Saturday, November 14, 2009

Greeting Saint Brigid

Writing brings many rewards. There's the pleasure of the writing itself, when things are going well. There's the delight of a reader who gets what I've tried to say; who tells me s/he really cares about my characters.

And then there are unexpected pleasures like the gift of seeing the world a little differently because I'm seeing it through the lens of my own sub-creation. Like my small ritual of greeting Saint Brigid.

On Thursday mornings we often walk up the hill to a nearby church for Holy Communion. It's a small, intimate gathering in a chapel behind the main altar; generally only four or five people are there. Afterwards, as we walk out down a side aisle, a row of stained glass windows is illuminated by the pale light of early morning. Each small window shows a saint, and I always pause for a moment before Saint Brigid. Because, without my quite intending it, Brigid (or at least an image of her) has made an appearance in my writing.

There's a character with a minor role in Settling the Account who appears again in A Second Chance; again in a small role, but with a little more page space. Here's an extract:

Bridie was propped up against the pillows. What Frank could see of her looked a good deal cleaner than on the previous occasions they had met, but the skin was stretched taut over the bones of her face. Her hands rested limply on the bedcovers, all knuckle and sinew. Her hair had been cut short; it stuck out around her head like a dark halo.
‘Who’d have thought I’d end up with the nuns, eh? Do you see who I’ve got here?’ A slight tilt of her head directed Frank’s attention to a small painting on the wall above her bed. It showed a young woman dressed as a nun, smiling mildly down as if on the bed’s occupant. ‘That’s Saint Bridget. She’s me name saint, see? The nuns put her up there to keep an eye on me.’ Bridie smiled, and Frank saw a trace of the spark he had once noticed in her dark eyes. ‘Ah, but she’s an Irish lass, so she’ll not be one for passing judgement on the likes of me.’

Brigid (or Bridget; both forms are used) does seem to have been a large-hearted woman, readier to dispense aid than judgement. My mornings seem a little brighter whenever she and I exchange a smile.


  1. ooh, love this post! Saint Brigid is a hero of mine, and I'm thrilled to have found her here, on your blog, and in your books...
    Many blessings to you. May the smiles continue...

  2. Hi, nice to see online work not about vampires and gay wizard high schools.

    Consider joining network for "eWriters"...quick signup, plug in your RSS and links, discussions on web writing, ebooks, podcast, etc.
    It's small and new...but you can help change that. :-

    Da Team