I 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.
“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.
On 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.
So far, 2016 has been all about poetry. NonBinary Review has released all of the content for Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Issue #1), which includes my poem Wild Girl. This piece was nominated for Sundress Publications Best of the Net Award and the Pushcart Prize. It also marked the beginning of a wonderful relationship with the editors and publisher of NonBinary Review, a relationship that has resulted in the inspiration for of some of my favorite creative work of all-time.
NonBinary Review is a digital magazine with each issue publishing a well-known work in the public domain. The platform then provides a unique way of reading the content, which has been expanded with new works relating to the theme.
The current issue at NonBinary Review is The Woman in White (Issue #7), one of the first “sensation” or mystery novels, which was written by Wilkie Collins in 1859. My poem Tabula Rasa is included in this issue, which was released earlier this month.
I am also pleased to announce that The Horror ‘Zine has published three of my poems – Figura Serpentinata, Paper Shadows, and Tinder— in The Horror Zine Magazine Summer 2016, which was released on January 29 at Amazon. Figura Serpentinata is a piece about the 13th hour, a creepy little wonder tale influenced by Edgar Allan Poe. Paper Shadows walks the edge of anorexia with expectations of cardboard cut-out women. And Tinder is a rendition of the fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which I’ve imbued with elements of romantic obsession. These pieces will also be available to read online in the future.
My last bit of news is the release of the Table of Contents in the upcoming release of Mythic Delirium Issue 2.4. I’m exceptionally pleased that my poem Swimming with the Shark Boys will be in this issue along with work by some of my favorite authors including the fabulous Theodora Goss.
Stay tuned for the release date of Mythic Delirium Issue 2.4 in April. Happy reading!
Today at Myth and Moor, an incredible blog on the mythic arts, Terri Windling-Gayton posted musings by C.S. Lewis accompanied with images of textile sculptures by artist Mister Finch. I’ve been fascinated with Mister Finch’s textile creations since first being introduced to his work in 2014. The combination of quotes and images struck a chord of inspiration with me this morning, so I started the day by composing a little tribute to all of my friends working in the mythic arts. Without your words and your creations, my life would be lacking.
by Carina Bissett
Weave me a web of friendship and love,
secrets summoned through a needle’s eye,
stitches threaded from cobweb wishes,
and I will return with new designs
to complement your patterns and style
binding the network of common myths,
elegant strings of human desire.
Despite what you’ve heard about spindles,
the hidden ways wind through warp and weft,
inspiration shuttled between frames
bound by hand, an interactive stage
piled with the textured intensity
of tapestries woven from silk shared,
landscapes braided with tales of wonder.
Weave me a web of new beginnings.
Sit at your loom with your wit and words.
Tell me satin stories on the wing,
colorful tales writ in every shade,
and I will gather the castoff threads
in my basket filled with odds and ends,
fibers ready to be pinned again.
“Velveteen Allies” © 2016 by Carina Bissett. The poem may be not be reproduced in any form without the author’s express written permission.
Visit Mister Finch’s website and blog to see more of his incredible work. All rights to the art above reserved by Mister Finch.