Thursday, February 7, 2013

Flight of the 'Alala

A magical process happens when a story is given to you and upon receipt you know you are responsible for the care of it. Almost every day I visit writer and mythic mistress Terri Windling's blog. I sit with her newest musings on fairy tales and stories, eat my oatmeal slowly as I add the words from Windling to feed me on the journey as storyteller. Like a name given with mana and meaning the story grows with time. In my case the names I was given at birth have a story; each a separate one. My Hawaiian name, 'Mokihana' is the one which has a legacy that could only be understood as I aged. Born at a time when the meaning of 'olelo (Hawaiian language) was at best clouded, to know the many meanings of it now is part of the responsibility.

I am in the process of cleaning the bones of the fairy tale I began writing in November-December. It began as a medicine story given to me in doses like homeopathic remedy: I was ill and in need of something ... not a cure, but something. With the editing and cleaning process the tale is being looked at in tinier chunks together with my son, my editor and my collaborator in Hawaiian culture. Together we see and feel the cultural component of the story from two perspectives and with each question posed possible flights of unexpected transport or point of clarity hone the bones. I love this!

Simultaneously I have been making room for a second part of the tale, expanding the character of Pale Wawae Border Witch. Several segments are clattering and laying themselves into story. I'm enjoying the direction and as always when the story is right, I am surprised! I make no bones about my writing being biographical; life influences everything I write. This week as I fly through the swirling winds of dreams while sleeping and delirium as illness takes me up and over out and through I have been visited by the Hawaiian Crow, 'Alala. It all started a few weeks ago when my friend Pam asked me if there were any crows in Hawaii. Without hesitation I said, "No." I was wrong.

Without giving away the delicious further adventures of Pale Wawae, I will leave you with this segment from the newest story, The Joy Weed Journal the private writings of Pale Wawae Border Witch.

 "Do you know the 'AlaLA, Pale Wawae?" Max asked as he took the mug of strong Oolong tea from me.

"I do not," I said. Though even when I said the word it seemed familiar. I sat in the rocking chair facing Max and sipped. Too hot. Cautious of the baby, I set the tea on the glass-topped wicker table and let it cool.

"And, Alala?" Shifting the emphasis on the vowels, the word was different and right away I knew it.

"Sure, Alala is the name of the road where Bunny and Chucky live. In Lanikai back on O'ahu." My first cousin "Chucky" was Charles Kaulana Wawae and his wife Bunny, was Bunny Roberts. Flashbacks to Alala Place. Scenes I rarely allowed while awake. A time when it was I who was the Faceless Woman lit up scenes behind my eyeballs.  Now was not the time for remembering. I willed the memory away and listened to Max's voice.

"It is the same word, but in the Nowadays pronunciation is lax. The word is 'AlaLA with the accent on the final syllable. It is the word, the name, of the Hawaiian Crow. A crow, a bird that is now extinct in the native places." Max paused and looked to me for any connections newly made on my part. None yet. I cocked my head, and the kahuna began his story.
The beautiful video above comes from Hawaii, its title influenced this post and I suspect will influence the story and private writings of a border witch.

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