Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Resistance Is Futile

Art by Bryan Leister.

I could put it down to the approach of St. Paddy's Day. I could blame a certain ancestor from Cork - though indications are that he was more orange than green and more Anglo than Irish. On the other hand he married a Katherine from Kinsale.

I find that that certain Celtic legends are demanding to be included in the present WIP. I've mentioned the Dullahan/Dullaghan as well as the Black Dog.

Now the banshee ( bean-si, bean nighe) also wants in. Is quite determined, in fact.

Fortunately these creatures are most adaptable and their forms and aspects varied, though the writer always has enormous latitude in this regard.

An old Irish poem recounts:

Hast thou heard the Banshee at morn,
Passing by the silent lake,
Or walking the fields by the orchard?

One of the challenges of urban fantasy is the adjustment and naturalization of those immigrant tales.

As my MC says, "A lot of Irish settled here over 150 years ago. Jigs and wakes weren't the only things they brought with them."

The myths themselves do not restrict the banshee to keening by night. She may be seen washing clothes in the river.

I just might have her run a laundromat.


James Goodman said...

Oh, now that is a very intruiging idea. A Banshee run laudromat? I like the way you think.

Bernita said...

Thank you, James.
I'm trying to get the hang of this double-shock stuff.

Jaye Wells said...

I've found part of the fun of writing urban fantasy is twisting accepted mythology to suit my needs or just giving it a contemporary makeover. Love the laundromat idea.

Bernita said...

And research often shows that the accepted versions are so bland compared to the originals, Jaye.
Finding modern equivalents IS fun.

Ric said...

Can't help but think of those terrible leprechaun movies. Think you'll need to be careful not to get too far afield.
Though it seems (?) you are thinking more along a humorous vein and that might work.

Bernita said...

Ric, leprecauns make me want to put my fist through my monitor.
Irish mythology should not be reduced to naughty little green dancing men.

I intend the humour to be more of the situational kind.

Sela Carsen said...

LOL A banshee in a laundromat? You're one of the few people I know who could pull that off. On the topic of Celtic/Irish legends, I just wrote a Selkie story.

Bonnie Calhoun said... i read that I could hear a celtic flute playing..

My 'Calhoun' is the Irish Calhoun. my father-in-law (god rest him) still had a brogue when he died at the age of 93, and he had come to Ellis Island in 1920!

I know all about those kind of spectres and the wee devils too!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sela. An appropriate day job, I think.
Saw that.Is there a Celtic virus going around?

Eh, Bonnie, and the songs of the Duine Sidhe were sometimes sweet though sorrowful.

raine said...

I remember reading the legend of the banshee many years ago, and thought of doing something with it then.

Let the creature in, by all means, Bernita!

Bernita said...

She bids fair to become an important secondary character, Raine.
It would be interesting to read of one as the central character.

writtenwyrdd said...

Go with that flow! You can always edit out, but to ignore the muse is to risk Her wrath, lol.

Seriously, I bet you'll figure out the reason as you go along.

Me, I've always wanted to use a sheila na gig (sp?) as a gateway between worlds. I mean, why did this overtly sexual and graphic depictions of birth get stuck all over medieval churches if not for some sort of transportation of spirits? Heh.

Glad you are working hard on the new project.

Bernita said...

Written, speaking of spirits, I know of a bar named that!

writtenwyrdd said...

If I were going to open a pub, I'd probably name it that, too. It's bad ass and feminine empowering. I imagine if I opened it in San Francisco, the Dykes on Bykes would show up with their pink Harleys, too. Or the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (a crazy bunch of guys who dress in nun's habits and march in all the Gay Pride events.)

I must be thinking along these lines because I just got mail from GLAAD...

spyscribbler said...

A banshee running a laundromat! I love it! The ideas it sparks!

writtenwyrdd said...

Yeah, that banshee in a laundromat is a good one.

I was trying to write a screenplay in the early 90s (before similar downtrodden superhero movies came out)where my superhero is a garbage man. He can't hold a job because he keeps having to rush off and save some idiot or hapless victim... The comedy was based on the ironic realities of a superhero's everyday life if he were a working stiff.

I always figured that the less glamorous the job, the better the irony. Am I wrong?

Bernita said...

Think here it was mainly a student hang-out, Written.

I'm pleased with the idea, Natasha, because it fits with the legend.

It works both ways, the "glamorous" jobs have their dull and drudgery aspects.