Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Calling All Seanchaithe

Thank you to Brigid who visited my new blog and taught me an awesome word when she left this comment: "you are a true seanchai (pronounced shan-key) who kept family and village stories alive through an oral tradition. They never wrote them down, just kept their audience spellbound."

I'll stay active here posting about general issues relating to writing, editing and publishing, while my Shadows blog will be more specifically geared to those who want to write from life.

Are you a seanchai? Or perhaps you can sense seanchaithe in the shadows whispering stories to you? If so, come join us at From the Shadows to the Page.


  1. Hi

    Great word! And I bet it sounds lovely spoken with a lovely irish accent!

    For some reason I kept reading it as sensei - maybe they're related?

    Take care

  2. Here in Ireland we're all seanchaithe (that's just the plural of seanchaí, literally a teller of old things), i.e., we have a lot to tell. We are ever so delighted to be told stuff back. ( I found you through A Novice Novelist - hello!)

  3. mise, hello and welcome! And glad to know the plural (I'll just guess at the pronunciation lol)

    Debs, and I bet you're a wonderful storyteller, which is why they keep coming back for more!

    Kitty, yes too bad I don't have an Irish accent. I would really like that.

  4. Very cool word. Thanks for introducint me to it. :) I've always loved the idea of the oral storyteller.

  5. It will be interesting to keep track of both blogs.

    I use the wealth of material from my family for my fiction, but I wouldn't write a history about them. There are too many gaps and it would hurt too many feelings. I've been considering a memoir about substitute teaching, but I need an "ending".

    I love the word "seanchai" - I'm going to have to remember that one!

  6. Love that word and I feel those voices every so often. I'll check out that link!

  7. What a beautiful word and a beautiful concept. Thanks for sharing.

  8. It is a great word, isn't it? I agree with Mise, Ireland abounds with them!

  9. Yes Mise is right. I lived in The Gaeltacht - An Rinn,and we had a festival for seanchaithe and sean-nós singers. It was wonderful. My grandfather was a wonderful seanchaithe and musician. He loved the story so well, he started one of the towns newspapers.

  10. Ann, thanks to you and Mise for teaching me the plural. And I do know how to use the plural, even in Celtic, I am an editor after all!

  11. Great word! I am not a seanchai. Ideas only come to me when I write.

  12. Thanks, Karen, forgot about the sean-nos singers as mentioned by Ann, where they sing their stories, I wont be trying that with my singing voice.
    I remember when at university studying global story-telling and remember that a lot of Irish customs were similar to Native American customs as regards passing on stories.
    Also remember listening to a module on 'rap singers' and they are essentially doing the same thing, passing on their stories through song.
    Put up a link to you today on my blog as we have a real surge in interest in genealogy here in Europe.

  13. Brigid, I read your post and it was awesome, thanks so much! Yeah, I won't be singing my stories either lol!

  14. Great new word...I'm going to try and use it in a sentence today.

  15. I don't think qualify as a seanchi but I'd love to - such a cool word!

  16. Ooh, a new word. I like new words. I don't think I am a seanchi but I am a villager. :o)

  17. Nice! What a great word. Thanks for sharing!!

  18. You are the winner! Come on over to my blog or email me christine(dot)danek(at)verizon(dot)net
    Let me know your selections.