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Emerald Blog: At the Altar of Nature

The Emerald Blog :: Writing Inspired by Ireland

Every summer, Bay Path University’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction writing offers a weeklong Writing Seminar based in Dingle, a town nestled on the Atlantic coast on the western shore of County Kerry, Ireland. Each day throughout the week, Seminar Facilitator Suzanne Strempek Shea gives participants a prompt to encourage writers to investigate new ideas and topics in their writing. During August 2020, we’ll publish our Emerald Blogs to showcase the diverse work developed from responses to Suzanne’s prompts.


From Suzanne Strempek Shea

Jill Lipton wrote this piece at the 2017 Summer Writing Seminar on this prompt:

At the Shrine:
From larger-than-life-sized statues along the road to hidden wells behind a hedge, holy places abound here on the Dingle Peninsula. Write about a trip to, a glimpse of, or an encounter with one of them.

Rich in images and contrasts, this short piece illustrates the writer’s trademark wordplay, humor, and hope.


At the Altar of Nature

by Jill Lipton

I pray at the altar of nature, and have found hallowed, though somewhat cow-pied ground here. Holy sheep. Sacred cows. Consecrated corncrake birds.

At home in NYC my pastoral prayer is pigeon challenged. My spirituality, squirrel subjugated. My sense of divine nature, subway rat tested.

Perhaps time to consider a country house.


About the Writer

Humorist, writer, and over-thinker Jill Lipton was born in Long Island, New York. After a tumbling life that included an MBA from MIT, a semi-meteoric rise in the corporate world, and 10 years as an entrepreneur, she’s now living her dream as a writer in New York City with her husband, muse, and true love, Charles. Her work has been published in “Tiny Love Stories” in The New York Times, in The Boston Globe Magazine, and elsewhere.


Write with us in Dingle next year, July 31 to Aug. 8, 2021. Contact sshea@baypath.edu for full information.

We welcome submissions to Multiplicity Blog (nonfiction prose of 1,000 words or fewer, poetry, and photography) all year. We also accept submissions of longer nonfiction works (up to 5,000 words), poetry or photography for the Fall 2020 issue of Multiplicity Magazine: At Work. Magazine submissions close on September 25, 2020. More details here.