"" Writer's Wanderings

Friday, June 23, 2017

An American In Paris

Last evening we attended the last in the 2016-2017 season of our Broadway Series in Cleveland. The musical was An American In Paris. The story line is about a soldier just after WWII ends who decides not to cash in on his ticket home but rather stay in Paris and become an artist. He meets up with another soldier who is a pianist/composer and a Frenchman who is a wannabe cabaret star. All three fall in love with a Jewish ballerina who becomes the lead ballerina in a new ballet with music composed by the pianist. It is a love story and one that is fairly predictable but the Gershwin music is pleasurable and as my husband and I both agreed, the staging was amazing.

There are a lot of pieces that move around the stage and have projections on them but the main backdrop in most of the scenes features buildings and monuments of Paris. I recognized a few of those less popular than the usual Arc de Triumphe and the Eiffel Tower and placed myself from memory back on the streets of Paris. It was like revisiting the city.

One of my favorite scenes takes place on a bridge over the river Seine. Two fishermen come into the scene and sit on the bridge wall with fishing poles. It was the only thing I couldn't recall from any of our visits to Paris. I don't remember anyone fishing from any bridge. But then it was taking place in the late 1940s. Maybe the river had plenty of fish back then and not so many tourists.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Irish Treasure

In my quest to discover what secret I might create to write about in a new mystery book, Secrets Among The Shamrocks, I started researching treasure that has been discovered in Ireland. There's a lot to feed this novelist's imagination.

Two boys, Paddy Flanagan and Jim Quinn, were digging in a potato field near Ardagh, Co Limerick, and found a chalice from the 8th or 9th century that also contained several brooches. I remember my brother and I digging in a field that belonged to our neighbor. All we discovered were potatoes but thought it was a real treasure. When we took them to my mother, she made us return them to our neighbor and apologize for digging in his potato field.

Irish peat bog
Now the next story gives me a little more to chew on. In 1945 a man digging in a peat bog (they dry the peat and use it for heat in the winter) found gold jewelry. The items were over 4,000 years old. He kept them for a time then for some reason gave them to the village pharmacist who put them in his safe. They stayed there for over 50 years which is when the story gets even better. Some burglars broke into the pharmacy and stole the safe. The pharmacist then informed the police that there were some artifacts in the safe that the National Museum might interested in. With some good detective work the burglars were found and the artifacts recovered and eventually put on display in the museum.

And then there is the mystery of the Crown Jewels which really don't involve a crown and had little to do with coronations. The jewels were under the safe keeping of the Ulster King of Arms. They were discovered stolen in 1907. They had been kept in a bank vault until 1903 when they were moved to a safe in the library of the Dublin Castle. A man named Sir Arthur Vicars was in charge of the two keys to the safe. He reportedly lost one for a time but it was found on another key chain. When the theft was discovered, he blamed his two heralds especially the one named Francis Shackleton (brother of the famed Arctic explorer) who had a rather notoriously bad reputation. Vicars lost his job, the jewels were never recovered and most agreed it was probably Shackleton who likely broke apart the jewelry and sold the gems. Hmmm. Could that be my secret to write?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ah, The Leprechauns

Nearing the end of the novel I am working on, I began to think about what I might start writing next. One of my options is a third Casey Stengel mystery. I have the title, Secrets Among The Shamrocks. I just don't have the secrets yet so while I was doing a little research I found some interesting things about leprechauns.

One source said they originated at the North Pole. Santa separated the green elves from the red elves because of intestinal gases emitting from the green elves. It was an obvious choice for the green elves to settle on the Emerald Isle. I had a feeling this was written tongue-in-cheek and pretty much discarded the idea.

Several sources referred to leprechauns as being a part of the fairy family. All of them agreeing that they were small and mysterious and very mischievous. Another common description is that they are cobblers and that is how they make so much money. Where you purchase shoes made by leprechauns was not evident however.

The legendary tales of the leprechauns date back to the eighth century where the name comes from a word, luchorpan, meaning small body. Other origins of the word leprechaun include leath bhrogan, shoemaker, and Lugh which is the name for the Euro-Celtic god for luck.

As luck would have it, if you can catch a leprechaun you can expect to be rewarded with a pot of his money to exact his release. Beware though, a leprechaun is very crafty and witty and to date has outwitted anyone who has even come close to capturing one of the sprightly creatures.

It is said that there are 236 leprechauns living in the caverns of Carlington Mountain. That one is going to take a little more research. Could that be the secret?

Someone is said to have found the remains of a leprechaun. Could that be a secret?

Another source reports that the leprechauns are actually guarding a treasure left by the Danes when they conquered Ireland. Ah, now that could be a great secret.

I love research. It's like a travel adventure.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Bridge LIst

Lists are always interesting in travel articles. They usually list a number followed by most, biggest, scariest, highest, etc. I scroll through the list of whatever and see if I've been there, done that. This time the list was 10 Terrifying Bridges. I thought of two we'd visited over the years. One made the list, one didn't.

The one that made the list is a bridge in Northern Ireland. It's a rope bridge that gets you from the mainland to Carrickarede Island. While it's called a rope bridge, there is really a plank on the rope so you are not really walking on a rope. A hundred feet or so below you are jagged rocks and water. There is only room for a single file line and no more than eight people are allowed to cross at a time in one direction.

The other bridge, a swing bridge in New Zealand did not make the list. I can't imagine why. It was terrifying in its own right. The Butler Gorge Swing Bridge is 300 feet long and has an open mesh bottom. I think that made me more nervous than the bridge in Ireland. The NZ bridge was a lot longer as well and there was a lot of water rushing underneath us.

I'm no daredevil. Not related to any Wallendas. Crossing those bridges was a one time experience. I don't know that I'd repeat either one. Been there. Done it. Don't need to do it again.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Time Out For Baseball!

Baseball is my favorite sport. We'll hope this day is not the rain out that is predicted. It's the LA Dodgers v Cleveland Indians. Go Tribe! 

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