By Jess Reece
From my very first report card in school, my parents were told that I loved telling stories. Some were true, some were obviously made up, but one way or another, every single year, every teacher I had mentioned my knack for storytelling.
You might say it was something I was born with.
My mother is a second generation Irish immigrant, with her grandfather immigrating through Ellis Island. Our family is lucky enough, perhaps, to have fully documented the travels and trials of the Daly family, originally Ó Dálaigh. Out of curiosity a few years ago, I researched the oldest information I could find about my Irish heritage.
With Saint Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought it especially fitting to share something I discovered: my Irish heritage comes from a long line of educated, bardic families of the 12th century that claimed descent back to the High King of Ireland from 400 AD.
Okay, so all of that might seem like a boring history lesson, but to me, it was as if history itself was reaching out to my heart, singing my body electric, so to speak, knowing that generations of my kindred not only prided themselves on fantastic storytelling, but in fact were greatly sought after in various royal courts, to entertain county chieftains, and perfect their dynasty as a family of bards–natural storytellers.
I wrote my first story at four years old, in fact. It was quite thrilling, a tale of a little dog who finds a spaceship and flies to the moon. I still have that paper, stored in a special shadow box to preserve it for (my own) posterity. I’d like to think that I have improved since then, and certainly hope that readers feel the same.
There is something deep within my soul that longs to tell stories. You see, they live and breathe and grow and love and die within my mind. Some people write books and tell their characters what to do, but I feel more like a scribe than anything else, documenting the acts of the characters that live their lives in my head. In fact, my poor husband has on more than one occasion found me crying at my computer, and when he asks what’s wrong, all I can say is “I didn’t know that character was going to do that!”
Saint Patrick’s Day, despite its controversial history, is a day that many people like to claim that everyone is Irish, and I don’t begrudge them that — after all, I am quite proud of my Irish history. The secret I carry, however, is that I can claim a particularly unique Irish pedigree. I was born into the secret power of telling stories, of tapping into the hearts of the characters that I share with my readers, and when I find other authors with similar superpowers, I find my tribe all over again (even if we don’t share a common name).
Jess Reece, Author
Photo Credit: By Lorddaly – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67844136