Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all! As an Irish American, a mythology/religion major, and a pagan, I have a lot of complicated feelings about this holiday, but I do appreciate the chance to revel in the swirling, turbulent history of our world and my own family (and blast my Irish folk music without restraint).
This year I thought it might be a great time for my book to gain some steam. However, I wondered if a Boston ghost story and Appalachian fairy tale written by a New Hampshirite was “really Irish enough” to push for Irish History Month/Irish Heritage Month. In a way Beneath Blair Mountain was made for all three of these occasions precisely because it straddles so many lines and can’t seem to define itself, just like its main character. What is Irish? What is Irish American? What still counts? What’s authentic? What’s the point? Does anyone care? Should they? Why can’t I stop overanalayzing holidays and down a green beer already?
Beneath Blair Mountain, much like St. Patrick’s Day, is a tale of diaspora, of immigration, of cultural exchange and diffusion, of nationalism and identity, of changing Irelands and changing Americas, of story and song that survives the hardships, and of the anxieties and fears that creep in when uncertainty leaves the door open for them. It’s a story of fairies and revels and the darker histories they hide. It’s a story that stretches from Ireland to Appalachia to New York City to Boston and beyond.
So here’s a picture of my book, along with a picture of me in Ireland and one in the woods near my home in New England, each pulling on my heart, each calling me home. Both a part me.