Current Release

Current Release
The Warrior's Viking Bride

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mani and germs of stories


Tonight is the final installment of Traveller's Century and features Patrick Leigh Fremor.

He has been described as a combination of James Bond and Grahame Greene, but really his prose is magnificent.

I first discovered his work in Crete. My dh had bought The Cretan Runner with his introduction. Fremor was one of the British officers serving undercover and had a large hand in the capture of the German general. The events are portrayed in the movie -- Ill Met by Moonlight.

Anyway, the upcoming programme has been excuse to reread Mani. This is his book about the Mani region in Greece in the 1950s. I am finding that I read with my notebook open, taking notes for possible stories. He tends to go off on tangents. For example, about how the last Bey of the Mani was possibly descended from mermaids and the fact that if your last name is Connolly, you are possibly related to selkies, according some Celtic sources. Or the fact that the last descendant of the Byzantine Emperors ended up in a London orphanage in the late 17th century. Query -- what happened to her afterwards, and did she know who she was? And what has happened to all the nymphs who haunted the lonely pools and streams? Why in Greece folk lore do you need to capture handkerchiefs but in Celtic folklore, it is the Selkie's skin? And was the mermaid really a deaf and dumb shipwrecked Venetian princess?

The book yields up its gems and is certainly worth rereading. The imagery is complex, but accessible.
My jottings may come to something, or nothing, but it is wonderful when you start to have ideas for stories raining down on you.

I adore his command of the English language as well. The way with a few word, he paints such wonderful word pictures.

Tatterdemalion sent me rushing for the dictionary-- just make sure that I did actually know what the word meant. But it is one of those words that simply trips off the tongue.

Another bonus of Benedict Allen's short series has been my dd has finally discovered Laurie Lee and has spent the last week inhaling his works. Cider With Rosie and As I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning speak across the generations. She decided that they were far easier erads than Vanity Fair.

So if you get a chance, watch the programme, but better yet read the books.
Oh and I am looking at The Creative Habit again. As ever, Tharp yields ideas and offers possible pathways...

1 comment:

Nell said...

I do like Benedict Allen - happy sigh.