Cynthia G. Neale

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Cynthia G. Neale

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Born
in Albany, NY, The United States
January 07

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June 2009

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I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York state where I climbed trees and sat on their wide welcoming branches to read. I dreamed of word making in a magical and lush landscape. The many waterfalls throughout the area sang stories of the original natives. The Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral wrote, "No, I don't believe that I will be lost after death. Why should You have made me fruitful, if I must be emptied and left like the crushed sugar canes? Why should You spill the light across my forehead and my heart every morning if You will not come to pick me, as one picks the dark grapes that sweeten in the sun, in the middle of autumn?"

Our ancestors cheer us on...the Celtic mind believes there is a thin line between life and death. I want
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Cynthia G. Neale There's a last-gasp, egotistical pursuit to be published and it's very easy for anyone to publish a book. Make sure you aren't compromising yourself a…moreThere's a last-gasp, egotistical pursuit to be published and it's very easy for anyone to publish a book. Make sure you aren't compromising yourself and the real writers. Find out if you are a writer. Everyone should keep a journal and use writing for therapy, but not everyone should write a novel. If you come alive in no other way than when you write, pursue the craft with all your passion. This means to write each day if you can, read, read, and read, and go to conferences, find a mentor, a writers' group, meditate, cry, and then re-write and re-write. And then look into how to get published, but only then. Unless, of course, you want to write sloppy prose just to see your name in print. "Better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self" ~ Cyril Connolly(less)
Cynthia G. Neale Norah McCabe, the protagonist in NORAH: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York, came to me as a child of thirteen in my first …moreNorah McCabe, the protagonist in NORAH: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York, came to me as a child of thirteen in my first children’s novel, The Irish Dresser, A Story of Hope During The Great Hunger (An Gorta Mor, 1845-1850). I had been roused to read all things Irish because heretofore I hadn’t been privy to the knowledge of my Irish heritage. As a writer, The Great Hunger period of Irish history grabbed me by the heart and wouldn’t let go. There was a message, a gift, that had been given to the rest of the world through music, literature, dance, and spirit. There have been horrid “ethnic cleansing” periods in world history, and this event (the worst disaster of the 19th century) was indeed the same.
The only knowledge most American students learn is from high school history texts, “Over a million people perished in Ireland from the loss of the potato crop.” John Walters writes, “Surveys, I’m told, indicate that the Irish people do not want to hear about the Famine. But it is also precisely why the subject must be talked about until we remember the things we never knew.” As a writer with a heart beating fast in learning Irish dancing, as well as my history, I knew this was a subject that would become the vehicle for a story. Tom Hayden writes in Irish Hunger, “There are unmarked famine graves in all of us.”
In 1997, although working on other stories, I felt compelled and inspired to write a story set in this time period. I was dancing one evening at an Irish pub and looked up at the well-known poster titled, “Irish Dresser,” which is in every pub in Ireland and in a few pubs in this country. The poster is of a photograph taken in the 1960s of an 1800s Irish dresser (comparable to what we know as a china cabinet). On the dresser, there are china cups, a photo of JFK and the Pope, and a red hen scratching on the floor in front of big cupboard doors. As I danced, I imagined a young girl suffering from hunger and tragedy, but dreaming of a better life when she climbed inside this place of refuge, her hiding place, and place of hope. Norah McCabe eventually travels across the sea to America hidden away in this dresser. After I wrote the first book and found a publisher, I thought I was finished telling her story. But I couldn’t leave her on the shores of America, and I also learned through genealogical research that there was a real Norah McCabe who had come from Ireland to NYC in 1847!
I had a few epiphanies that convinced me I was writing about a real person who had lived during this period. And so I wrote Hope in New York City that continued her story of survival in her new country, a country that despised the Irish immigrant. And then once again I assumed her story was over, but my heart was still being clutched and I felt the stirrings of a young woman’s dreams and struggles. And the more I read about New York City and America during the years prior to the Civil War and post massive immigration, the more intrigued I became. It was a time of Abolitionism, the Nativist Movement, and the Women’s Rights Movement was in its heyday. There were uprisings, bank runs and crashes, riots, violence, and xenophobia.
I imagined the child, Norah, becoming a vibrant and determined young woman who desires to desperately climb out of her Irish skin as much as she wants to keep it. She doesn’t want the limitations of her race and dreams of success, but still longs to return to Ireland. The two children’s books about Norah McCabe convinced me she still had a story to tell and so I trusted her to continue her story through me. And so she did!
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Average rating: 4.14 · 136 ratings · 46 reviews · 5 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Irish Dresser: A Story ...

4.28 avg rating — 47 ratings — published 2003
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Norah: The Making of an Iri...

3.98 avg rating — 46 ratings — published 2011 — 7 editions
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The Irish Milliner

4.09 avg rating — 23 ratings3 editions
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Hope in New York City: The ...

4.17 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 2008
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Pavlova in a Hat Box, Sweet...

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings
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More books by Cynthia G. Neale…

Comment on My Transcendent Journey with Queen Catharine Montour by cynthianeale

In reply to Kathleen DeRoos Nolan.

Are you kidding? No finesse, but perhaps in the finished product. I’m a big baby so much of the time, no matter how old I get. You…a woman with a heart of gold who went to the Ukraine…now that is amazing!

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Published on September 17, 2022 09:00
Thirst: A Novel
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Cynthia Neale Cynthia Neale said: " A tale of a wild child orphan in a mid-Victorian London slum with all its depravity and vice morphs into sorrowful victory of spirit and a surprising course of events. Love, as dysfunctional as it can be, is still passionate and real amongst the char ...more "

 
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“I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.”
Daniel Hillel

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