A World of Magic
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Next week we observe St. Patrick’s Day when, it’s said, we’re all a little Irish. So, meet Marie Pridgen, born in Ireland, grew up hearing stories about wee people and magical places. She and her husband left The Emerald Isle and moved back in his native state where, wouldn’t you know it, events led her to bring those stories to life. So, a little Irish magic was transported to a land called Absolutely Alabama.
“Deep in the forest there is a very secret place that mortals have heard of, but only a rare few have ever ventured into. It is called Tir Na Nog, which means the land of youth,” Marie reads from her book.
This is a story about believing in things you can’t really see, but if you close your eyes and believe hard enough, you can make it come true.
“When I was growing up, you know it’s so cold in Ireland,” remembers Marie. “We would sit beside the fireplace and my mother would tell me stories about my grandmother’s encounters with the fairies. It was my culture that I was mostly interested in and the fairies and the wee folk and the stories my mother would tell. I had this wonderful English teacher called Mr. Coonan. He said to me, you have the gift. You have the gift of the gab, anyway but you also have a gift for writing.”
After she and her husband met, married, and moved to the United States, Marie was working in Trussville when an unfortunate event turned into a blessing, “I’d broken my leg and I had to be off my feet for three months and while I was laying there I thought, ‘I need to do something while I’m off.’ So, then I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this. Maybe I can actually write a book.’”
So, she turned to those stories of her youth into the magical land of Tir Na Nog and the adventures of a fairy named Morag.
“I had to have an illustrator, and in this book the illustrator was Tina Cargile. She’s from Calera. She did all the beautiful illustrations for me and because of her, she brought the book to life. I wanted people to be able to think, ‘I’m right there.’ I also wrote the book for sick children, especially children that were terminally ill, because I wanted to transport them to another place so that they’re not thinking about their illness and what lies ahead, and I wanted to give them a place where they can go and dream and life forever and there’s no sickness. Nobody dies.”
“Everybody lives forever. It is a beautiful place where magic lives and happiness and health is abundant. If you listen very carefully, you can hear singing, dancing, music, and laughter.”
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