Eastern Shore


Victorian house, Centreville, Maryland by Paul McClure

On Keeping a Notebook

“Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss…But our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I.’  We are not talking here about the kind of notebook that is patently for public consumption, a structural conceit for binding together a series of graceful pensées; we are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its maker.”

by Joan Didion
(1966), in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, 1969, London: Andre Deutch.

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Not Their Land, Not Their Kind

When folks immigrated from the Old World to the New it was only natural that, due to the power of belief and curiosity, some of the Gentry went as well. They found the wilds, untouched and untamed, of this strange new world perfect for their homes and laid claim to whatever they pleased.

They had not counted on the land already belonging to those who saw them as not but invading parasites.

To the west the birds of thunder and the flesh eaters with an eternal hunger ruled.
To the south the creatures of the lakes, water panthers and monsters of the deep, were kings.
To the east the savage spirits of the trees and vengeance held sway.
And in the frozen lands of the north, a giant wolf devoured any, human or Gentry, foolish enough to challenge him.

When a girl came from the eastern shores of that strange land to Elsewhere, she came with the knowledge passed from an Irish grandmother. She came with respect for the crows and the good sense to keep her gaze down and to avoid certain places that hummed with unseen force. She wore no iron. Carried no salt. She bore no trinkets or charms of protection. And yet she walked freely as only a few could.

The Gentry kept their distance from the girl with mismatched shoes and an Irish lilt to her words. This Canadian girl with Old World blood from a land where the Gentry had not been welcome.

For she did not come alone.

One of them, those ancient spirits who had refused to bow, who had refused to give up what was rightly theirs to invaders, had come with her. And, when it looked at the Gentry, it looked hungry.


Her Happy Beginning

A little Lieutenant Duckling fic, vaguely inspired by this post (it sparked the original idea at least) for the lovely @the-reason-to-sail-home. Thanks to @mahstatins and @ofshipsandswans for reading this for me!

On AO3

Some people wait a whole lifetime for their happy ending. Others find theirs sooner and yet find themselves bored and wondering, is this it? Princess Emma of Misthaven is luckier than most. She finds her happy ending at just six years old.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

“Who dares trespass on the fearsome Captain Hook’s ship?”

Emma freezes at the rough words despite the evidence of all her senses clearly showing that she is far from harm. In a forest, in fact, not more than a few miles from her family’s summer home and miles away from the sea.

But, in all her six years she’s never known anyone to take such a tone with her. People usually don’t when they talk to a Crown Princess. She should know that this is but a game of make believe, but she’s a lonely child and not used to playing games. And so, these words are enough to strike fear into her heart.

“Oi! Are you deaf or are you defying the Captain, lass?”

The voice comes from much closer now and she jumps, unsure of what to do or say. Instinctively she raises her hands in surrender and turns to face the pirate.

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