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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The House of Words (no. 28), Dave Bonta and the internet, 8 (qarrtsiluni)

Anne Morrison Smyth
in qarrtsiluni

MY: How and why did you and Beth Adams begin qarrtsiluni? What has surprised you along the way?

DB: Beth and I were part of a group of creative writers and artists, all bloggers, who came together to launch qarrtsiluni in August 2005 as a group-writing/publishing exercise. We took turns as editors, two and three at a time, of what were at first monthly periods of writing and creating artwork in response to a theme. The rest of the group ran out of steam by the following June, so Beth and I decided to take it over as managing editors. It gradually turned into a regular magazine, though we've never gone so far as to issue periodic issue-dumps, as other online magazines do, preferring instead to remain bloggish, with new material at least five times a week, and comments activated for every post. To us, this is the best way to get and maintain readers online. I remain surprised by how many other online journals act as paperish as possible, and how many seemingly go out of their way to avoid being indexed by search engines. On a more positive note, I'm also often surprised and touched by how grateful writers are that we've published them — even some very well-established writers, with many books under their belt. I feel at times as if Beth and I are perpetrating an elaborate hoax.

This has always been a sacred place, a place of healing; the chapel and the Saints are quite recent emanations of this. If you walk west from the chapel, past some prehistoric standing stones, into a wooded ravine, you’ll come to the holy well. In mediaeval times it was dedicated to St Tujan, and has been a sacred place probably since the bronze age; Gallo-Roman remains have certainly been found there. People throw the age-old votive offerings of coins into the well. There is a stone cross and other stone artefacts from who know where set up here. A fallen tree covered in ivy forms an arch in front of it. On the ivy stems someone has inscribed the words ‘Cécile tu nous manques’ — ‘Cécile we miss you.’
Who knows who Cecile is or was and why she is missed, but someone brought their sadness, their angoisse to this particular place of power and left it as an offering in these words, a poignant counterpoint to the marble plaques of gratitude.
--Lucy Kempton

* * *
I am one of those writers who has enjoyed appearing in qarrtsiluni. What I like most about it is the responses of readers. I've been pleased and sometimes startled by the quantity and good-heartedness of replies to work. And by the sheer numbers Dave reports as reader views.
              Long may it wave! --Marly


  1. I also am extremely grateful to have been included in several issues of Qarrtsiluni, and I have sent many people I know its way as well.
    Thanks Dave and Beth for your energy, imagination, and generosity.

  2. Yes, thanks to Dave and to Beth Adams for hanging in there and keeping the Looney pages going!

  3. I'm very honoured to be included in this wonderful series! Thanks Marly.

  4. As I've said before, Lucy, your blogging just gets better and better! So I naturally looked for a "qarrtsiluni" piece from you. I love your "travels and walks" pieces.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.