Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SWANS: My Thoughts for #WriterWednesday

Swans have long held a particular fascination for me, possibly because of an early presentation of the ballet performance, Swan Lake. The production that most stands out for me appeared in Montreal, Canada, during my trip to a land of paternal ancestors. Quebec does not first spark thoughts of stage musicals, but more likely of fur trapping or the latest DiCaprio movie, The Revenant. Yet, for me, thoughts of Quebec conjure up feelings of gracefulness and peace represented by swans. Whether white or black, swans cast a beautiful shadow. photo
A second powerful connection in my mind involves the swans of Bruges/Brugge. “It’s in Belgium,” offers a culturally-challenged main character in the movie, In Bruges. Belgium is another of my ancestral homelands. The famous story of the Bruges swans goes back to the 15th century. Legend has it that Emperor Maximilian of Austria was quite unpopular with the oppressed people of Bruges. They revolted, capturing and imprisoning the emperor in a house on Market Square. They did the same for his adviser, Pieter Lanckhais, who was equally unpopular. Pieter was condemned to death. The emperor's life was spared but he was forced to watch the rather brutal execution before escaping and taking his revenge. Until the end of time, he decreed, Bruges must keep swans on all its lakes and canals, and do so at their own expense.
Why swans?
The city legend was born because swans have long necks and the Dutch word for “long necks” is “lange hals” or “lanckhals”.

ChocoladevanBrugge - The Swans of Chocolade van Brugge
While visiting relatives in Boston, you can imagine my excitement at seeing two beautiful swans in the Public Gardens lagoon at Boston Common. Two swans, always only two swans, and always named Romeo and Juliet. Naturally, it became necessary to include them in my latest book, much of which is set in the Boston area. While the novel is entitled Red Blood Homicide, no swans were harmed during the writing of this story!

For more information or to read a sample of Blood Red Homicide:

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  1. Swans are beautiful and seemingly docile creatures unless they are protecting a nest, at a park, and you get too close.

    How cool that you include them in your book.


    1. They are mesmerizing to watch, so graceful. I wasn't aware of their protective natural but it makes sense. Thank you for your comments.


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