Now we are just past the summer solstice, it feels like the heart of the year.Currently, I am busy preparing for Willa Cather’s Irish Connections, – a symposium over in Ireland, about an ancestor of my family name, Willa Cather. ‘My Antonia’ is one of her acclaimed novels, published 100 years ago.It is a beautiful read.
“ This novel is considered Cather’s first masterpiece. Cather was praised for bringing the American West to life and making it personally interesting. ” Wikipedia
She has a poetic way of expressing herself that I love. And her insight into character is to me, educational.
“I wanted to walk straight on through the red grass and over the edge of the world, which could not be very far away.” from My Antonia
One of my favourite Cather novels is the ‘Song of the Lark’, about a young girl who becomes an opera singer, and shows in detail what artists need to go through to become themselves. This relates to all of us.
“. . . what was any art but an effort to make a sheath, a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining, elusive element which is life itself—life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose?”
So I will meet scholars and others at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady,- somewhere between Derry and Coleraine next week. A rural location which will provide an adventure Willa would approve of, I am sure!
Here’s a wee final quote from Willa, it has a nice Irish almost Gaelic sound and rhythm to it begorrah!
“May the Hay fever give you a long vacation and the hot winds deal gently with you.” from Letters of Willa Cather, To M. C. Gere 1901
Have a literary good summer!