Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mermaids in Black Folklore

The following press release was sent to me by the primary contact listed at the end of the article. Please contact her directly if you have any questions. The press release makes for interesting reading, even if you cannot attend the event.

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“Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore”
City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Historic Charleston, SC
On view August 28 through October 28, 2012
Opening Reception Sept 8th, 2012  6pm to 8pm

The fiberarts exhibition Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore showcases a wide array of art quilts and art dolls that will explore some of the visual cultures and histories of mermaid myths that comprise part of the vast and uncountable "school" of African water spirits.

At once beautiful, protective, seductive, and dangerous, these water spirits are celebrated throughout much of Africa and the Afro Atlantic world.

Countless enslaved Africans forcibly brought to the Americas as part of the slave trade carried with them their beliefs, practices, and arts honoring their water spirits and deities. These water spirits are emblematic of the ultimate journey back home to Africa and all those distant yet living ancestors.

It is believed that some of the first tales of mermaids and merwomen were brought to America by Africans enslaved along the coast of the South Carolina Low Country.

Today, reestablished, revisualized, and revitalized in the African Atlantic, black mermaids emerged in new communities and under many different guises.

African-based faiths honoring these manifestations of black mermaids continue to flourish in communities throughout much of the Americas.

"The fine craftsmanship in Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore is griot* in nature,” says Curator Cookie Washington. She’s brought together both critically acclaimed and emerging fiber artists.

“Each piece is a storyteller, using color, texture, form and embellishment to express a narrative.”

What does Pliny the Elder, First Century AD, Bartholomaeus Anglicus, Christopher Columbus, the first three enslaved Africans brought to the South Carolina Low Country, Henry Hudson, explorer and discoverer of the Hudson River and the current Water Resources Minister of Zimbabwe have in common?

They have all seen mermaids!

Contact: Torreah Cookie Washington
Curator- Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore
Phone 843 259 8108

* The word "griot" is a west African word that means story teller or keeper of the history. Because many tribes were griot in nature, very little of the history was written down. The stories of the tribes and of the family was passed orally from one generation to the next.


Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mermaid Marina

Welcome back to my blog about all things mermaid! Today, we travel across the Atlantic Ocean to have a chat with Mermaid Marina. This mermaid loves working with children, and she has some cool ideas for future adventures.

Cynthia: Hello Marina, please tell us about yourself.
Marina: My name is Mermaid Marina and I live in Devon, UK. I have spent a lot of time researching mermaids and making my mermaid tails and would love to do more mermaiding from now on. I am a secondary school teacher by day and love working with young people. I have a passion for mermaids and have been inspired by so many mermaids from all over the world.

Marina - Susan Knight Studios
Cynthia: How and when did you discover that you were born to be a mermaid?
Marina: I have always been fascinated by mythical creatures, in particular mermaids, for as long as I can remember. I think my imagination as a child was always ‘not of this earth’ and I would play with flower fairies, unicorns and mermaids for hours – I was never into Barbies or make-up, but any toy with a link to the mythical world and I was there! My most significant memory, when I really truly found my mermaid soul, was when Disney’s The Little Mermaid was released. I went to Australia when I was 10 and it was given to me as a birthday gift – I watched that video so many times I knew all the words to the songs before my holiday was over! Having bright ginger hair as a child was difficult as I often got bullied, but seeing Ariel, a Disney Princess, with red hair, I felt a connection and that for me, as a child, was enough to set my passion with mermaids for the rest of my life. It was when my husband took me to Hawaii for our honeymoon and booked me to go on a mermaid swimming session with Dana Mermaid, that spurred my passion to entering the real world of mermaids. She is truly an inspiration to all mermaids in her work protecting the oceans and helping people to realize their dreams.

Cynthia: You do children's birthday parties.  Any special stories to share?
Marina: Oh wow – it is amazing to see the looks on children’s faces when they first see mermaids! Entertaining at children’s parties holds many special moments for me and I love sharing the magic of mermaids with them. They get to see me swim in the pool, share my stories with them and receive a special mermaid necklace to remind them how magical mermaids are. The best thing is their curiosity – asking me so many questions such as ‘What does your toothpaste taste like?’ and ‘Do you and Ariel go on adventures together?’ – they do come up with some classics! One of the most special things was when a little girl took a little purple flower clip from her hair and said she wanted me to have it as I was her best mermaid friend and she wanted to be a mermaid too – that almost made me cry – children are so special and I love this part of my mermaiding life.

Cynthia: Have you been able to connect with other merfolk in your area?
Marina: Yes, I met a very special mermaid friend recently at a Pirates Festival in Brixham, who also lives in Devon.  She is called Mermaid Melody and has just released a children’s book called ‘A Mermaid’s Melody’ about a lost oyster and the mermaid who rescues him. We are hoping to work together for charity and bring some mermaid magic to children and other mermaid fans.

Cynthia: Are you active in environmental work?
Marina: Not yet although this is something I would like to be involved in. Living by the sea, I feel it is important to do what we can to protect it and I think this is something Mermaid Melody and I will be doing more of in the future with our work together. There are some wonderful mermaids out there like Mermaid Melissa and Dana Mermaid who are keen activists in keeping our ocean life safe and I aim to follow in their footsteps in protecting our oceans.

Mermaid Marina - Photo by Susan Knight Studios
Cynthia: Do you do modeling or perform at corporate events?
Marina: I haven’t as yet but this is something I would love to do! I don’t think there are many mermaids in the UK and it would be wonderful to bring some mermaid passion and meet mermaid friends through promotional and corporate events.

Cynthia: How did friends and family react to you being a mermaid?
Marina: They love it! They know what I’m like when it comes to mermaids and faeries so I don’t think it came as a shock when I announced I was making my own tail and entering into the mermaiding world! They are really supportive, especially my mom who helps me to do the children’s parties and create a magical mermaid experience for them. My husband also doesn't mind all my mermaid and faerie pictures and statues all over the house... which is a good thing!

Cynthia: What other activities outside of mermaiding are you into?
Marina: I am a teacher by day so I enjoy planning lessons to find fun ways to teach the youngsters ICT (Information and Communications Technology) but apart from that I have many other hobbies – mermaiding is, of course, my main one, but I also make jewellery (crystal tiaras and shell jewellery), oil painting and drawing, sewing and collecting 1980’s films and memorabilia.

Cynthia: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Marina: I am keen to connect with other mermaids from all over the world. I believe there is so much magic we can spread to people especially encouraging children to look after our oceans and believe in their dreams. It’s about living our dreams and keeping hold of our fantasies.

Cynthia: Thank you very much for chatting with us today, Marina.  Those wanting to connect with Mermaid Marina can find her on Facebook and Twitter.  Swim on by and say hello!

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

News Shell

Photo by Debbie MacKenzie
After swimming in circles for several minutes, I finally located today's News Shell in a bed of seaweed. Seems the news-merboy needs to work on his aim. Join me as we find out what is going on in the seas...

Hannah on Nightline

Mermaid Hannah Fraser recently appeared on ABC's Nightline news magazine. If you missed the show on television, you can watch the video here entitled Real Life Mermaid Swims at Atlantis.

Animal Planet

On Sunday, May 27th at 9pm EDT/PDT in the US, Animal Planet will present the world premiere of Mermaids: The Body Found. These three short videos can be found at the web site:

  • Fisherman catch man in nets?
  • Strange Body Found on Beach
  • Strange Fish Found in Lab Tank

What are your thoughts on these videos?  Are they pulling our tails again, or is there something to them?

Mermaid Minute Update

Mermaid Linden Wolbert has wrapped up the first season of her Mermaid Minute series with episode eleven. As you may remember from an earlier blog post: These short video segments are being created to help teach children about the ocean. They're all here, from starfish to elephant seals to sharks. Be sure to introduce your young mermaid fans to Mermaid Linden and her Mermaid Minute series.

Mermaid Minute season two will premiere this summer.

Robotic Fish

The bright yellow fish in the waters of the port of Gijon, Spain are not what they appear to be. These are actually swimming robots that help monitor the waters for causes of pollution. The task used to be carried out by divers and lab tests, but this took considerable time. The robotic fish can do the job of sampling and testing on its own. Problems can be detected and resolved in a lot less time. Read the full story for more details.


OpenROV is a do-it-yourself community centered around small underwater robots for exploration and adventure. According to their web site, OpenROV kits will be available very soon. The web site is the place to go for more information, and you can sign up to be notified when the kits are available.

The goal of the project is to provide a low-cost tele-robotic submarine that will allow anyone to explore underwater environments.

If you're a mermaid or merman, be sure to smile for the camera!

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mermaid Kylee

In my previous blog post, Mermaid Marie told us how much of an inspiration the Weeki Wachee mermaids were to her.  Today we will be meeting one such mermaid.  Please welcome Mermaid Kylee from Florida.

Cynthia: Welcome, Kylee.  Please tell us about yourself.
Kylee: Hello, I am Mermaid Kylee and I am from a small country town called Kent City which is located in Michigan. But I did not spend my whole life in Michigan because my family owned a home in Michigan and in Florida. We spent holidays and summer breaks in Florida and most of the school year in Michigan. However, when I was 13 I became a signed model for Michele Pommier Management of Miami Beach, Florida and we moved to Florida Permanently.

Cynthia: How did you find out that you were born to be a mermaid?
Kylee: As young as I can remember when I would get into the water, take a deep breath, and swim as far as I could, I would make no splashing noises and would not come up for air. I discovered a very surreal feeling that would allow me to be clam, peaceful and I was able to hold my breath all the way to the other end of the pool. I think then I just knew I was different and the love I had for the water was special. I have always been super fast at underwater swimming and loved being able to swim like the fishes. I think I was born to be a mermaid.

Cynthia: Tell us about Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and your role there.
Kylee: Every year hundreds of girls apply and tryout to be a Mermaid, but only a select few ever are chosen. Then many of the girls that do get picked can’t hack the job, do not stay and never make Mermaid Status because of the difficult job duties and training we endure. Yet, I was a lucky one! I was picked to become a World Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaid and I am going on my fourth year of being a mermaid. It is the best Career! I get to swim in the beautiful spring, put on colorful mermaid makeup, jewelry, and my tail. Then perform for many visitors who come to the park hoping to get a chance to see a real live mermaid. I feel like I get to help make dreams come true for so many mermaid lovers.

Mermaid Kylee - Star Moments Photography
Cynthia: Isn't there is a special event going on there in July?
Kylee: Yes, this is a very special event, July 13-15 is our 65 Year Mermaid Reunion. It is going to be the mermaid event of a life time! People are coming from all over the world to see our special reunion shows. There are hundreds of mermaids who are attending and many visitors. There will be mermaid vendor booths all throughout the park, music, dancing and many fun filled mermaid events.

Cynthia: Are you active in environmental work?
Kylee: Yes, I am very passionate about making a change and helping out youth in today’s troubled economy. There is so many great things going on in the world but so many children are stuck inside their homes and never explore what the world has to offer. It is important to make a difference and help get our youth off the couch, off the computers, away from the television. Children need to enjoy and discover the outdoors. Visit a state park in your area and volunteer over the summer to help keep our state parks beautiful. So many cut backs are happening all over the United States and I just feel if we all helped out just a little it could make a BIG difference.

Cynthia: Are you active in other groups?
Kylee: Yes, I support the foundation of the awareness for Breast Cancer. This is a Cancer that takes so many lives and the best defense against breast cancer is finding it early. I hope to inspirer my fans to support this cause as well and would like to let my friends and mermaid fans know that this is something I feel empowered to promote.  Please help me spread the word to others and give your support to spread Breast Cancer Awareness or for more info please go to the web site for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

I would love if everyone would help share my Facebook page and raise my likes. My page is: Mermaid Kylee ~ Mrs. Weeki Wachee International Mermaid.

If you are looking to find out more about mermaids or life as a Weeki Wachee Mermaid please go to my fan page. I share weekly mermaid videos and special mermaid photos and you can even keep up with mermaid news and what’s up with mermaids around the world.

Cynthia: You were at the Las Vegas mermaid convention in 2011. Did you enjoy your time there?
Kylee: Yes, I enjoyed the Las Vegas mermaid convention 2011. It was a wonderful event! From meeting my fans and autograph signings to the special underwater magazine photo shoots, the VIP Party and so much more. It was a weekend full of wonderful mermaid events. I made many mermaid friends and enjoyed the connection I made with so many mermaid enthusiasts.

I am so looking forward to seeing everyone again and meeting new fans at Mer-Palooza August 10-12, 2012 in Orlando. So please make sure you come get your photo taken with me and I will be signing autographs and will be performing. You will also be able to see The Special Show. I will be performing a dance that will open your eyes and hearts to help find a cure for Breast Cancer!

Cynthia: Do you do modeling or perform at events outside of Weeki Wachee?
Kylee: I am the current Mrs. Weeki Wachee and hold the title as the International Mermaid which allows me to do many unique opportunities in the Mermaid Pageant World. But my sole commitment is to my Career as a Weeki Wachee Mermaid and I do get to attend many events and do some mermaid modeling for the park. I have had the some amazing opportunities with Weeki as a World Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaid; I was able to perform in the Georgia and Florida Aquarium and was on SubaNation and in a music video. I have met people like Larry the Cable Guy and Jimmy Buffet. I am on a post card in our gift shop. I was just at our local Blueberry Festival and was one of the guest celebrities. Today I went with many of my mermaid sisters out to a military base to meet some local military heroes and sit in a military helicopter.

Mermaid Kylee
Cynthia: How did family and friends react initially to you being a mermaid?
Kylee: They Love it!  I have been modeling and dancing for years and I was born to be a performer (my mom always says). They enjoy watching my career grow and be a part of my life.

Cynthia: What other activities outside of mermaiding are you into?
Kylee: During the day, 365 days a year, 3 shows a day… I am a mermaid from 9-5, unless I have a day off. But as soon as I get my legs… I am off to my night time job which is my 2nd love! I own a dance studio with my amazing husband and we teach dance five nights a week to some many wonderful dance students. I have always felt my 18 years of dance training has been a huge contributed to my mermaid career.

Cynthia: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Kylee: Yes, our Tail Mail program. We want to hear from you!! In an effort to promote education, The Weeki Wachee Mermaids are answering letters from all students under the age of 17. To encourage literacy, and is a great way for your child to practice their best penmanship. Have your child hand write a letter to me Mermaid Kylee, or one of my mermaid sisters or prince asking anything about the environment they swim in or anything else mermaid related. Each child will receive an autographed picture of their favorite mermaid. The mermaids will read each letter and the video response will get posted on our Facebook fan page, Twitter page and YouTube channel, so don't forget to click the icons on our web site and become a fan today to see the latest images and news coming from the park. Feel free to have your child include any drawings they may want to include. Please do not choose more than one Mermaid or Prince to write to.

Your child may already have a favorite mermaid or they can choose one from our web site by going under mermaids and clicking the mermaid roster. Just make sure to include:
  1. Name of the child
  2. Age of the child
  3. Phone number
All letters can be sent to:
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Attn: “Tail Mail” Mermaid Kylee
6131 Commercial Way
Weeki Wachee, FL  34606
We look forward to your letters!

Cynthia: It was great chatting with you, Kylee.  Hugs and splashes to you!  Kids, Mermaid Kylee will be looking forward to reading your letters!

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mermaid Marie

Welcome to my 35th blog post!  Today we will be returning to the sunny state of Florida, and having a chat with Mermaid Marie Hart.

Cynthia: Good afternoon, Marie, please tell us a little about yourself.
Marie: My name is Marie Hart and I am employed by Walt Disney World. I am originally from New York State, but have lived in Florida for 18 years. I enjoy visiting the local theme parks, but the greatest joy I get is in investigating all the natural treasures that the Sunshine State has to offer. My favorite spot is Sanibel/Captiva Islands. It is the perfect place for shell collecting, dolphin watching, scuba and snorkeling, and hiking on nature trails.

Mermaid Marie - Photo by Benjamin Gruder
Cynthia: How and when did you find out that you were born to be a mermaid?
Marie: When I was 8 years old my parents brought me to Florida on vacation. One of our stops was Weeki Wachee Springs, the City of Mermaids. I was immediately enchanted by the underwater mermaid show. The girls were mesmerizing, down in that sparkling Spring, doing their water ballet and deep dives. When I got home from that trip I took one of my Mom's stockings and created my first mermaid tail. I played the record, "The Little Mermaid over and over again, and acted out the part of the heartsick mermaid. I grew up on the original Hans Christian Andersen version of the story where the mermaid didn't end up getting her Prince. As Fergie sings, "Fairytales don't always have a happy ending do they?"

Cynthia: Can you name one or more of the mermaids or humans that have inspired you.
Marie: As mentioned previously, the Weeki Wachee mermaids have been a huge inspiration for me from an early age. I also admired Glynis Johns who was the mermaid in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid. She was the first mermaid I saw in a movie. In my 20's it was Daryl Hannah / Madison from Splash. Nothing can top this sweet love story! Currently my idol is Hannah Fraser. I admire her for living her dream and being such an inspiration for our young generation by teaching them to honor and care for our Mother Ocean and all of her creatures.

Cynthia: Are you active in environmental work?
Marie: I have donated my time to numerous causes through the Disney Volunteer Group and Disney's Wilderness Preserve. My ongoing passion has been to rescue abandoned/feral cats, having them vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and adopting them out to loving homes.

Cynthia: Have you been to any of the recent mermaid gatherings?
Marie: I was so sad to have missed the Mermaid Convention this past year in Las Vegas. Unfortunately my "Mermaid's Purse" would not allow me to afford the trip at the time.

Cynthia: I see you are going to the Mer-Palooza Mermaid & Pirate Party in Orlando in August.
Marie: Yes. I am so excited to finally be able to meet all the new mermaid and pirate friends I have been conversing with online. To be able to dive in and frolic with so many kindred spirits is going to be a dream come true!

Cynthia: How did your family and friends react at first to you being a mermaid?
Marie: I always blamed my Father for starting it all when he took me to Weeki Wachee Springs and told me I needed to be as graceful and lovely as those mermaids. Now when he tells me "Marie, you need another mermaid statue like you need a hole in the head", I just sing the Disney Little Mermaid song to him- "Look at this stuff, isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's complete..."

Believe it or not, my Dad was the photographer for my mermaid photo shoot at Sanibel/Captiva in my purple neoprene mermaid tail. He finally got to see his daughter in action swimming in the ocean waves! I think I finally made him proud. As for my friends, I think they always knew I was a bit of an eccentric and a restless spirit, being born in the sign of Aquarius. They always say that my mind and soul seem to be in a different world. I have been known to spend the whole day in the water, and when finally coming out, getting totally "Land Sick".

Mermaid Marie - Photo by Miles Hart
Cynthia: What other water or land activities outside of mermaiding are you into?
Marie: I have always loved to sing, which I guess fits right in with my mermaid persona. If you are driving next to me on the road you will probably hear me belting out "Part of Your World" or another tune at the top of my lungs. My favorite mermaid themed song is "Ocean Gypsy" by Renaissance.

Crafts, Photography and Gardening are my favorite hobbies. Halloween is my favorite holiday since it gives me a great excuse to dress up and decorate my house. My very first mermaid costume was made with a pair of green velvet pants, lots of glitter paint, and a scallop shell bra. It won first prize at the local Halloween Parade that year!

I collect mermaids, fairies, witches, black cats and frogs in statues, artwork, etc. My favorite pastime is just enjoying nature while hiking with my dog, Luna. It's the little things that end up being the biggest for me. I still get mesmerized by a dragonfly, the full moon, a shooting star, an ocean wave.

Cynthia: Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Marie: I would just like to tell everyone to live your dream and do what makes you happy. Life is too short to live it trying to please everybody else. Don't let fear stop you from going where your heart leads. And, stop every once in a while to feel the warmth of the sun on your face, listen to the rain, watch a sunset, give someone a hug, and leap into the ocean of life and let your mermaid/merman spirit shine!

Cynthia: Thank you very much, Marie!  You can find Mermaid Marie on Facebook, where you will also find a number of her too-cute animal photos.

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

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Monday, May 7, 2012

SL Mermaid Grace

Today I am chatting with Diane, better known in the virtual world of Second Life as GraceSWF Wrigglesworth, the founder of the Safe Waters Foundation (SWF) group for merfolk and other aquatics.

Cynthia: Hello Grace, please tell us about yourself.
Grace: Let's see, I'm a single woman over 50 that enjoys technology, communicating using technology, animals, the ocean and helping others. My goals do include having full time employment and a committed relationship - both seem to be eluding me thus far. I am a unique person in many ways - it just seems like finding a good match is difficult. I adore the ocean (obviously!) and discovering the ability to being a mermaid in Second Life has brought a great deal of love, joy and friendships into my life. Its also brought some tough life lessons but overall, the package deal to me is good. I am based in Central California but have worked all over the U.S. and a few foreign countries.

Cynthia: How did you get interested in mermaids?
Grace: Well, growing up my fascination was with the ocean (the sound, the smell, the feel of being in the water) and lake water as well. I grew my interest in mermaids in Second Life. I came to second life and joined a role play sim that had mermaids as one of the roles. Being a newb, I wasn't sure how to become a mermaid but one day to my surprise I saw a mermaid flying overhead (very rapidly) and I rushed to follow her and get more information. It was hard, I almost lost her, but eventually she gave me some information. It was still hard to become a mermaid in this new virtual world but with some effort, I did it. The joy of swimming, exploring underwater worlds and dancing as a mermaid - oh gosh, it was joyful! I was hooked on mermaids and just kept discovering more and more as I went along.

GraceSWF Wrigglesworth
Cynthia: Tell us how Safe Waters Foundation came to be, and who it is for.
Grace: Well, it started as a Second Life user group. Honestly, I got "married" in SL and my partner wanted me to give up my username (GraceSWF = GraceSingleWhiteFemale) and I didn't want to lose all my inventory and I liked my name. So one day, with more than a little good humor I created a group called Safe Waters Foundation (I was already a mermaid) without any idea what it was for other than to say - oh noooooo, SWF doesn't stand for Single White Female - it's Safe Waters Foundation. He fell for it and the group continued and eventually found a role.

When the group started getting active, I just dedicated it to helping new mermaids/mermen (I like to call them merms) in Second Life. I started with a little folder of notecards I'd update regularly and give out. Other people started joining, and we discovered the usefullness of group chat for finding other merms. We've got a mission, a charter, headquarters and a number of helpful programs now.

It's no longer "my group" - it really is "our group" - as so many have contributed their talents. So many people enjoy helping others become merm - and there are so many different ways to help. We do a good job of helping overall.

Cynthia: What are your goals for SWF?
Grace: Well that really is part of our mission statement:
  • To assist those considering a mer life.
  • To increase awareness in the general public that there is a mer option.
  • To make mer resources (events, projects, groups, retailers, sims [land areas], designers) visible and easily accessible.
  • To assist, as possible, with the viability of mer resources so they may continue to be available to the community.
There sometimes has been some confusion because of our name - our goal isn't to make the waters safe for merms. We aren't the United Nations for merms - seeking to intervene in conflicts and be the peacemakers. Quite the opposite - I've tried to steer us out of the "wars" that seem inevitably to come up - to let the parties involved solve it among themselves. I've lost friends over this distinction - but I just don't have the desire or the energy to be the peacemaker of Second Life merms.

The other confusion is that some people think that SWF is a Real Life organization - doing environmental actions to make the waters safe and healthy. I wish I was able to raise it up to that, but until now - that is beyond the scope of our little organization.

A personal goal for SWF that I still maintain is a hope to make it more multi-national. Right now everything is in English. I'd like to translate the core support pieces and even have chapters that meet in times that make sense for different time zones. We have one support group meeting weekly that is well attended but very inconvenient if you are in Europe, Japan or Austrailia!

Cynthia: Are you active in helping to save the environment?
Grace: I try to do no harm (not littering, recycling, using biodegradable products and never putting those plastic six-pack holders into the garbage - cut them up so wildlife doesn't get stuck in those!!) but am not a member of any environmental group or proactively trying to make a difference in that area. I would love to do more, but until I find steady employment and my real life stabilizes, I just can't add another layer of confusion to my life right now.

Cynthia: You were in Mexico for several months.  Tell us about that.
Grace: When I was in high school, I trained horses - through college actually and my first job after I got my bachelor's degree was as an assistant manager at a horse ranch. It was a large ranch, understaffed and I eventually figured out that it was a dangerous profession with no health insurance and not a way to build the more stable life I desired. So I stepped away from horses, which were the passion of my life back then. Life is such a journey - I've ended up with a doctorate in business and have reflected back a lot on those years - wishing that I could have done more work with the young horses and utilized some of the training methods taught by Monty Roberts.

A little over a year ago I went to a workshop at Esalen and we were given some time to envision the future life we would choose. Its a powerful exercise - if there were no limits on time, money, or anything needed - what would you do with the rest of your life? If there was a drive-up-window and you could just pull up and tell God what you wanted - what would you order? I ended up writing that I'd like to go to a foreign country not too far away and focus on raising foals the right way - to start them right with respect and gentleness - an ambassador of sorts but righting the wrongs of so many foals that are raised harshly and have lost any trust or respect for people.

About three months later, my sister contacted me - she had a friend of a friend with a horse ranch in Mexico - she was hoping to make a resort out of it and was dedicated to Monty Roberts' methods. My sister connected us, and I ended up agreeing to go out there for room and board - there were verbal discussions and restrictions. I was elated - it seemed like God had dropped the answer to my prayers right in my lap. Ask for it and plop there was the opportunity to do it.

I lasted about three months there I think. I guess the short explanation was there were plenty of different expectations that we didn't explore thoroughly beforehand. I'm not capable of hard physical labor but sure got into a lot better shape - but not fast enough for her. She thought people should eat these terribly small portions of very simple foods - if I ever doubted that I'm into food - eating three months at a subsistence level really convinced me otherwise. It also wasn't safe - the dangers one might think of (terrorist) weren't there because I was in a remote valley that was very isolated. It was more the isolation meant that if I was hurt, there was the potential of it taking over 24 hours for someone to even discover there was a problem. And there was a lot of opportunity to be hurt - the horses were extremely volatile and the ground uneven. I adored working with the mares and their young foals and made a small impact on one generation of horses, but there really is a cultural difference for how people interact with horses there. With my lack of physical strength, it really wasn't safe for me to be around these powerful and extremely spirited creatures. It broke my heart to admit I couldn't continue there. I like simple living but not willing to go quite that much back to the basics. So I returned.

I had always built SWF to be a sustainable organization - not dependent on my personality to be there for it to continue. That philosophy came from some of my international development work in the past. And SWF did continue while I was gone. As you know, Cynthia, you and some of the other officers of SWF stepped up and kept things running in my absence. I was welcomed back with open arms and can see where my personality definitely contributes - but it was gratifying to see how well SWF continued without me.

I came back obsessed with food. I'm trying new dishes, watching cooking shows and just really take the time to enjoy my food much more than I did before the trip. Feed this girl beans and rice for 3 months - it certainly awoke my passion for food into full bloom. Hey- if we have a mermaid retreat - I'll bring the guacamole - I know how to make some great guacamole now.

GraceSWF Wrigglesworth
Cynthia: Have you collected any mermaid or nautical items in real-life?
Grace: Since my last job evaporated (regionalization eliminated the position and I was caught by surprise - did NOT see it coming), I've been on this simplifying gig. I have fewer and fewer possessions - right now I'm going through the storage unit I rented and giving away like 80% of the things I've held on. But what I'm keeping is telling of my true self I think. I'm keeping small household items that are sea based - bathroom accessories that are shaped like shells, some art work, and the few mermaid books you introduced me to. I've read your web page before you started this blog and really have benefited from it. So I don't have a lot of sea items - but I have a few and where-ever I end up I will have some reminders of the ocean close by.

Cynthia: Tell us about your recent visit to the northeastern US.
Grace: Ouch, that is a bit of a painful topic right now. I met someone in SL - and became emotionally involved and committed. Yes, I think you can learn to love someone in SL.  We met in person along the Atlantic Ocean Coast. Now he has a lot of nautical items!  But its tough going right now and may just not work out. Relationships require two people to want to be together sincerely.

If both parties are open and honest (a big IF),  I do think the online world allows you to get to know someone "from the inside out."  You talk and react to each other without the distractions of physical interactions. Going to meet them in person is really a different sort of adjustment. You have to be concerned with safety (and we were) and yet at some point if it is going to proceed you have to step out and risk.

I'm resilient and will cope however this turns out.  I think though if this partnership isn't meant to be, I'm going to deal with it in Second Life as I do with most things - with humor.  I've created a nun mermaid outfit (which I'm wearing) and have started another SL group - Mermaids of the Broken Heart. We'll be celibate by choice, be spiritual - maybe read some books together. I don't know - is there a need for mermaid retreats?  There must be other mermaids like me, wanting a relationship but still single. Focusing on that (with a bit of a chuckle) will help me heal I think.

Cynthia: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Grace: Oh, some gratitude I guess. I'm grateful for the multiple merms that have invested so much talent (and money) into making SWF a successful endeavor. You are one Cynthia, but I'm not going to go and list them all, as I'm sure to forget someone. This SWF has given me the opportunity to lead and has given me more confidence in my abilities - I just hope that gets reflected into real life and I find a way to harness my good heart and mermaidy tendencies somewhere.

I am embracing myself more and more - less apologies for my weirdness (hehe no I won't share those) and more celebration when things come together. I am grateful for Second Life and the opportunity its provided me - some lessons have been painful but I'm proud to say I'm learning. I wish I could get Second Life to hire me to help the newbs. We are doing that with mermaids - so well and in so many ways. Hey Lindens (pointing at self) - look - I've demonstrated my abilities - why don't you respond when I send my resume? (now imagine a mermaid splashing about and trying to get an landlubber's attention.)

And some humility. I come inworld and feel special and treasured and important because of my involvement with SWF and friends mostly. I think I get a little self-centered at times - it comes with being more self confident and setting some limits. You know - I wrote a list of the values of SWF that are built into our charter. One of them is "balanced lives with RealLife first". I struggle not to over-invest in my Second Life activities as avoidance is one of my coping habits - not always at a healthy level. But I rein myself in - taking SL breaks and making sure I'm doing the things in real life that need doing.

Online time doesn't have to be unhealthy - I think many of us reclusive sorts prefer to express ourselves in this form. I prefer to be a mermaid and have a lot of my friendships online and over emails and Skype. I don't see how this is any less healthy than those people obsessed with those noisy race cars - or whatever sport brings them joy in life. There is a bit of a stigma I think in online life - but so many people today are doing it. I highly recommend it if it bring you joy. But do it with balance and keep life in perspective.
Whatever that means to you. There - sage advice from an ancient mermaid. Grace is full of joy and is the mermaid side of me.

Thanks for interviewing me. If anybody wants to hire me - my email address is gracewrigglesworth (at) - lets talk!

Cynthia: Thank you very much, Grace: for all you do for the SL merfolk population, and for taking the time to chat with me today!

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Many of you have seen a number of mermaid themed movies, often more than a few times. I know how you are! Yet, there are still a number of merfolk that have yet to see Splash, one of the mermaid classics. What follows is part of my collection of mermaid films. Most are well known, but you may see a few that you've never heard of before. Links to web sites where you can find more information will be given for each film.

Aquamarine (2006)
After a sudden storm hits the coast of Florida, two teen-age girls befriend a mermaid they find in the beach resort pool.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Fishtales (2007)
On the Greek Island of Spetses, a widowed Classics professor is doing research to preserve his research grant. Meanwhile, his young daughter is doing a bit of matchmaking.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

The Little Mermaid (1998)
The Disney classic about a young mermaid princess that falls in love with a human prince. Sequels are Return to the Sea (2000) and Ariel's Beginning (2008).
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Mermaid Got Married (1994)
A Chinese film about a mermaid that rescues a young school teacher from drowning, and quickly falls in love with him.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Mermaids (2003)
Three mermaids head for dry land in an attempt to revenge the death of their father by a fisherman.  This made for TV movie was filmed along the Australian Gold Coast, and H2O fans will feel right at home.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Miranda (1948)
A young married doctor discovers a mermaid while on a fishing trip, and agrees to show her London.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)
While vacationing in the Caribbean, Mr. Peabody falls in love with a mermaid. His wife doesn't believe a word of it, and insists he see a psychiatrist.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Night Tide (1961)
One of the darker mermaid films. A man meets a young woman that plays a mermaid in the local carnival. After strange things start happening, the man starts to believe that the woman is a real mermaid with a dark side.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are on a quest to find the fountain of youth, but find they are not the only ones after the prize.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Splash (1984)
This classic is about a young boy that meets a mermaid when he falls overboard off of Cape Cod. As a young man, he finds himself returning to the Cape.  The tail for this movie was made by Thom Shouse, The Tailman.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Splash, Too (1988)
Disney's sequel to Splash has an almost entirely new cast. The story continues as Madison takes on the mission of rescuing a dolphin from the local aquarium.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

The Thirteenth Year (1999)
Cody, the star of the swim team, is turning thirteen.  He is starting to get attention from the girls -- but then he starts turning into a fish around water. Not good when the State Swim-Offs are just around the corner.
IMDB Oo <>< Wikipedia

Note: More titles may be added to this list over time. Let me know if I left out one of your favorites!

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

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