“A mermaid has no tears; therefore she suffers so much more.”
Hans Christian Anderson, author of The Little Mermaid
It seems that with Anderson the ultimate authority on mermaids has spoken, but as the protagonist of my brand-new work in progress says: "Let's face it: where does this intelligence come from? A nineteenth century inventor of fairy tales isn't a particularly reliable source of information. Has he done any scientific research on the topic, like inviting twenty mermaids plus control group into his lab to read them sad tales or poke them with hot pins? Probably not. And even if he had managed to catch one in her natural habitat, submerged she surely could have wept a whole ocean unnoticed."
Tears or no tears, Anderson's romantic story about an ill-fated fishtailed princess has been one of two major sources of inspiration for my women's fiction novel Foam On The Crest Waves. I started writing the book in August 2014, at the peek of my obsession with sea glass (the second source), which some people, astoundingly, also call mermaids' tears.
By this time my own collection, gathered at the shores of Victoria, BC, already burst at the seams. A few month prior, I had joined the Facebook group SeaglassLovers, comprised of beachcombers from all over the world who share photos of their fabulous finds and recommend the best locations. There, I learned about the places every sea glass aficionado has on her bucket list: the towns of Seaham in England, Davenport in the USA, and of course, Fort Bragg in Northern California — home of the legendary 'Glass Beach' that was to become the magical centrepiece of Foam On The Crest Of Waves.
Daily I overdosed on pictures of 'surf gems' and the musings of like-minded females dreaming of being fishwomen (popular quote: Always be yourself. Except when you can be a mermaid, then always be a mermaid).
above: Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California
below: some of my finds from Victoria, BC
I never tire of the symbolism sea glass provides — the trash-to-treasure, brokenness-to-healing journey it has accomplished.
I also fell in love with sea glass jewelry, especially the pieces shown below (created by a lady in Spain and available in her Etsy store PalmerasDesign). They are exactly like the ones my protagonist makes — how strange :) Looking at them I feel as smitten as Saralyn in chapter two: “They’re so lovely. Adorable. Just awesome!” (and I'm saving my pocket money for a sea horse as well). And what does Jeremy say about his daughter's work: "Stunning pieces, fit to be worn in the presence of royalty." Exactly.
Photos © PalmerasDesign
All this thrown together proved to be a powerful mixture and resulted in the story of wannabe mermaid and sea glass jewelry maker Abalone Macklintock and her family. I hope very much you will enjoy it.