“Why the Green Man?” is a question I am asked constantly at festivals and talks. The Green Man has been on this journey of life with me for a long, long time. Years and years ago, in a Freshman Creative Writing class, my teacher, Ms. Ruby Griffiths, gave us the assignment to write a prose piece about a color. I was stumped until I had a dream, about a tall, green man walking by my side. In my impressionable, pubescent brain, the dream struck me with wonder and became the focus of the writing piece. It also became a repetitive dream for more than eight years. I didn’t give the dream much thought. It was a comfort to dream about this tall green man. I did not mind dreaming about him on a nightly basis. In my twenties, I discovered there really was a Green Man. I had seen a leafy face, and I was stunned. It was the Green Man from my dream!
The treasure hunt was on. Remember, these were pre-internet days. I spent hours and hours and hours in libraries, searching through books for slivers of information on the Green Man. Inter-library loan took months, but finally, Kathleen Basford’s classic book The Green Man arrived from a University far, far away. I was THRILLED to see and read about the mysterious, foliate faced Green Man. By this time, the dreams had ceased, but I knew, someday, the Green Man would appear in a story. I kept searching. And searching. And searching. My paper files grew thick with Xeroxed pages. My notes continued to grow. William Anderson’s book Green Man: The Archetype of Our Oneness with the Earth came on the scene. Another book about my elusive Green Man. I was thrilled and embraced William Anderson’s philosophy.
The internet began in the early 1990’s. Clunky computers and listservs abounded. I found a listserv of like-minded folks, wanting to know more and more about the Green Man. Artists, writers, songwriters, and people from all walks of life and a myriad of countries around the world shared their ideas about the Green Man. To my delight, there appeared to be a Green Man figure in nearly every culture.
Mike Harding created a most impressive website, with wonderful information on the history of the Green Man.
Answers, at least some answers, to the mystery of the Green Man, were coming to light. The story inside my head and my heart grew and grew. “My” Green Man, for whatever reasons, was tall, fatherly, and very, very wise.
I knew there was a story.
And one day, as luck would have it, the characters for the Green Man Series arrived in my brain. Almost channeled, the story came easily. Birthing The Greening, the Green Man character brought the Green Man of my dreams to life. The Leafing and The Blossoming were born shortly after as the characters of the series are alive and well in the recesses of my brain. The characters haunt me as I work to research and write the historical novel Tides of Blue. The good news is that there will be at least three more books in the Green Man Series. A prequel, Planting the Seed, takes place in the early 1960’s when Sylvia’s grandmother, Holly, meets the Green Man. The fourth book in the contemporary Green Man Series is A New Leaf. Look for these in late 2018 and 2019. The Green Man, the representation of birth, death, and rebirth, will continue to live on in stories, sculpture, art, philosophy, religion and historical speculation. The Green Man lives on!