Belated Merry Beltane to you, and welcome to issue #19 of my quarterly newsletter, e-mailed to subscribers in May 2016.
A Messenger Traveling Northward
In an early fifteenth-century address to a messenger given by Dubhthach Mac Eochadha entitled A theachtaire théid bhu thuaidh
(O messenger who goes northwards) and recorded in the Leabhar Cloinne Aodha Buidhe
, the messenger is instructed to pass on exactly what is told to him, not missing a word. This means that Dubhthach Mac Eochadha would have recited his message, and the messenger would have learned it by heart. (Literacy in Medieval Celtic Societies
, 251) Such was the way of these things, that a messenger would have been required to learn the messages he carried, just as poetry was largely an oral tradition during this time, since few members of the Irish aristocracy could read.
I found this historical gem right about the time I learned that I too would be traveling northward, as a PhD candidate in the Department of Folklore at the Memorial University of Newfoundland
. Most of you know me as a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and poetry, but before that, I was a Celtic scholar. It's time for me to take up that work again.
So this newsletter is changing with me. Yes, I'll still be writing the things that prompted you to subscribe, and thank you again! But I'll also be writing about my scholarship as the occasion warrants. In time, I hope to balance the needs of a fiction and non-fiction writing career so that I can practice my craft in both worlds, and I hope you'll stick it out with me while I do that.
In the meantime, you can still expect to receive my quarterly newsletter, but now that I'm working in a more robust e-mail environment, you can also expect to receive the occasional announcement about forthcoming and newly-released stories, articles, and the like. I promise not to spam you! I hate that too.
Enough said. Here's the writing news you came to read.