few years ago I was quite obsessed with genealogy. I loved finding stories about my ancestors, especially my ones from Iceland. When I came across an excerpt from my great great grandmother’s life I knew that I had an idea for a book…

When I was a child it was said there were people who lived in the cliffs under the ground. Every once in a while someone would see and talk with them. Whether they belonged to the lost tribes or not, they didn't know. When I was a child we had a little green mossy place where we played and we called it our church. One night a person came to one of the homes of the children parents and told them the children were disturbing them and they were not to play there anymore. One lady used to always set a quart of milk out every night before she went to bed and it would be gone in the morning. It was only certain people who were permitted to talk to these mysterious people. Father said when he was a child he saw a woman hanging out clothes and when he went close to where she was he could not see her. He told his parents about this and they told him never to go near them again for it was only certain people who were permitted to see these people and talk to them. It is hard to tell if this is just superstition but it does seem to be true.

I began to do some research and on one website it said that bout 10 percent of Icelanders believe in the existence of a "huldufólk" or a hidden world of elves, dwarfs and spirits with magic powers. Several organizations in Iceland either currently or have employed a full time folklore researcher to determine the impact of construction projects on hidden communities, which are under rocks and in cliffs. Most notably, the public works department created this position for a time after a number of unexplained equipment malfunctions and injuries. They even have an elf school in Rekvajik.

I went further and researched the island my ancestors were from and found a very long and troublesome history beginning with a group of Irish slaves being murdered on the island by Vikings. I used that event as a back-story for my novel.

Still doing a few re-writes but I can’t quite get one of the Chapters to my liking. I’m hoping to enlist the help of my husband who has a very sensible approach to most things.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. Mine will be spent on the basketball court actually I’ll be sitting on the sidelines watching the basketball court.

That’s it for now.


Anonymous said...

This looks great

Dara said...

That sounds incredibly interesting! I love learning about world cultures and the folklore in each of them. I also find it interesting that much of the folklore around the world tends to be similar--especially with the whole idea of elves/fairy folk/nature spirits, etc. It makes me think there's some unexplained phenomenon in the world from which the myths arise.

Or perhaps it's my desire to see such a thing be possible :P

Anyway, it's amazing some of the stories that are in our family history as well. I might have to do one about my dad's side of the family--he's collected a ton of stories all from his Appalachian background. It'd be interesting to write something around that.

Yours definitely sounds unique though--something that I'd want to read in a heartbeat!