The short story ‘Land of the Breath Artists’ by Wayne-Daniel Berard that appears in our Spring 2015 digital issue. Click to purchase the full issue.
I am writing to you from the Land of the Breath-Artists, and it is everything one could imagine it to be, believe me. ‘Designedly dropt’ in the very center of this compact but diverse ecosystem, The Land reminds one alternately of a Mahfouz fable where, quite matter-of-factly, the borderless air breathes Koranic verses, and one of Hermann Hesse’s märchen, in which magical ideals press in upon you from the green and gold of a thousand northern linden, and pale, irresistible water maidens you half-recognize as an old school crush or last night’s waitress rise from every stream to stare – or perhaps to sing – for you. You should really be here. To write from this place is to know the obverse of magical realism.
Even as I first arrived at the border (a remarkably friendly experience, by the way), I felt very much at home here, which surprised me. How many of our friends would feel at ease if they were suddenly dropped at the gates of their father’s Galway City (where there is no green beer, and the thick brogue fills your ears like sopped peat!), or if they were to turn and find themselves alone on a street in (gasp!) darkest Sicily – just them, the shadows, and their “Italian Stallion” tee shirt?
WAYNE-DANIEL BERARD teaches English and Humanities at Nichols College in Dudley, MA. An adoptee and former Franciscan seminarian, his birth-search led him to find and embrace his Jewishness. Wayne-Daniel is a Peace Chaplain, an interfaith clergy person, and a member of B’nai Or of Boston. He has published widely in both poetry and prose, and is the co-founding editor of Soul-Lit, an online journal of spiritual poetry. He lives in Mansfield, MA with his wife, The Lovely Christine.
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