Virginia Carraway Stark has a diverse portfolio and has many publications. Getting an early start on writing, Virginia has had a gift for communication, oration and storytelling from an early age. Over the years she has developed this into a wide range of products from screenplays to novels to articles to blogging to travel journalism. She works with other writers, artists and poets to hone her talents and to offer encouragement and insight to others. She has been an honorable mention at Cannes Film Festival for her screenplay, “Blind Eye” and was nominated for an Aurora Award. https://virginiastark.wordpress.com/about/
Virginia took some time to answer our interview questions:
- What’s your most prominent memory of St. Patrick’s Day?I spent one St. Patrick’s Day in Boston and that was pretty awesome.
2. Name the part of Irish culture you are most happy to lay claim to and why- is it Guinness? Irish music? The Book of Kells? The Fighting Irish?The happiest part is the saddest part. I long for the land of Ireland before the great Oaks and other trees were cut down. I feel a tug in my heart for what was and what will never be again. It’s been hundreds of years since the trees were cut down to make room for potato crops. Trees like Hazelnuts that provided sacrifice were burned by the grove and this resulted in the over-proliferation of potatoes and then the potato famine and the expatriation of so many of the Irish. This resulted in yet more discrimination as America did not welcome the Irish and its fondness for the Irish is a modern invention that replaced the ‘No Irish’ signs.
I would lay claim to a language that I only ever learned a light spattering of, an oral culture eradicated mercilessly. I would lay claim to all that was stolen and long gone and the sorrow of knowing that for everything I suspect was lost there are a thousand things that I don’t have an inkling that I even lost them.
3. What are your thoughts on working with this sort of writing exercise, fueled by prompts? How did seeing the prompts of your fellow authors and chatting online together with them about the work affect your process?
I love working on the anthologies in groups. Having feedback from other writers negates the vacuum that exists between the creative act and the reception of the anthology. Having gotten into the habit of having a writing community I would be sad to lose the inspiration and excitement that we share through this process together.
The prompts were an experiment to challenge writers to get truly creative and reach outside their comfort zone. A lot of us were neck deep in research and I know we all learned at least one new thing from having a directed prompt. It was a great way to stir up my creativity and I think we all got to know more about each other and our respective creative processes. Seeing where everyone went with the prompts was a real adventure!
Here’s an excerpt from Virginia’s Story, The Stone Circle, which appears in Shamrocks, Saints and Standing Stones:
Kiona looked around herself, bewildered, leaning back on her elbows. The land was lit with the twilight light of stars hundreds or perhaps thousands of times closer than what the girl was used to. The circle of stones was healed and unbroken. The land that had been cut barren of trees around the stones was surrounded on all sides except for the side with the sea by oaks and hazel trees.
Where she was standing in the center of the stones was at the crossroads of four paths. One went towards the cliffs of the ocean, one lead behind her and was, in the other world at least, the direction of Aunt Alba’s cabin, the third lead into the grove of trees opposite the ocean and the fourth lead through sparser trees and in the distance, Kiona could see a white city with silver rooftops that glimmered palely under the starlight.
Maeve was already walking towards the city, the path lead up and down hillsides and the city was further away than Kiona had thought at first. Maeve quickly and Kiona had to run to keep up, her running seemed to annoy Maeve somewhat and she gave the girl a surreptitious glare or two on the way.
Finally Kiona, who usually could run for ages, realized that she was exhausted and couldn’t keep up the pace, “Please, Queen Maeve, could you slow down a little?”
Maeve was gone in a blur, down the path and Kiona could make her out at the edge of the city that towered above them, built into a mountain that didn’t exist in the land Kiona had come from. In an equally fast blur Maeve returned to Kiona’s side, she was cool and fresh as though she had barely moved, “As you see, I have slowed down for you, quite a lot really. Honestly, I don’t know why I try with your kind.”
“I can’t keep up,” Kiona exclaimed, desperate not to anger Maeve but even breathing the air was different here and she was exhausted.
“That isn’t my problem, now is it?” Maeve asked as though speaking to a very small child. She rolled her eyes at the girl, “I can’t spend all day waiting for you to try to walk, I’m going home. Make your way to the Star Palace and tell them the Queen sent for you.”
Maeve vanished down the road in a blur and Kiona started to cry. It wasn’t that the Queen was mean, not exactly, her expectations of her were beyond her capability. She trudged down the road the Queen had whizzed down.