Jenn Spaulding and the Selkie

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Jennifer Spaulding is an author, mother, scientist, and scholar. She has penned four books of poetry, numerous short stories, and she is currently writing articles for Outermost: A Journal of the Paranormal. She is also currently busy with several top-secret collaborations for StarkLight Press and other publishing houses. Look for her poetry on Amazon under J.L. Estes. Her poem “Shattered” was selected to be in the 2012 International Who’s Who in Poetry. Jennifer was also a participant of the 2014 Poetry Marathon. Her poems are featured in In My Mind’s Eye along with many other internationally diverse poets.

For Shamrocks, Saints and Standing Stones, Jenn had the prompts of selkie, 1990s, Britain. Here’s an excerpt from her story:

 

A week had passed since her strange encounter with the nameless man, and Eilidh had convinced herself she had made it up. That it had never happened. Eilidh was in the bath and was sipping her tea. She suddenly remembered that tomorrow was Saint Patrick’s Day, not like it made a difference anyway. Every day was the same on Sanday and it wasn’t like she was going to take a ferry to Kirkwall for the annual celebration. That’s something that she did with her parents and she couldn’t imagine making the journey alone. She decided to spend the day at the bluffs where, it is said her mother jumped. Whenever she went there she felt close to her parents again.

St. Patrick’s Day brought a bright sunshiny morning. The air shot in by the Gulf Stream was unusually warm and had burned off the fog that usually covered Sanday. Eilidh hurried through her daily chores so she could enjoy the beautiful day. She packed a basket full with a jar of moonshine, homemade goat cheese, saltines, grapes, smoked sausage, a notebook, and a blanket. At the last minute she remembered to grab her cloak, knowing that one could experience all four seasons in one day in Sanday. At any time the heavens could open up and a thick sea-haar would roll in.

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Eilidh sat on her blanket in the grassy knoll that lay near the cliff. The wind blew a few tendrils of hair loose from the coiffed bun at the base of her neck tickling her nose, causing her to sneeze. As she recovered and her eyes cleared she spotted a figure crouched behind a rock below her, three hundred yards away. Whoever was there didn’t want to be seen, that much was clear. She decided to investigate, heck she might even make a new friend. She carefully made her way down to the beach and clung to the rock wall behind her to avoid being seen. As she neared the rock she could see that a huge seal had come up onto the beach. She walked slowly over to the creature and realized it had seen her. It was watching her intensely as she got closer, then it quickly skittered back into the sea. How odd that seal looked at me like he recognized me, she thought.

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Jenn answered our interview questions as well- here are her answers:

  1. What’s your most prominent memory of St. Patrick’s Day?

Syracuse, New York has a rich Irish heritage. Every year the St. Patrick’s Day celebration kicks off the last Sunday in February at Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub on Tipperary Hill where the traffic light is green over red and Coleman’s tanker truck rolls in with 10,000 gallons of green beer. Dubbed ‘Green Beer Sunday’ fifty-two years ago when it first began because Mr. Coleman had too much business on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate. Hence, Green Beer Sunday was born.

Green Beer Sunday is only a prelude to the St. Patrick’s Day fun in Syracuse. On the second Saturday in March for the past thirty-three years the St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at noon on Salina Street. On Friday a green stripe replaces the normal yellow stripe down the road. It even has been named one of the top ten St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the United States. My most memorable time occurred on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of 2012. To get a good viewing spot of the parade and a free parking spot requires you to arrive at 8 am so needless to say it is a long day. I went with my fiancé Todd, our children, our friends Jessica, Chris, and their daughters Lilly and Michelle. We were all dressed in our green t-shirts with shamrocks and had all our St. Paddy’s Day shenanigans on hand. Since we got there early we had a spot right by the road behind the barricades. Everyone is walking around with green beer, smoking cigarettes, and generally having a good time. Well not everyone. My friends and fiancé were smoking a cigarette, I was watching the kids while they waited for the parade to get underway and apparently a woman with a baby came up to stand behind them. I still do not understand till this day why you would go stand behind someone that was smoking a cigarette if you were holding a baby. Suddenly this woman’s friend started screaming in my fiancé’s and friend’s faces. My friend Jess came over to watch the kids, before she got to me this woman dove through the crowd and spit in my face! Meanwhile I had three little girls sitting below me on the curb. I was powerless to act upon my anger, even though I was madder than a cornered raccoon and could do nothing to appease the irate God that they had awoken in me. Luckily Lady Karma had my back. Not only did the woman spit on me, but she spat on a woman that was behind me as well. Instead of a war erupting in front of the children, the group continued bickering as they moved down the block and out of my view.

The rest of the day went on without a hitch. I even got a nice emerald green scarf woven with silk made in Ireland! It turned out to be one of the most memorable days of my life.

  1. Name the part of Irish Culture you are most happy to lay claim to? Why?

The Irish Culture that I am most happy to lay claim to is the Irish’s fighting spirit. I think that the Irish blood boils in my veins and is the reason I do not ever give up. When I fall down I get right back up and brush the dirt from my shoulders. I am very grateful and thankful for my Irish Heritage. I have often contemplated changing my last name permanently to my maternal grandmother’s maiden name which is Meagher. It is pronounced as Mahar and if I lived in Ireland it would be O Meachair. It is of Gaelic origin and means ‘hospitable’. Those who have this surname live in Laois, Kilkenny, and Tipperary.

  1. What are your thoughts on working with this sort of exercise, fueled by prompts? How did seeing the prompts of your fellow authors and chatting online together with them about the work affect your process?

I love when I have writing projects that are fueled by prompts. It sparks a creative energy within me and my imagination just runs wild. Take for example this anthology our publisher Virginia Carraway Stark gathered a group of awesome writers, put years, an Irish symbol; such as a leprechaun, and places into a hat. She drew each author’s name and then drew each of us a relic, year, and place. I was lucky and got Britain, Selkie, and the 90s. Britain is huge so I had a plethora of places to choose from. I really enjoyed writing this story. I also proved some things to myself and overcame a few obstacles. Thank you to Tony and Virginia Stark for creating this platform for authors to explore, expand, and share their work. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of the other author’s prompts and got quite a kick out of all of the ideas that were thrown around. This has been a marvelously, delightful adventure. I look forward to many more.

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