When Christina Greenaway returns to her childhood home, she stops to rest on one particular rock by the small fishing village of Mevagissy, now a tourist destination snuggled along the coast of historic Cornwall, England.
First, she must make her way along narrow, higgledy streets. Below lies the harbor brimming with small private boats. Pilchard fishing once the major industry has all but vanished. Large fishing cartels took over the job and the village now hosts a blend of talented artists, clever craftsmen, small-time fishermen, and lots of fish & chip shops. With its name derived from two saints, Saint Meva and Saint Issey, the ancient area boasts a history of characters as varied as Bronze Age inhabitants to pirates to poets to boxers to bards.
Many of Christina’s friends are gone but she enjoys revisiting this place where she began, where above her favorite rock sits the home of her father. She can feel it behind her without turning around. He died some years ago but emotions well up toward the man who abandoned in her early youth. Her father gave her the greatest opportunity to love, Christina claims. She visited him later in life with the intent to free herself from painful memories—to say goodbye to him on her own terms. Christina thanked her father for the things he had done for her and told him all was well in her life. In that moment, she recognized the look of suffering in his eyes and felt nothing but compassion for him—a gift that lives on and enriches her as a writer as well as in her relationships.
Glancing up at the cliffs, Christina remembers the stories she wrote as a girl. Inspired by the legends of old, she would pen her youthful creations, stick them in a bottle, and throw them to chance. That was before she left for boarding school where she was taught to rein in her youthful fantasies and daydreaming. Her schooling served her well throughout her life. Through various high-profile careers and world travels, the budding author developed a well of creative ideas—stories and characters she would invent—later on when time became hers to command.
“Her father gave her the greatest opportunity to love, Christina claims. She visited him later in life with the intent to free herself from painful memories—to say goodbye to him on her own terms.”
Growing up, Christina listened to the tales of giants, pixies, and mystical creatures common to Cornwall, a place known for its magical qualities with its rugged landscape and magical sun-drenched beaches. One story in particular caught her interest. The story tells the legend of the rivers Tamar, Tavy and Taw.
In this story, according to Cornwall’s Wonderland, by Mabel Quiller Couch, two gnomes (or in some accounts, spirits of the earth) lived under the earth rather contentedly going about their practical ways of life. But then, they had a daughter—Tamara—a beautiful, golden-haired sprite who wanted nothing to do with their dark caverns and earthy practices. Despite parental warnings of impending doom and certain death by giants, young Tamara would sneak up to the moors to catch butterflies and spend her hours soaking in the sun.
One day, Tamara met two giant brothers named Tavy and Tawridge. They both fell in love with the delicate creature. Her father became so angry when he saw them confessing their undying love to her that he turned Tamara into the river now known as the Tamar. Tavy and Tawridge also sought magical transformations into rivers so they could forever flow alongside Tamara.
Christina fulfills a childhood dream as she continues the tale of Tamara and her giants in her new novel, The Brilliance. Tamara, spirit of the river, serves as a guide for the human family. If you cross her river and your face shines on her waters, she may escort you into a sacred future. The River Tamar runs between Cornwall and Devonshire and another legend states that the devil himself wouldn’t cross the river into Cornwall for the fear of ending up as pasty filling.
“There is energy in a legend, a consciousness in the legend itself,” shares Christina who tells of her own journey, her own arrival in another land where the world was a whole new experience full of wonder, hope and awe. In her case, she wasn’t travelling from under the earth to above. Instead, at nineteen, she stood on the deck of the Queen Mary as it docked in New York City. She found giants of another sort and took her first step into the “world,” far from the small fishing village, far from the solid, craggy rock on the Mevagissey shore.
New York City was merely a beginning for the young Christina who would use her talents in fashion and advertising, and in many other venues as she pursued her love of travel. Her adventures fueled the urge to write and shape the characters and plots growing in her creative well—surfacing now like a bottle bobbing in the ocean below a high cliff waiting for the eager fisherman to pluck it from the waters and unfurl its mystical contents.
Christina Greenaway has published a book called “Dream Chaser,” A Novel That Reaches Beyond the Veil of Time, about the life and love of one Sara Jensen who faces difficult choices as she moves through human and mystical realms. Christina is now working on “The Brilliance,” a novel based on the legend of the River Tamar. More information on her current writings may be found at www.christinagreenaway.com.
Thank you Christina, for sharing your Story with us.
Our Stories and pictures are the sole copyright of their Authors and may not be reprinted or used without their permission.
© 2010 by Sarah Peppel and Story of My Life®