Tag Archives: Stonehenge

Tesseracts 17 Interviews: Eileen Kernaghan

anthology, speculative fiction, SF, fantasy, Canadian authors

Tesseracts 17 will be out this fall with tales from Canadian writers that spans all times and places.

Today, I’m continuing the Tesseracts 17 interviews with Eileen Kernaghan, whose poem “Night Journey: West Coast” captures elements that have always been present in the Pacific rainforest. The anthology will be out from EDGE in the following weeks.

CA: Eileen, your poem “Night Journey: West Coast” brings out a spiritual and metamorphic quality to the forest. You’re a BC native. What do you find is the most magical aspect of the province?

Eileen: For me, it’s the forest. I grew up on a farm that bordered on  woods  and mountains.  The forest,  when I was a child , was a magical  kingdom, full of hidden groves and secret passageways.  It was where I spent a great deal of my time, and where I imagined a great many stories that have yet to be written.  But in the forest at night there’s a darker kind of magic.  I wrote “Night Journey”  after an unnerving trip from Courtenay to Nanaimo on the new island highway,  in darkness, fog  and driving rain.  Quite co-incidentally, we had the music from Twin Peaks on the cassette player.  I really felt that if we veered from that black ribbon of highway, we could vanish forever.

CA: Are you done exploring the land here in terms of fiction or do you think new ideas are sprouting from the rich earth all the time?

Eileen: I’m not sure about fiction, but I’m certain  there’ll be more poems.

CA: What other encounters have you written about that involve the forest or the supernatural qualities of the land?

women in writing, horror, dark fantasy, dark fiction

Eileen Kernaghan is an award winning writer.

Eileen: What comes to mind is my most often published poem, which  appeared in an early Tesseracts. “Tales from the Holograph Woods” compares an imagined future landscape where there are no more forests, with an “older physics” where the land was a living entity . (One of  the places where it appeared was Witness to Wilderness: The Clayoquot Sound Anthology, which rose out of the protest of 1993. ) As to personal encounters—several poems came out of a  visit to  Stonehenge, Avebury and Glastonbury,  where  the magical qualities of the land are inescapable.  My novel Sarsen Witch, which is about earth magic, was written before that trip, but when (thanks to a letter of permission from English Heritage)  I was able to stand one late evening in the centre of the Stonehenge circle, I knew that I’d pretty much got things right.

 Eileen Kernaghan’s speculative poetry collection Tales From the Holograph Woods (Wattle & Daub Books, 2009)  draws its themes from science fiction, myth and magic, dark fantasy and fairy tales. Eileen is also the author of eight historical fantasy novels that reflect her fascination with other times and places, from the prehistoric Indus Valley to Victorian England. She was shortlisted in 2009 for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, and in 2005 for the Sheila Egoff Prize for Children’s Literature. Her latest novel, Sophie, in Shadow, is set in India under the Raj, circa 1914. It will be published by Thistledown Press in spring 2014.

www.eileenkernaghan.ca     http://www.eileen-kernaghan.blogspot.com

 

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Traveling in Europe: Stonehenge

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My second day in England had me taking a train to Victoria Station to get to Stonehenge. Searching on the net for a map through Google showed a circuitous route of catching buses to the train, which would take about two hours. I asked the guest house instead, and in reality I walked about 15 minutes through Horley to the station. The one train ride was  around 45 minutes. I wandered around Victoria Station, which has shops from groceries to clothing, restaurants and stands of flowers, chocolates, pastries, etc. It’s covered over, massive, with at least eight tracks for trains (not to mention the underground) and can be confusing to figure out. There are information booths and I liberally used them to get my bearings.

Stonehenge, England, prehistoric sites, stone age, travel, culture

Stonehenge

I had booked a tour to Stonehenge online before I left Canada, because I wouldn’t be driving. This was through Evans tours and cost about 25 pounds. Entry fee by itself is 7.50 pounds, but if you’re going to be in England long enough you can by a UK Heritage pass, which will save you entry fees on various castles, churches and other historical sites. I dislike guided tours overall but this one consisted of the ride and the entry fee. You were given an audio device land eft to your own devices. We had about an hour and a half at the site.

And of course, it was raining, a lot. I watched sheets of rain and heavy black clouds, and stared out the window at the countryside as we took two hours to get there. The rain slowed somewhat by the time we arrived. I had bought a cheap, clear plastic poncho that I could throw over my jacket and day pack while I took pictures.

Stonehenge, stones, prehistoric sites, England, travel

I put this one in because the reddish thing to the right of the ground stone is not a rabbit. What is it?

The rain let up some and in a way it was a good thing. It added drama to the sky and cut down on the crowds. Yes there are about 100 people going by the stones at any one time. I debated putting pictures in of Stonehenge because there are so many out there, but I love the permutations of imagery.

The stones are indeed smaller than you would expect but still majestic in their way. As you walk around the henge, the path slopes gently down and what is believed to be the entry to the stones puts them on a rise and makes them look bigger, tower above the horizon. Many stones went missing over the centuries as they were taken for other construction. Some toppled. Debate continues as to the henge’s use but it indeed seems to have been a calendar that marked the passing of the summer solstice, just as Newgrange in Ireland marks the winter solstice. The are over 90 types of lichen that have been identified on the stones and some of them found nowhere else.

As fall comes along and the rains descend, I’ve been told that the stones turn more reddish because of the ores in their composition. In some of these pictures they’re just starting to turn red. But the stones have a variety of color; grey, black, white, green, beige, brown and shades in between. I’m fascinated by the architecture of humans and by the textures of stones. Some people will not find 50 some pictures of Stonehenge interesting but for me it’s both sculptural as art, and a mystery as to purpose. I’m glad I included Stonehenge in my trip.

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