It’s Saturday evening in Ireland and somewhere in Dublin a priest who’s known self since she was a little girl is dying.
The priest’s house is big and cold and the church right beside is empty.
But this story isn’t over yet. It’s still waiting for an ending. Strange to think it was only a few short weeks ago when she and the priest were drinking beer over Chinese food because he was so happy to see self; he told her last year he’d be dead before she got back to Ireland. Well, she proved him wrong.
One day, she’ll have to write a story about the time he and a fellow priest drove her all the way to Annaghmakerrig and how she learned what the Gaelic words lir and kill and dun mean. The priests spent the drive teasing her about possibly running into a banshee, the crying ghost woman.
Here’s one story that is finished and that self doesn’t mind sharing with you: Mirri Glasson-Darling’s “True North,” which is one of the nine stories in Crab Orchard Review’s “West Coast & Beyond” issue. The story is about the cold and about polar ice caps. Self doesn’t know why she, child of the tropics, born and raised in the Philippines, is so fascinated with cold climes. Sometimes she thinks the real reason she applied to Banff Writing Studio was that she began writing, last year, a story about polar bears.
In April, she went to Minneapolis for the AWP. At the Book Fair, she met Crab Orchard Review editor Allison Joseph. Here she is, Fierce and Fabulous:
Allison Joseph, Co-Editor of the Crab Orchard Review, Photographed at the 2015 AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis
And here’s an excerpt from Mirri Glasson-Darling’s story, “True North”:
I am a twenty-seven-year-old Midwestern, Caucasian male, floating on an iceberg in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.
It must be understood that this is not just a suicide.
The eventual results will be the same, but I find my death more of an unfortunate side-effect; you don’t come to the end of the world in order to better understand yourself — you come to step off the edge. All across history you have explorers heading out blindly in one direction or another, driven by riches, isolation, or general madness. A search for direction and something which cannot be satisfied, even if you circled the world twice over.
Throwing in a picture of Lake Louise in snowy Alberta:
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: May 2015
Glasson-Darling’s story is as fierce and unflinching as the landscape. Self has no words.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.