Iona: A New Look at the Very Old

Recently, in my research, I stumbled across a blog I loved, because it was easy to see a number of posts at a glance.  I discovered my platform supports this style and had a decision to make.  At the time, it appears there is no way to keep information clearly visible in the sidebar, which is something I wanted.  However, there's a clear benefit to the reader being able to see at a glance what the variety of offerings is at a site, and choose what looks appealing.

I also like the ability of the viewer to easily choose how they would like to look at the blog.  I like the 'snapshot' layout, so have chosen that as the default arrangement.  However, a click of the button in the upper left takes the viewer to flipcards, magazine style, mosaic, and more.

The sidebar information is not as obvious, but it's still there, if you move the cursor to the right of the screen.  A vertical row of dark gray boxes with symbols should slide out, giving you access to the same information that was on my site before the change--statistics, links to my books, photographers' collaborative, and other sites, and more.

I realized, as I hunted high and low for a good backdrop picture, and discovered reason after reason why various pictures just didn't work with this system.  I expect I will change the background picture now and again, always with pictures of Scotland.  But I have started with the columns in the cloisters at the abbey on the Isle of Iona.

While Amy and Angus, and later Amy and Carol, and Amy and Shawn, do travel to Iona, I am going to give an excerpt, not about any of their trips to Iona, but Amy and Angus's trip to Monadhliath, the mysterious 'thin place,' the monastery that has been home to the monks of Monadhliath since the land was given to them by Malcolm MacDonald, when Niall was just a child--because when I wrote about Amy's walk out through the covered walkway to the church, it was the cloisters of the abbey at Iona that I was really seeing.  Monadhliath's cloisters has a cemetery off to one side, which Iona's abbey does not, but it was largely based on what I knew of Iona.

Her boots brushed the flagstones silently.  Moonlight shone through the window.  Distant chanting echoed down the hall.  A dozen monks appeared from the right.  They turned the corner and filed through a wooden door.  She stopped, feeling like an intruder on something private.  But Brother Fergna had invited them. 
The night snaked icy fingers around her arms, drawing her out into a cold, silver patch of moonlight in a cloistered walkway, empty and silent.  James sighed.  She patted his back.  Mist curled across the grass and twisted like vines up the columns supporting the covered walkway.   
The chanting grew, dozens of basses and clear, floating tenors.  The hair rose on her arms. She continued down the cobbled walk, past a black iron rail.  Beyond it, tombstones and Celtic crosses pierced white mist.  A body floated above the gloam.  Cold shot down her arms.  With her breath coming in cold gasps, she realized it was just an effigy. 

~ The Water is Wide
Book Three of The Blue Bells Chronicles

I think most readers will remember very well what happens when Amy enters the church with James.  It is a pivotal moment for her and for Angus.

Stay tuned for further news of upcoming events: a new Blue Bells book I'm working on (in addition to Book Five, The Battle is O'er), an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and a radio interview on 950 AM's Food Freedom show.

At Gaelic Word a Day, a bit on past tense.

  • February 19 and 26, 2017: I'll be reading on the Vehicle of Expression, part of the Art Shanty Project
  • February 25, 2017: I will co-host Food Freedom on AM 950 with Laura Hedlund and Karen Olson Johnson.  Guests: Michael Agnew, craft beer expert and Ross Fishman on Russian literature.  We'll taste Russian beer: listen to the whole program from last month.

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