Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Craic

The Celts did not hold with writing things down. They saw it as weak minded. The proper story teller should remember things; things told him by his father who learned them from his father and his father and his father…farther back as far as one might imagine, all the way back to New Grange Barrow on the River Boyne 2340BC, and probably before that as well, as if there existed some perpetual line of Druid story telling that would stretch so far…that would be this book.

And with each telling, this story might change a nuance or so as each teller surreptiously added their own sub-verses and treatises until this story became a big fat legend, like a dragon lying up along the shoreline of human history snorting in the beachy sand at one end its scaly tail splashing idly in the water at the other. That would be a good place to start, in that tradition.

The Celts were not the only people disadvantaged by not writing things down. The Phoenicians were the same. They traded on boats and if they did write things down, then it was on papyrus which has not survived. So too the native Americans red Indians were disenfranchised in part because they never wrote their laws and customs down for safekeeping. For many people, sailors, seamen, smugglers, coastal dwellers, migrants, travellers and others forgotten for sure, the wet and damp was the enemy of paper and ink and the spoken word was all.

So, let us tell it like it was a warm evening on a Lousiana bayou, drifting quietly waiting for the wind to get up; or we are waiting to dive from the side of a big galley in the Red Sea; or we are on a packet moored in a Cornish creek as the swell of the tide lifts us off the mud. Waiting, oysters are good at waiting.

No comments: