by Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke, heroine of “The Blonde Samurai”
As I write this posting on a gray, rainy day, my mind filled with thoughts of faraway places and the smell of fresh salty air from the sea hitting my nostrils, I shall quote from my soon-to-published memoir, The Blonde Samurai, about the two lands that continue to intrigue me.
Ireland. And Japan.
As I wrote in my memoir:
“A maudlin homesickness seeped through the layers of my silken kimono and made me yearn for the times when I was a girl back home in our white frame house surrounded by woods, Da and Mother and my little sister, Elva, gathered around the wood fire on cold nights, eating cream cakes and listening to my father tell tall stories about what it was like back in Ireland when he was a young man during the potato famine some thirty years ago.
“The small market towns, the bogs, the deep hunger that lived in his bones. How he met my mother after trekking miles and miles through a wide green valley to find food at a landowner’s manor house, only to be turned away—and how he rescued a pretty, young girl from the hands of the laird of the house, the devil himself.
“He married his Ida and together they came to America to build a new life. Such a grand tale it was, God bless him, told with all the melancholy and angst and picturesque squalor as only an Irishman can tell it.
“It oft brought tears to my eyes, but more so tonight as I write, an ingrained want for the comfort of those times taking hold of me and in doing so, showing me a truth that lay hidden under the folds of memories covering my soul.
“Yes, I’m writing my memoir about Japan, but I believe the spirit of these two lands is linked by their similar traditions of family and ghosts, greenery and rain, gods and rebellion. It was the latter I identified with the most, this rising up from oppression and fighting for the very blood of your soul to find the truth, no matter how painful.
“What truths did I seek, dear lady reader? An answer comes quickly to mind. I yearned to shed that part of me that hovered in the shadows, waiting to experience life, so hungry was I for a physical love, my body and imagination aroused.”
‘Tis a charming thought, is it not? If nothing else, the very idyllic dream of uniting these two lands in my heart makes it easier for me to choose the setting where I have found the peace that I sought…
But am I in Ireland or Japan?
Forgive me this oft-used platitude as worn as the soles of milady’s dancing slippers, but I pray you read my memoir to find out.
February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai
“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”