Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I startled everyone at Mom's house Christmas Eve with a "Whoop!" when I was checking out my brother's new Dell. I intended to show my brother Richard a map of Killaloo and it's environs I had been building in Google Maps, using Kenneth Allen's photo's from Geograph that I have previously mentioned and featured here in a blog back in June of last year. The map is in anticipation of our trip next year to celebrate my 50th birthday.

Then I noticed this E-mail:

to: obeedude@gmail.com

date: Dec 24, 2007 5:55 PM

subject: Glebe House

mailed-by: mac.com

I was fascinated to find your website Glebe Homie. This is because I bought the house previously known as the Glebe House which your site is dedicated to in 1999 and live here in Killaloo with my family.

The Church of Ireland had amalgamated several smaller congregations at the retirement of one of their rectors, and no longer needed the property.

Your home page shows a picture of the house roof in the foreground, taken from the roadside above. I have pasted on a picture of what it looks like from a bit closer up. Happy to send you some more if they are of interest.

It'll take me some time to read all of your blogs etc, but am working on it over the Christmas holiday period.

Best wishes

Alan McKinney

You can only imagine the look of glee on my face (and the dumbfounded looks on my family's faces) as I danced around my mother's living room after opening this E-mail!

The E-mail came with this photo attached:

Glebe House, Killaloo. © Photo by Alan McKinney

If you look at my blog header you will see a gray smudge on the left-hand side under the "G" and "L" in Glebe just beyond the tree-line. Little did I know that right there, in front of my eye's, hidden in plain sight was: the Glebe House!

Thank-You Alan!

"Merry Christmas! Pleased to meet you!"


Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Watts"-up obeedúid~ ??? (episode 1)

Friends have asked: "Whats up?" "No new posts... everything O.K.?"

I think to myself, New Job... Managing my kids lives... Second job and the long hours... well actually three if you count counseling and praying for friends and family... Christmas Rush season... only 1/3 of my gifts gathered so far... Life in general I guess.

Then I think, Life has always been full and you always managed to write before. Maybe I'm not up to it now. Maybe I'm not interested just now. Maybe, I need a break. But, this used to be my break....

Actually, I have been busy writing, more busy researching actually.

I had planned to do a transcription of the letters as a Christmas Gift Chapbook for friends and family. Then I found myself sidetracking and tangenting.

Right from the get-go.

Here's what happened:
The first transcription (not including the documents from my Great Great Great Grandfather Robert Gilmour's certificates in the Order of the Orangeman) is the hand written marriage certificate dated "Nov'r. 24th 1859."

Here is a transcription:





Robt. Gilmour


Mary Pollock

Nov'r. 24th 1859

This will certify that Robert Gilmour

and Mary Pollock were by me joined

in wedlock, Nov. 24th 1859, according

to the usage of the Presbyterian Church

and in conformity with the laws

of the State of Pennsylvainia


Robt. Watts,


Westminster Church,


Given at Philad"a

Nov. 24th 1859

My Great Great Great Grand parents and their siblings lived much of their earlier lives in Manhattan before moving to 174 Claussen Place in Brooklyn. Robert and his family were Coopers in the busiest port city in America at the time. They started out life and business in "Americae" on Pearl Street just South of the infamous Five Points a few hundred yards south of the Five Points Mission that later replaced the Old Brewery Tenement.

You can click on this image to enlarge for better viewing;
the location is approx where the "t" is in "Pearl Street"
Map legend: B-3 upper right hand corner.
This map is a little newer than the time period and lacks some of my reference points, but I just love its look and style. The Brewery/Mission of "Gangs of New York" fame was located where the "r" is in "Park Street"

They were married in Philadelphia Pa. by Reverend Robert Watts, an Ulster Presbyterian transplant who came to this country from Moneylane, County Down during the famine/diaspora. Mary (Pollack) Gilmour was from Port Rush and arrived in this country with her parents at about the same time. Robert Gilmour was from Killaloo. What made them go to Philadelphia to get married ?

I suspect that Mary's father James Pollock was a member of Westminster and so they traveled there by train to be wed.

NOW FOR THE SIDETRACK TANGENT: As Robert Watts will be a character in "A Wasterly Gale" I have been researching him as well. Guess what, no surprise to me he was quite the character!

...this is what I have gleaned so far:

*WATTS, Robert, author, born in Moneylane, County Down, Ireland, 10 July, 1820. He removed to this country and was graduated at Washington college, Lexington, Virginia, in 1849, and at Princeton theological seminary in 1852. He entered the ministry of the Presbyterian church, established the Westminster church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1852, and became its pastor in 1853.

After the attack on Fort Sumpter in the spring of 1861, at the General Assembly of the Presbetyerian Churh in America, "The Irish-born Rev. Robert Watts of Westminster Church in Philadelphia reminded the Assembly that they “were indirectly called upon by venerable men to divide the Church.” Watts was convinced that the church might yet succeed. “There had been nothing yet to prove that the Old School Presbyterian Church has not in her ranks a conservative power, which might blend together in one Union the entire States of this Confederacy.” Further, Watts argued that scripture called the church to honor the civil magistrate, but it never required the church to pass resolutions of support. It is interesting to note that the only person to question the constitutionality of the Spring resolutions [contenting that they were unconstatutional and called for the Presbetyerian Church in America to indirectly devide into separate entities Union/Confedrate] was an Ulster Presbyterian (who would return to Northern Ireland to teach theology in the Assembly’s College in Belfast from 1866-1895).

In other words, as I interperate the transcrirptions of these proceedings, Reverand Watts wanted the General Assembly to take no action or not take sides, which would thereby force the Southern Presbeterates to take the side of the States that they were located in. I believe that he wanted them to remain nutral and above the conflict, hoping that the Church and the Country would yet avoide Civil War.

This is the title page of a pamphlet he published in 1861

…When conflict became unavoidable and war insued Reverand Watts:

...returned to Ireland, and he was installed as pastor in Dublin in 1863, and in 1866 was appointed professor of systematic theology in the Assembly's college at Belfast.

He later published "Calvin and Calvinism" (Edinburgh, 1866) ; "Utilitarianism " (Belfast, 1868); "What is Presbyterianism? "(1870) : " Prelatic Departures from Reformation Principles" (Edinburgh, 1871) ; "Arminian Departures from Reformation Principles" (1871) ; "Atomism" (Belfast, 1874); " Herbert Spencer's Biological Hypothesis " (1875) ; " The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment" (1877);" The New Apologetic" (Edinburgh, 1879) ; " The Newer Criticism" (1881) ; and "The Rule of Faith and the Doctrine of Inspiration" (London, 1885). (1)

Robert Watts made a name for himself in 1874 by replying to John Tyndalls famous address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Tyndall used his address to argue for the superior authority of science over religious or non-rationalist explanations.

Obviously conflict followed him...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

G. Chambers of Drumahoe where are you?

G. Chambers of Drumahoe left this comment on my post about Geographing the other day:

"Came across your website by accident and believe it or not i live about 2 miles down the road from Claudy in a place called Drumahoe.
G Chambers"

...but neglected to leave me a way to get in contact. I would really love to converse via E-mail about some questions I have regarding some local points of interest. I plan on visiting Killaloo this coming year to celebrate my 50th Birthday. My brother Richard and I will be following the path of our ancestors back in time and there are some places and things we would very much like to see and do. I was wondering if Services are ever held in the Presbyterian Meeting house or the Lower Cumber Church of Ireland. I am a United Methodist Lay Minister and worshiping where my forefathers worshiped would be an experience I would very much like to have.

The Lower Cumber (Holy Trinity) Church of Ireland.

My Ancestor's, the Gilmour's lived and worked at the Lower Cumber Church Glebe as Coopers. Do any of the Glebe buildings still exist? It is hard to tell from modern day maps and the limited information available on the web.

Also, we think that our Great Great Great Grand Uncle by the name of James Glenn (by way of our family letters) apparently owned a Public House:

"you might call + see my Uncle Jam[e]s Glenn of the scribetree, it is of but little emportance but when you are there it will pafs the time."

We believe that "The Scribetree" was a Pub somewhere in the vicinity of Killaloo; perhaps at Brackfield, maybe in Killaloo itself, or even in the vicinity of Bonds Glenn.

I understand that the Pub in Bonds Glenn operated by "Robert Knobb's" has been in operation for 200 years or so. I am now drafting a letter to see if perhaps this Pub may have been owned by my Ancestor in the 1850's-60's.

Robert Knobb's Pub in Bonds Glenn.

If you are still out there and somehow read this post please contact me at obeedude@gmail.com. Any information, or direction that you could give me towards someone or some organization in and around Killaloo that might help us in our quest would be much appreciated!


As stated previously these pictures were taken by: Kenneth Allen © Copyrighted and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembering the face of my father,

on his 82nd Birthday.

I see yer face a craggy map, so that’s where I'll begin,

but in yer case no soggy pack, of when and where ye'd sinned.

Did ye set yerself a trap, and somehow catch yer evil twin?

As ye heard the heartstrings snap, inside yer corpse of tin,

were there ever years of crap, ye hid behind that grin?

I wear meself yer craggy map, remembering that ye've been.

I don at times yer handed cap, and dress it with a grin,

then twist me neck to hear it crack, the way ye did back then.

I am yer son formed of ye sap, so too me kith and kin.

I haven't got yer head's steel trap, much to me own chagrin.

I loved yer face, that craggy map, of where and what was then

but not a trace could I entrap, so took it on the chin.

It was yerself who set the gap, urged it close therein

an stepped out of the gifting wrap, ye ofttimes called yer skin.

By God's grace ye so unstrapped, an loosed yer cotter pins.

I walked along yer craggy map, to come to who I am.

I waded through the years of crap, I took it on the chin.

I did it with yer cradled cap, and tried me best to grin.

Now I course the one ye lapped, an wonder why so grim

I have at least yer handed cap, the man Jesus within.

obeedude 11/nov/07


In Steven King's Dark Tower Novels "Remembering the face of your father" is the path to your true self. When you screw-up, You have forgotten the face of your father. If you really want to insult someone, or point out that they have strayed from the path, you might say that they have done just that: "Forgotten the face of their father." Last week I screwed-up. My son and I both, will have some pretty ruff days to come as a result. My fault, not his.

11/Nov/07 is what would have been my fathers 82nd birthday. Barb's father passed away on All Hallows Eve. I just finished reading Steven King's "The Wolves of Calla." All of these things led into the writing of this poem.

While it is true that the poem contains elements of my father, his life and influence upon me, and the modified picture that accompanies it is of my father (taken in Ireland), the poem is not really about my father. Its about me screwing-up. Its about him never screwing-up in the ways I tend to screw-up. "the craggy map", the twin thing, the corpse of tin, are all elements of "The Wolves of Calla."

This version incorporates suggestions from the E.O.T.N.Poet's. The longer line length, etc. The change in the last line was of my own accord. It more faithfully reflects Steven Kings language in the series. The switch to modified 'ol English/Stage Irish is a recent thingie that resulted from having to force the "longer line length" into this column width.

When I complicate my already complicated life by my actions, whether it be by my ability to get myself involved in circumstances that are the direct result of my inability to walk away from helping others, or the piling-on that tends to accrue because I am so wrapped up in other's problems that I neglect my own housekeeping, I often take things out on myself internally. Not a good thing to do.

Somehow, with the passing of time, reading and praying, (...lack of sleep because of worrying...) or the writing of a poem, I find that God takes care of things anyway and all the useless beating-up on myself was unnecessary.

I tell myself that next time I will remember that. Invariably I don't. …Good thing God does that for me.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something Seasonal...

"Imagine if you will, ..." Stephen Crane goes to a Halloween Party, dressed as Edger Allen Poe, and when he gets there decides to pretend that he's Rabbie Burns....

Thats kinda what happened when I wrote this poem. I started it months ago when I was reading Crane, went back to it when I was reading Poe, and finished it while reading Burns.

The Crane language is still somewhat there, so to is the Poe influence, and every time I swear off the Braid-Scots something like this seems to channel itself on through.



sooted figures

knick knock, knick knock!

tangled limbs

a motioning mass

knick knock, knick knock!

some pallid,

and in strange postures

knick knock, knick knock!

some for the Charnel house

squalling and squawking

knick knock, knick knock!

the tangled limbs

unravel feverishly

knick knock, knick knock!

twisting their fists

in tired eye sockets

knick knock, knick knock!

laggard and blind

the unfortunates rail

knick knock, knick knock!

others play mawbles

and wag thair tails

knick knock, knick knock!

the Listener awakens

from her long dirt nap

knick knock, step back

Open-up Auntie!

Tis batterin' door nicht!

knick knock, We'r bak!

Open-up Auntie!

We'v cum for oor candies!

knick knock, knick knock!

the Listener rises

approaches the door

knick knock, knick knock!

A'm cumin mae pritys

ar ye bak for so-moor?

knick knock, knick knock!

soory Ayam mae weens

bot ye've pickit mae cleen

knick knock, knick knock!

Aa A've got left

is 6 feet o 'ert

knick knock, knick knock!

yae an mae booth


knick knock, knick knock!

knick knock, knick knock!


obeedude 17-18/Oct/07

The original title was the colloquial "Hallaleen." The Festival of Samhain however is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. A modernized version of this festival continues today in some of the traditions of the Catholic All Soul's day, the secular Halloween, and in folk practices of Samhain itself in the Celtic Nations and the Irish and Scottish Diasporas. It is also observed by various types of Neo-pagans.

As it is set in the Celtic culture and not 20th century America as it originally started out, the Celtic title seemed more appropriate. It also doesn't give too much away right off. I liked the way it seemed to start out Trick-or-Treat and instead turned Ghost Story while I was writing it. Hope you did too. It sounds better out load. The Knick-knock battering on the door sound, that is actually scratching on the inside of the coffin, works best this way.

Happy Hallaleen!
obeedude 28/Oct/07

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The God Wink


The other night, I was leaving Nichol's/Smith's/Shop & Save soon to be The Voorheesville Hannaford, and for some reason I turned left. 98.9% of the time I turn right and go down Pine street on my way home. For some reason that night I turned towards the Church.

I then drove about 75 ft. down the road as it goes under the Train Trestle and STOPPED. I didn't know why I turned left, any more than why I stopped the car. An SUV was baring down on me with its High beams on and another car was coming out from under the bridge.

Then I saw in the corner of my eye, a small child (approx 3 yrs old) sliding down the leafy embankment and right into the street in front of me. He got up and walked right into the street! No awareness of the danger he was in what-so-ever.

The Car behind me stopped and I pulled forward out of the way. The driver on the other side of the road got out and picked him up. We called up the hill for his parent and he appeared within seconds with a panicked look on his face. All it takes is a second when you are looking the other way for a three year old to bolt. This Dad got lucky.

Well, I don't know about luck. I think I know now why I turned left towards the Church. Why I stopped without knowing why. Someone else was driving the car. Not me. This is why I have faith. There are no coincidences. Thats why there was no accident that night.

I believe. God Winked!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

...excerpt from an on-going conversation... ...Out of context and from "Left" -field.... ...On my soapbox in the detergent aisle...

So I was in the store the other day, and a mother comes by with her two son's. The oldest (I would guess about 8yrs old) by my observation was very withdrawn and seemed to lack a self-confidence. As it happens, and happens quite often in the aisle that I work in, the boy asks for a Flashlight. "Mom can I please have this?" in his mousy little voice. I've heard this question hundreds of times, but never put more innocently. Usually its a demand, followed by a tantrum. Frankly, I would have bought it for the kid. His Mom's response however floored me. "No! I said no and if you ask again I will send you away to reform school. You'll never see me again and God will never forgive you."

O.K., so first I had to pick my lip up off the floor. Then, I found myself asking her in a tone not dissimilar to the same one adopted by the child. "Please don't say that kind of thing..." I pleaded. She responded with a foul mouthed tirade punctuated with "Whats wrong with me teaching my children by the Ten Commandments!..."

I couldn't help myself, I wanted to protect this kid, my backbone went up and I responded first with a dumbfounded look, then I said: "...I was a Scout Leader and a Youth Pastor for 12 years, and what your doing is not teaching the Commandments..."

I'm sure I was still looking stupefied when I was done...)

I realized
at this point as she began to get even more foulmouthed and proceeded to tell me she "...had been sent to reform school and it was the best thing that ever happened to her..." that I was never going to get to the idea that all she was teaching was fear!

My hands were shaking. My stomach was in knots and this was not the time or place for what I was doing. I walked away and took a break out on the back dock. If I had stayed things would have gotten worse. I turned the other cheek, and said a prayer for those two young boys. A prayer that they would not grow up and perpetuate what was obviously their inheritance from their Mothers parents.

When I was a Boyscout leader, the Boy Scouts were at that time pressured to remove all Christian symbols from their Chapels. This was done under the guise of "becoming more inclusive". So, we ended up with a Chapel that for all intents looked like just another building. No place special. No place to find God. (That is what it felt like to me anyway.) I questioned whether it might have been more "inclusive" to have added symbols of other faiths. "No, its simpler this way." was what they said.

Maybe, just maybe, the solution to the Bible in Schools would be to include the Koran, and the Book of Mormon, and, and, and, etc... It would not be the simple solution, but that is how we approached Confirmation in our Church. In order to be Confirmed, candidates had to attend worship services of five other faiths. It wasn't easy, logistically or thematically. But it gave them a grounding in their faith, and an understanding of others faith and beliefs as well. Hopefully, it fostered some tolerance too. All views on the table as they say.

Inclusive: including many things or everything, not excluding any...

...perhaps we should say: all-inclusive.

It shouldn't be all-or-nothing, it should be all-not nothing.

PLEASE... lets teach love. Not fear.

obeedude 14/Oct/07

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Biblical counsel to a man of faith with writers block?

The Prophet Habakkuk.

Habakkuk* Ch 2: Vs 2&3

2 Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.

3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.

O.K., O.K., so its out of context and obviously not what the prophet intended, (I've read the rest of this weeks reading and I have done so before so I am aware of the larger intent of the book) …but its what I needed to hear this week. Maybe that’s the point sometimes, as long as its not done on a regular basis or with the intent to proof texting.

Wait, ye man of faith, your faith has been increased, and so too your burden, all will be revealed at the appointed time. It will surly come, live by your faith, and you will endure.

*The Book of Habakkuk is the eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Hebrew Bible. It is attributed to the prophet Habakkuk. A copy of most of the book was found included in the Habakkuk Commentary among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

obeedude 07/oct/07

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Revisions, rewrites and rearrangements....

Well, I mailed off my submission to the NYSFA today. Checked and rechecked the thing to the point of OCD. In the process of completing the manuscript that I submitted, the following forward I wrote for "A Wasterly Gale." was removed for the time being.

It is written after the style of Samuel Rutherford Crockett. In homage if you will, to a literary forefather. It didn't quite fit at the beginning of this book, but I think it may work for its as yet unnamed sequel.


I, Mark W. O'Brien of the Village of Voorheesville in New York, begin the writing of this book with thanks to God, the giver of all good, for the bountiful harvest which He has given us here in the Town of New Scotland, in the year of His Grace, September, 2007.

Now it may appear that there are many things in this long story which I should like to tell concerning my forebearers, that are far from doing them credit, but let it not be mislippened (overlooked) that they were in the time of their youth and wild oat sowing, when the blood runs warm, and the heart takes hold o' the bridle.

My storie begins, as do most tales worth telling, with the ring of truth, and soon egresses to a bit of imagining, with a fleshing out of the rest. It is a tale handed down through five generations, from parent to child, and may have been lost were it not for the existence of letters and documents from some of the parties involved.

My storie begins in Ireland, and afore that, though not in this chapter of the saga, Scotland. That it begins in Scotland, is a fact to me which of is no small matter, for it tells me of the full circle to which I am a party bound. Scotland to Ireland to New Scotland: by the grace of the God and my forebears.

My own knowledge of it comes to be by my Da, supplemented by the reading and transcribing of the aforementioned letters that were kept for me as my inheritance by my Ma.

I should like just now, to offer this picture: It has little to do with my storie, and everything to do with it. For it is a picture of my great grand father James Alexander (Pappy) Gilmour, with my Da, James Gilmour O'Brien (standing next to the babybuggy) and my uncle Robert O'Brien. (...being held down by my Da and their Granpappy.)

These my progenitors, are not yet participants in the tale which I am about to tell, but they carry the names closely, of those who are. That is also a part of how this story came down to me, for we carry the lives of those who came before us in our names as well as in our hearts.

My Ancestors were Coopers by trade, and my own Da named me Mark O'Brien for a reason. The literal translation of my name from the old tongue is Hammer Strong. I was ever at home with a hammer in hand, but for sake of my tale I have beaten-it to a quill. "Name your children well" my Da was want to say, "for they will live up to it, or down to it, which ever the case may be, and its better to give them something good to strive for."

obeedude 03/oct/07


Friday, September 28, 2007

....Long time no blog....

The past month has been unbe-logable. Life keeps getting lifelike all around me, all I can do is try to hold everyone I love up to God in hopes that he will nourish us all. Its hard to hold everyone up like this for a sustained period, but I know he will take over soon. The following is a memory of an actual event, unrelated to what has been going on, that came to me in the midst of everything else and somehow puts things into perspective for me.

When this event took place my daughters compassionate nature was yet to be formed. Maybe that is why this memory puts things into perspective for me. Time and the Lord will sort all things out. "These things too shall pass."

Yeah, that faith thing again.... belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof...

"Their faith was unwavering."

Keep the faith!

Da an his Punkin'


Baby girl, you were too young

to remember the water gathered

and trickled about your eye

where your tearduct would be

that made you fuss in the sink

the night I baptized you

hours after they argued

whether you should be

presumptive though it was

me not being a priest

they worried about

who the God-parents would be

in the kitchen that timorous dark night

your Da was frightened for your soul.

obeedude 16/sept/07 ~ rev28/sept/07

My "Baby girl" is almost 21 now. She has a well of compassion the likes of which even she dose not know the true depth of. She may not show it to everyone, but the Lord and I know it's there.

My faith is unwavering.

Markle. 28/sept/07

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dark Days, Lightly viewed.

It has been a very dark couple of weeks. I have been praying a lot. Can't talk about it, so I haven't been posting either. I have been writing though. The writing was dark as well. Yesterday, I decided to get light! God may strike me down for this, but I believe he too has a sense of humor.

If I as Christ at Gethsemane wept:

Father, take this burden from me I implore.

…this is not what I signed on for!

Lord, let me just hang in this garden awhile

I'm sure we could do without the trial

You only said it would be neat to get down

see what the place was like from the ground

I didn't think you were going to get cross with me

then hang me out to die on that tree…


Father, take this burden from me I implore.

…this is not what I signed on for!"

I've made a lot of friends down here

why just the other day we were

drinkin wine and havin fun

now you tell me I'm your son

I know, I know, I shouldn't have walked on the water

It was a little too showy, but sometimes I falter…


Father, take this burden from me I implore.

…this is not what I signed on for!"

Mom always sez "Can't you be more like your Father?"

If this is where it gets me, why should I bother

I just want to live and let live

why you gotta make me give, give, give

How come I can't just be who I AM

I wish you had told me this was your plan


Father take this burden from me I implore.

…this is not what I signed on for!

Alright, so I cheesed a few people off

and I suppose that comes at some cost

but nailin me like this, and puttin me

out in the open where everyone can see

is just a bit much don't you think?

Its not like I left dirty dishes in the sink!


Father take this burden from me I implore.

…this is not what I signed on for!

I tried my best Dad

gave it all that I had

I promise I'll do better next time

I didn't know love was a crime

I'm still your kid, and I know you still like me

can't we talk about this, before you smite me?

obeedude 04/Sept/07

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Serendipitous conversations with Alan.

In the course of a serendipitous conversation with Alan Casline, I was recently set upon a path of discovery that I am still in the midst of. Alan mentioned that he recalled a glossary that he believed was attributed to "Davey Crockett". Remembering that Davey Crockett had written his autobiography from my study of Scot-Irish history, I queried the Internet Archive for just such a book. I found it, but it was not what Alan or I had been searching for.

So, undaunted I queried the name "Crockett" and found much to my surprise, my Literary Godfather: Samuel Rutherford Crockett.

Who, wrote text in "The Kings English" and dialog in Good Galloway Scots...!!!!

Samuel Rutherford Crockett was a contemporary and friend of Robert Louis Stevenson. In his introduction to "The Stickit Minister", he relates that he wrote to Stevenson during the time that he was confined at the Saranac Lake Sanatorium in Saranac Lake N.Y.

The next thing I did, was to Google Stevenson at Saranac Lake. It seems that the Stevenson Society of America has in its possession, at the Stevenson Cottage Museum in Saranac, copies of his "Moral Emblems". In short: Woodcut illustrations, made by him and published in Switzerland by his then "thirteen year old" stepson while they were there for "the cure" to TB. The same search which eventually brought him to Saranac lake as well.

Blockcuts are Alan's thingee! Text written in Lowland Scots is my thingee! Neat the way things happen like that. I don't know that Alan would say that the hand of God was at work here, but I believe it was and thats enough for me.

To quote Crockett quoting Stevenson: ("Write," you said, "my Timothy, no longer verse, but use Good Galloway Scots for your stomach's sake- and mine. There be overly many at the old tooth-comb!" [sic] "If you do, I'll read every word!" )

And so he did. And so shall I!

Every book I can get my hands on for the last three days!

First, "Tales of Our Coast." Now "The Sticket Minister." and next, who knows!

"Will you, nil you,
you must read-
and every word."

With pleasure!

obeedude 22/Aug/07

Friday, August 17, 2007

The continuing Saga of "the Wan'rer" and the writing of "O' Wasterly Gale."

A diagram of the Monomyth

Gif A o wan'rer aboon wud be.

Cud the Deil bot haud

o mair cautious covenanter frae grace

wi' hiz rowtin mooth?

O' crabbit wan'rer, whan hae ye brung

o mair fasher oure o haverl soul?

B'gaun ye glaikit gowk!

Mae ruckle hairt weel be heard!

Ye'll mak nae wun'in fire here!


It has become obvious to me through the work-shopping of "O' Wasterly Gale" that I have not been transparent enough with the overall intent of what the finished piece will look like. So let me now take a moment to try to clarify, in hope that by doing so, some of you will come to see the method to my madness. I am after all: a Methodist in practice and by nature.

The story of "O' Wasterly Gale" is a microcosm of the Ulster-Scot Culture. The main characters: "The Gilmour Boys" were raised in a section of County Londonderry that was what I will term Tri-lingual. In essence what is meant by this, is that at home until they had attained school age, they spoke "Ullans" or "Ulster-Scottish". When they went to school, they attended the Kilcaltan School a few miles to the southeast of Killaloo. At school they would have learned "The Kings English". Gaelic was not mandatory at this time as a part of their curriculum but would have been spoken in the area at the time. In school the English trained Schoolmasters were very insistent that they not speak "The Ugly Tongue" that was their native and natural speech. Hence, they developed a tri-lingual way of interaction with the world at large. When they were in school, or in the presence of authority they spoke and wrote "The Kings English". If however they were among familiars, they spoke the mixture of Ullans and Gaelic that they had been reared to. At times in their writing even, their native speech seeps through. This was the first clue that made me dig deeper into their linguistic speech patterns and finally led me to discover the dichotomy of their language skills.

Now, It was never my intent to write a "Popular Novel" such as Steven King or J. K. Rowling would write, and I have from the beginning intended to create a document that accurately portrays the life that they lived, it was therefore a conscious intent on my part to tell the story through their words in their way. To this end I endeavored to teach myself enough Ullans to write the dialogue in their native tongue. As they wrote mostly the way in which they were taught in school, I chose to write text in English. You who are reading this right now, read and write in English. You the reader are therefore not a familiar. Hence, dialogue in Ullans among familiars, text in English not among familiars. At a later point in the novel when faced with others in Manhattan, and therefore America, they will also speak in their best English at appropriate times when confronted with non-familiars and/or authority.

It is also quite apparent to me that the readership for this work will consist of Academics, people of Ulster-Scots heritage with a vested interest, the Ullans speaking population of Northern Ireland and perhaps some of the Scottish population.

Again, I do not consider myself to be a "Popular Novelist". It is the intent of this work to convey some "answers and keys to the self" as Stephen King would say. A compelling and truthful account of what life for these people was like. It is based on the letters of my ancestors which have been handed down to me through four generations of familiars. Familiars who read, spoke of, and found some sense of self reflected in the struggle and sacrifice of their forbearer's.

The Arc of the complete work, will follow, and does actually parallel, what Joseph Campbell in his seminal work "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" and James Joyce in "Finnegans Wake" termed the "Monomyth". James Gilmour, the main character and primary writer of "The Gilmour Family Letters", ventured forth with his siblings from his world of common day Killaloo, Northern Ireland, into a region of supernatural wonder: America of the 1850's and 1860's. Along the way he encountered the forces of that day and time-period. He struggled to make a new start in Manhattan and eventually enlisted in the N.Y.S.M. as a private, in what was supposed to be a short term decisive rout of the "Sesch" at the start of the American Civil War. In part he did this for the money and guaranteed three square meals. But in truth he did this because he was an idealistic youth, in search of "The Glory" of war and boon to be obtained there-from.

During his journey and quest he experienced many things, the awe of the adventure, the splendor of sleeping in the "Congress Hall", the flurry of the (first) Battle of Bulls Run, and visiting "John Browns Prison-Cell" at Harpers Ferry. Along his journey from encounter and to experience with many of what has become the stuff of history and legend, he collected and sent back to his brother Robert "Relics" of "the sacred soil of Virginie". Without giving away too much of the novel, he did and said things that just can't be made up. The experiences that he had leading up to his possible death at the Battle of Fair Oaks were authentic, real, and the stuff of family myth. I say possible death because all accounts of his death are at best second and third hand. Everyone who could have verified his actual death has long ago gone to their grave.

As it happens, towards the end of the war, a certain James Gilmour dug himself out of Libby Prison at Richmond and returned to New York, to eventually become by the time he died in 1915, a Plumbing Supply Salesman.

Listed in the 1869 NYC directory right next store to Robert Gilmour's Cooperage is one James Gilmour doing business selling Collars.

In the novel I intend to treat these persons as one semi-familiar, who may or may not be the actual James of the letters. A kind of spectral personage of James in the form of a cousin that Robert feels bound to by his desire for James to be alive. In other words: the Hero returned to the World of the Living, back from his mysterious adventure in the Land of the Dead, to bestow boons upon his fellow man. This then would complete the Arc of the Hero: separation-initiation-return as outlined in the magnification of the Monomyth formula.

Pretty dry stuff? Many think so, still others think not. Time, and the persistence of my own quest, will determine if the fire of the forge, produces metal tempered to match the forces aligned against its completion, in a form the voices of my ancestors will receive gladly.

obeedude 17/Aug./07

Again, as I posted before:

*Ullans: "Ulster-Scots" is basically the same as "West Central Scots" (the language of Rabbie Burns), a Germanic tongue of common origin with English. Scots is the most defining characteristic of the Ulster accent, most Ulster-Scots who have visited other parts of the English speaking world will testify that more often than not, they are mistaken as being from Scotland rather than Northern Ireland. While broad Ulster-Scots is only spoken in the more rural communities, everyone in Northern Ireland uses Ulster-Scots words and phrases in their everyday speech.
Source: www.theulsterscots.com/speech.htm

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Fratellis Live!

Don't know why it took so long to post this....

The last best thing the kids and I did for vacation, was go to see The Fratellis Live at the Empire State Plaza, at the EQX Plaza Alternative Music Fest, Albany, N.Y. on July 21, 2007.

"For Free" (yeah right, I spent as much on T-shirts for all of us as I would have for tickets....)

We had a blast! saraH won a poster and CD, we got several bands EP's and had them all signed. The one she won was by a British band called Switch. It was an I-tunes copy ripped by the radio station... the band members asked her "saraH, how did you get an illegal copy of our record that is not yet available in the U.S.?" Then they wrote that all over the CD. saraH got all of the bands to sign the Poster but Cracker. (we were there all day and left before Cracker, which was fine with the Ol' Fert)

While The Lemonheads were playing, I noticed out of the corner of my eye what looked like The Fratellis quietly signing autographs up front to the left of the stage. Sure enough it was them! We all got our shirts signed and managed to chat with them for a bit as well. I had put my purchased shirt in the car so I had my Scotland shirt signed instead.

(one of them had a lighter that matched my shirt) "Silly Ol' Man", I forgot to take a picture of them with saraH and Mike. Just not used to having a camera phone I guess. saraH was in her glory, Mike ate it all up, and I felt like a 50 year old teenager myself.

If you are able too and watch the YouTube link I have set up here you will see Mikes Green and White striped Hat in the crowd in the lower right. I am dancing next to him and saraH is dancing next to me.

The "boys from Glasgow" put on a great show, and even Mike, who didn't know if he wanted to go at first, enjoyed himself.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Portrait of the Artist as "The Ol' Man"


This is what happens when you are reading Joyce,
and someone mentions Bunyan....


A Pilgrims Regress:

The Lament of a Simple Minded Christian.

He sees the Moon

and Van Gogh's Star

as he stumbles home

tonight, from the Bar

He, who once was

The Lord's Warrior

a Guardian of The Word

now hears the buzz

of the worrier

a Freudian, of the Dirge

A time of Drinking

Out, with "The Bards"

A time of thinking

sometimes, too hard

He, who once was

now feels inferior

fated, by The Word

having a new Cause

a simple writer with

Truths to merge

They talked of God

and "path's not taken"

of Mount's not trod

and Faith, misshapen

He, who once wished

to be Yahweh's Courier

Champion of His Word

now clenches his fist's

and must walk, further

some burden to purge

As he watches the Moon

and Van Gogh's Star

still stumbling home

tonight, from the Bar.