Selkies, Sirens, and Shark Boys

selkieI have a thing about selkies, those maidens of the sea who shed their seal coats to dance on land. Don’t get me wrong. Mermaids and sirens have their own appeal, but it’s the selkies that I feel the most connected to. That connection evolved into my poem “Swimming with the Shark Boys,” which came out this month at Mythic Delirium.

Found predominantly in Irish and Scottish folklore, selkies live as seals in the sea. However, when they come ashore, they shed their seal skins and reveal themselves in their human form. According to folklore, these  beautiful women can be trapped on land if their seal skins are discovered and hidden. In this way, they become fairy brides, who can be beguiled into a marriage with the mortal who holds their coats and their freedom at bay. These selkies are said to make good wives, but as soon as one of these fairy brides finds her hidden seal coat, she returns to the ocean without once looking back.

mermaid-vertical_2445977k“In Swimming with the Shark Boys,” I took a different approach. In high school, I always felt awkward and ungainly, especially around the divas and cheerleaders who scored with early beauty. Mine took a while, so I watched the courtships and drama from the sidelines. After a while, I found that I was much more interested in the bad boys than the guys who feathered their hair and dressed in pastel polo shirts. That fascination got me into trouble over the years, but I always found it more exciting to swim with the sharks than the schools. What can I say?

“Swimming with the Shark Boys” is a cautionary tale. Whether it’s for the selkie girls or for the shark boys is something I’ll leave up to the reader.

patreon_navigation_logo_mini_orangeOn a side note, I’ve created a Patreon account. For as little as $1 a month, you can support the work I’m doing in poetry and fiction. And with just $5 a month, you’ll be given access to new stories and poems created for my benefactors. Every little bit helps. Thanks!

Images: Selkie by zirofax at DeviantArt; Hannah Mermaid Swimming with Whale Sharks by Shawn Heinrichs.

Author: cmariebissett

Carina Bissett is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies including Weird Dream Society, Arterial Bloom, Gorgon: Stories of Emergence, Hath No Fury, Mythic Delirium, NonBinary Review, and the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. V and VI. She has also written stories set in shared worlds for RPGs at Green Ronin Publishing and Onyz Path Publishing. She teaches online workshops at The Storied Imaginarium, and she is a graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program at Stonecoast. She is a member of Codex, SFWA, SFPA, and HWA. Her work has been nominated for several awards including the Pushcart Prize and the Sundress Publications Best of the Net. Links to her work can be found at http://carinabissett.com.

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