Derek Landy’s Resurrection Tour 2017 | I Attended A Book Signing @ Easons Dublin On 6.08.17!

Hello hello hello! Throughout my time in Ireland, my classmates and I wrote and workshopped a number of short creative nonfiction pieces about our time there. When given the prompt of “arrival,” I spun it into an essay about waiting in line (for hours!) to meet my favorite author, Derek Landy, and the moment when I finally arrived at the head of the line.

I eventually expanded that piece and connected it with another one about Dublin Pride, with the link being how much I missed my best friend and wished she were there with me for both experiences. I’ve removed the part about Pride since you’ve already seen it, but left the transition in. (I hope it’s not too jarring!). I’m so proud of this essay. I had a wonderful time meeting Landy and writing/revising this piece so much really helped me to further process the experience! 

I was only minutes away from being face-to-face with my favorite author. I had arrived at Derek Landy’s book signing hours earlier and waited, with varying levels of patience, as the long line of his fans snaked in and out and around the shelves of the bookshop, slithering ever closer to the table where the author himself sat.

He looked just like he did in the author picture in the back of his books – blocky glasses, messy red hair, rumpled clothes – and yet somehow seeing him in person was entirely different.

He had a deep, booming voice and an even deeper laugh. I didn’t know what he was laughing about, but I did know that he had laughed during his conversation with each fan who stepped up to meet him.

As excited as I was to be there at that exact moment, I couldn’t help but wish my best friend was right there with me. I missed her – and besides, as the person who had recommended Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series to me all those years ago, I felt she should be there with me. But she was in Germany right now on a study abroad program of her own.

I would make it up to her, though, by buying her a copy of his latest book. We’d been anticipating it for months, from texts back and forth as soon as the title was announced to a blurry, giddy Skype call when the cover was revealed. Imagine our joy when we realized my time in Dublin coincided with his book tour. All I had to do was hop on a bus to headed from the UCD campus to downtown.

That was this past winter. Now it was June and I couldn’t believe the moment was finally really here.

My thoughts were interrupted as Derek Landy, finished with the previous fan, turned toward me in his chair. Suddenly, there in front of me was my favorite author.

One of my favorite pictures from the evening !

“Your turn! Hello there!” he boomed out.

I set my stack of books down on the table and shakily inhaled. What I wanted to say to him, what I wanted to thank him for, could probably fill the pages of a small book, but I was still too dazed to say much. I wanted to say that he had inspired me to not give up my dream of writing for children, that his books brought my friend and I closer together, that his stories made me laugh even during some of the most depressed times of my life.

Instead I stammered out, “Hi, you’re my favorite author, could you please sign my books?”

He signed my battered copy of his first book (Skulduggery Pleasant: Sceptre of the Ancients) and my pristine, just-bought-today copy of his latest work (Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection).

His scrawl was now one of my favorite things he’d ever written.

Because it was addressed to me.

Behind me, those who were still in line chattered on, eager for their turn, their voices rising with excitement as though a chorus stood next to me.

Derek peered at the Post-It note inside the third book, the one with a different name written on it. “Who’s M?” he asked.

I beamed. “My best friend! She recommended your books to me years ago. I’m getting her Resurrection as an early birthday present.”

He wondered why she wasn’t here with me, and I explained that she was in her own study abroad program, just a few countries away in Germany.

“Well, it sounds like she has good taste in books!” he winked. “I’d love to meet her someday. You should bring her to another signing.”

“That’s the dream, isn’t it?” I said, beaming. I’m talking to my favorite author as though he were a long-time friend, I thought. This is so ridiculous it’s unreal. But Derek had that way with people: He struck up a conversation with each one as though he’d known them forever. It made the lines at his signings move incredibly slowly – I’d been waiting for two and a half hours just to get up to the front – but it was totally worth it. He made everyone feel special, laughed at their jokes and comments in such a way that everyone came away feeling on top of the world.

“Do you want a picture?” Derek asked. He hammed it up for the camera, striking a Charlie’s Angels pose and inviting me to do the same. I’d seen him do the same with every person before me, somehow communicating a look-at-us-we’re-partners-in-crime vibe that felt new to each fan no matter how many times he’d repeated it.

Again, as happy as I was to be there, I wanted my best friend there with me. She’d been reading his books ever since she was a little girl, one by one as they were released, while I hadn’t started them until I was almost seventeen, by which point the Skulduggery Pleasant series was complete and I was able to binge-read. I felt she deserved this opportunity more than I did.

As soon as I left the bookstore, I texted her pictures of the event and told her just that.

This wasn’t the last time I wished M was on this trip with me…

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Doctor Who… Even Has Time To Watch TV?

Here is something surprising: The series ten finale of Doctor Who has come and gone but I’ve still only seen the first episode of this latest series.

Here is something still more surprising, at least to me: I somehow haven’t heard or seen any spoilers regarding all those episodes I haven’t seen.

It’s not that I’ve given up on the show. It just wasn’t top priority on my list of Fun Things To Do™. I fully intended to continue watching after the first episode, but then I got crushed under a mountain of schoolwork. And then I had finals. And then I was home for a few weeks, madly packing for Ireland and grieving the death of my cat and adjusting to being back home. And then I was in Ireland studying abroad and didn’t want to spend my free time there watching a show I could watch at home.

I used to be really big on watching each episode as it was released, often along with my brother. I posted reviews co-written by various blogging friends and myself. This time around, though, I just haven’t been interested in that.

I’m still interested in the show, though. I love how Capaldi plays the Doctor. I love Bill! I can’t wait to see more of her and see how her character arc progresses. I’m curious to see what Missy does in this series. I’ve seen glimpses of Things in the trailers that have me excited to see what happens next.

And, of course, once I’m all caught up I’ll be prepared to watch the Christmas special! I can’t believe Twelve’s run is almost over; he’s easily one of my favorites. (After Nine but ahead of Three, probably?)

But, yeah. I want to finish the series, post some mini-reviews, talk about my thoughts on the newly-cast Doctor (!!!). And continue to marvel at how I’ve miraculously avoided even small spoilers up to this point.

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The Familiar & Not

Yesterday was my last full day in Ireland and I spent it on a bus tour all by myself – to Giant’s Causeway, the Dark Hedges, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Belfast… I’d talked about going with friends, but they were all sick. Or sleeping. Or packing. Or finishing up homework.

At the last minute, I decided to go anyway. I’m really glad I did, because all that alone time was the perfect opportunity to get some thinking done.

Mostly, I thought about all that was familiar and all that was not.

At this point, I had been in Ireland for six weeks. How fitting that, on the very last day, I should venture to somewhere brand new. Just when I had gotten used to the way things were, I decided it was the time to change things up.

For a start, traveling alone here was new to me. That’s just not something I did for any major distance – any trip outside Dublin. In Dublin, sure, but outside of it… not yet. Having so much time to sit and think quietly while on any trip was new to me.

As we drove up to Northern Ireland, this place I didn’t know, I recognized some of the names on the road signs. They were locations I had been before: Drogheda, Monasterboice. We drove through a tunnel leading out of the city that seemed oddly familiar and then I realized that I’d seen it, although not traveled through it, on my very first day in Ireland, on the way to where we were to stay on the UCD campus.

I sat on one of the basalt columns at Giant’s Causeway and gazed out at the sea breaking against the rocks, I thought about how relatively close this place was to the city. Ireland’s tiny; it doesn’t take very long to drive anywhere. I could have been spending the day in Dublin, a place I knew, with people I knew, but I wasn’t. I’d chosen to come here. I’d seen too many pictures of this location to count, but I’ve never heard of the legend our bus driver told us as we approached the site, the story of how Fionn mac Cumhaill built the causeway.

Then there was the Belfast accent! I thought by now I could understand Irish people fairly well, but the Belfast accent is a different beast altogether. To me it sounded like someone doing an exaggerated impersonation of a Chicago accent AND a New York accent AND a New Jersey accent AND a Boston accent. It did not sound Irish, not in the least bit. I could piece together what was being said, though, because we went on a mini-tour of some of the murals depicting the 1916 Easter uprising and the Trouble and I knew what those were. I’d learned about them in our classes.

And as we drove back into the city after a long day, I remembered the street we traveled on the longest. I hadn’t been there in more than a month, but I recognized it as the one we had traveled up that day we arrived in Dublin. I remembered the huge trees, of what species I don’t know. They were beautiful, though. And that park. And those soccer fields. I remembered all of it, It was both familiar and unfamiliar to me: Familiar because I recognized it, but unfamiliar because it certainly wasn’t a place I’d spent very much time in.

Until that moment, the name of that street had been unknown to me. I knew something yesterday that I didn’t know six weeks ago, though, which is that the street signs are on the buildings, not on poles at street corners as they are in the US. Now that I’ve gotten into the habit of looking at the buildings for help navigating, it was easy to learn where I was. Mystery of the beautiful, shady street I remembered from day one? SOLVED.

(It’s Drumcondra Street Lower.)

Yesterday I felt such a hodgepodge of feelings. I was proud of the city and I was proud of myself for Knowing Things about the city, even if I don’t know much. Even if there is still so much more to learn. (Which means I’ll have to go back, obviously.)

I was so happy to be here and so sad, too, because I knew I would be leaving soon and I wasn’t ready.

I was disoriented,* too, because here I was so far away from my friends and from my home for the summer, in places where it was hard to wrap my mind around the idea that this landscape is here on Earth and not on an alien planet, that this is my own first language being spoken no matter how different and sometimes incomprehensible it was, that I was having a lunchtime conversation with someone else on the tour group I’d only just met but already reminded me of my mom.

*I wrote “disorientated,” WHICH IS NOT EVEN A REAL WORD, at first, and caught the mistake just now. Guess those Irish people and their ways of speaking are rubbing off on me.

Here’s to experiencing the familiar and the unfamiliar at the same time more often. I know that when I return to Ireland (listen, friends, it’s wHEN not iF), it will feel similiarly new yet old, different yet the same, familiar yet familiar. And I know that when I land in… according to the little screen on the back of the seat in front of me, just over five hours, the country I was born in will feel new.

As if I’m experiencing it for the first time. I’m not even going to say that that’s ridiculous, that I shouldn’t feel that way. I think I should. Because I like that feeling: The one of not knowing something in a place with which I thought I was familiar. And I want to feel it again.

P.S. Since I need wifi to publish this and won’t have wifi until I’m back on the ground, I’ll have landed by the time you read this. But right now, I’m writing this from 30,000 up in the air because I have an eight-hour-long flight ahead of me and need something to keep me busy so my Anxiety Brain™ doesn’t make me dissociate from pure nerves. Anyway… super excited to land in Chicago and soak up the SUNSHINE and WARM WEATHER that I’ve missed so much during the cold Irish summer.

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Dublin Pride 2017, Take Two

Hey guys! I know that I already wrote about going to Dublin Pride a few weeks ago, but in a later post I also promised to show you a longer piece I’ve been working on for my writing workshop. This was for an assignment about weaving in historical context. I’m really glad I picked this topic because I learned so much while writing it! The project sent me to places such as the Irish Queer Archive of the National Library of Ireland and back issues of the Irish Times… and, well, you know how much I love me some Good Old-Fashioned Gay Research™.

Trigger warning for mentions of homophobia, violence, and slurs. 

The pounding bass of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” vied for attention with equally loud Beyoncé tunes as rainbow flags rippled gently in the breeze. Hundreds of conversations went on all around me as parade-goers figured out where to meet up with one another when the afternoon was over.

One of those strangers squeezed past me, elbowing me in the side in their hurry to get somewhere – a better location from which to view the parade, perhaps. My stomach flip-flopped at the thought of being surrounded by so many people: What if I was separated from my friends, who were far better than me at navigating this city?

Normally, I would do everything in my power to get away from such a situation. As an introvert with social anxiety, crowds and loud noises are definitely not ideal. And yet that day, June 24th, there was nowhere else I’d rather be. Yes, the crush of people was distressing to me, but I was determined to stick it out, even if my anxiety about crowds sent me into yet another panic attack. I’d longed for the weekend when I would go to Pride with my friends from the study abroad program. Now that that time was finally here, I wanted to make the most of it.

Standing on Cuffe Street, decked out in glitter, multicolored leis, and rainbow suspenders, I cheered along with everyone else – a crowd of some 30,000. Although it was not my first Pride, it was my first such event in a large city.

Although the crowd that day was small compared to that of some other Pride parades held around the world, the size and scope of the event had certainly grown from its origins in 1983, when just nine hundred people had turned out. It was hard to believe that so much had changed for the Irish LGBT community in just thirty-four years.

Pride parades had been held in various locations worldwide since the first one in New York City in 1970, but Dublin’s first Pride parade was held in response to the killing of Declan Flynn, a young gay man who was murdered in Fairview Park in September 1983.

According to an article published in the Irish Times on March 9, 1983, one of the killers told the Gardaí, “We were part of the team to get rid of queers from Fairview Park. A few of us had been queer-bashing for about six weeks before and battered about twenty steamers. We used to grab them. If they hit back we gave it to them.”

When Flynn’s five killers all walked free after having been given suspended sentences, many in Dublin celebrated, regarding it as a sign that the neighborhood was being ‘cleaned up.’

Judge Seán Gannon was quoted as saying, “This could never be regarded as murder.”

As I stood in a patch of sunlight – rare even during the Irish summer – it was difficult to wrap my mind around the idea that Ireland had made so much progress in a relatively short amount of time. Earlier that month, Ireland had elected their first gay Taoiseach, or prime minister: Leo Varadkar. For a still staunchly Catholic country where homosexuality was still a crime only twenty-four years ago, this was a monumental event.

In the minister’s own words, “If someone had predicted back in 1992 that one year later homosexuality would be decriminalized, or that twenty-three years later gay and lesbian people would be legally able to marry the person they love, or that two years after that a gay man would be elected Taoiseach of the country, then I think they would actually have been derided.”

He then congratulated Irish citizens on their contributions toward equality for all, saying that “I don’t think that I have changed things for you; I think people like you have changed things for me.” The fact that he was able to utter those words at all, as the now-prime minister of a country with such a past of homophobia, was a sign of immense progress.

And yet, the parade also reminded me of how much work there was to be done. One of my favorite floats that day, covered in flowers and drawings of men kissing men and women kissing women, bore the words “EQUAL MARRIAGE NORTH AND SOUTH,” reminding me that Ireland was a country still divided in many ways. As I gazed at the mass of people flowing past me in all directions, my heart warmed at the thought that all of these people, no matter how much work lay ahead of them, had faith that things would change for the better.

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How’s My Year Going So Far?

We’re just past the halfway point of the year. What better point to pause and take stock of how 2017 has treated me thus far? My dream since the beginning of this year has been to make 2017 a better time than 2016 was, but sometimes I need a reminder of what exactly I’ve done and where my life has taken me. So let’s get started.

I haven’t read nearly as much as I would have liked, especially compared to how much I’ve read in years past. Between college, which keeps me busy and working hard, and depression, which strips me of much of the motivation I have left after studying day in and day out, I just can’t seem to find the time.

I’m trying to look on the bright side, however: Although I’ve read only twenty-two books so far, there have been some really good ones, including:

  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Black Panther, Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Citizen by Claudia Rankine

I read a poem per day in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. This little routine quickly became one of the things I most looked forward to doing each day! It definitely gave me a deeper appreciation of poetry and I can’t wait to repeat the project next spring. I loved poetry as a kid but hadn’t read any of my own volition in the longest time: It was just something I read when I had to for school. So, it was nice to see that change.

The best movie I saw this year was far and away Moonlight, which I get emotional thinking about even now. Some of the other movies I’ve enjoyed in 2017 include Hidden Figures, Wonder Woman, and The Little Prince.

I made the dean’s list this spring, which made me incredibly happy. I worked so hard last fall and was crushed to find out that I somehow hadn’t earned the grades necessary to make the dean’s list.

I kept up the same studying routine I had developed in the fall, encouraged and motivated by all the lovely people in the studyblr community. I enjoyed all my courses, even though some were quite stressful at times.

In fact, today I got an email from the head of the philosophy department recommending that I pursue a minor in the subject since my professor had mentioned how hard I worked and how much I “engaged with the material.” I’m not going to do that, but it was still a huge confidence boost to see that someone noticed how hard I worked. All those long Saturdays of reviewing concepts really paid off!

I recently added a third major: Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies! I’m so so so happy because I’ve wanted to triple major since high school but my advisor and I didn’t think that would be possible until recently. It’ll be a lot of work, but is totally doable.

In January, I began working for my school’s English department as a student ambassador. This means that I come in for a few hours once a week and talk to high school students (usually juniors or seniors) and their parents, who are there to tour the college. I talk about my experiences, give advice, answer any questions they may have, et cetera. I really enjoy it and am looking forward to doing it again this fall!

I made some wonderful new friends, mostly in my classes this past semester. I seem to have a knack for befriending seniors, which then leads to sadness when they graduate and aren’t around town anymore. I’m going to miss them so much once school starts up again this fall, so thank god for texting!

I also strengthened a number of friendships that I thought couldn’t get any stronger. Take my roommate, for instance: Although Bridget and I got on like a house on fire from the minute we met, we grew even closer in the spring semester. I’m sure I’ll like my new roommate, but it will be so weird not living with Bridget this fall!

I got back in touch with still other people after a long period of both of us being busy with school, work, and life in general. SHOUT-OUT TO MERRIC IN PARTICULAR HI IF YOU ARE READING THIS I ENJOY OUR CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CATS AND MENTAL HEALTH AND GAY SHIT VERY MUCH. I love those friendships that accidentally go dormant for a while and then pick right back up again like it’s been no time at all.

On a less positive note, I made the tough, but ultimately right, decision to cut some people out of my life altogether. After the hell of 2016 I was ready for a fresh start. Plus, the beginning of each new year is so symbolic to me and I felt there should be a clean break to signify the different between one year and the next.

Honestly, it has been such a good decision to get rid of such toxic people. I mean, if my insides twisted unpleasantly every time I saw them, surely that was a sign things were not right? But I put up with that for so long because, I don’t know, some relationships go on and on out of habit more than anything. More than actual appreciation of each other.

I started keeping a gratitude journal on January first. This project didn’t go quite as planned, since it fizzled out somewhere around March or April, but it was amazing while it lasted. I’d like to pick that habit back up again eventually. Would definitely recommend to anyone who’s considering it!

I undertook the #LoveMe challenge in February. Dedicated to self-love and mental health, the series of prompts spawned a month’s worth of posts from me where I got to know myself better. I’d like to think I have higher self-esteem now?

My New Year’s resolutions are going OK. As usual, I made three: Set aside time to hang out with friends, take my Her Campus responsibilities more seriously, and be kinder and gentler with myself and with my mental health. Working on all of those, to varying levels of success.

I began taking escitalopram, the third antidepressant I’d tried, in February. I’m so grateful that it took only a few tries to find something that works, because god knows I need all the help I can get. I am planning to email my psychiatrist about increasing the dosage once I get back from Ireland and have access to a pharmacy with American medications, though: He said I might need to adjust the dosage over the summer, and to just let him know before I do so. The escitalopram is still working, just not quite as well as it did at first because I’ve gotten used to it.

I feel like I’ve written more fiction so far this year than I have at the same point in years gone by. Most of this can be chalked up to my writing workshop, I think. Over the years I’ve come to realize that I love creative nonfiction more and this is reflected in the type of writing workshops I usually sign up for. This spring, however, I took a course on literary retellings and impersonations. It was a blast and prompted a bunch of fun little pieces!

I continued to volunteer with the Iowa Writers’ House, co-leading meetings of the LGBTQ+ subgroup every two weeks. I also kept attending meetings of the fantasy and science fiction group. I miss my friends there so much and can’t wait to be back this August! As much as I love the friends I’ve made in writing classes at college, I’m so grateful my community of fellow writers has expanded just that much more.

I’ve traveled quite a bit so far in 2017 – well, maybe not a lot for some people, but a lot for me. I jumped at the opportunity to visit DC for the Women’s March on Washington in January and I’m still in disbelief that I was there, I was actually there. I know I’ll never forget that experience.

I attended MBLGTACC for the second time. It was wonderful to make new friends and reunite with some of the people I met last time! Here’s to hoping I go next year, too.

Last but not least, I was accepted to a six-week study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland. I’m so proud of this, because just getting there required a lot of work: I had to decide that I was ready (and that my writing skills were too), send in all the necessary paperwork on time, submit writing samples of a quality that would impress the application committee, and so on and so forth.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my trip so far and only wish that it were longer! I’m flying home this Saturday and know that I will miss this country so much. (Maybe I can convince my parents to take me back lmao… I think they’d like western Ireland, since it’s very quiet and mountainous.)

I made a summer bucket list for the second year in a row! Last year’s list made my summer plans 100% more focused and I have to say that this year’s is going quite swimmingly as well. I accomplished everything under the “study abroad” category in addition to several of the other items on the list.

My cat died in May, just hours before I came home for the summer. I miss him so much. At least several times a day, I find myself getting excited about cuddling him when I get home from Ireland, only to remember that he’s not around any longer. He wasn’t very old for an indoor cat. It seems impossible that he was alive and well as recently as spring break, the last time I saw him, when he climbed up into my lap while I was trying to edit a piece for my retellings/impersonations workshop. I wish I’d let him cuddle with me more. I was always scolding him for jumping into my lap, because from there he’d try to crawl onto my laptop, typing gibberish with his tiny fuzzy paws as he wandered around.

There you have it: My year.

But wait, there’s more! With just over five and a half months left until 2018, there is still plenty to do. I’m looking forward to starting my junior year of college (!) as well as celebrating my twenty-first birthday (!!!). I’m super excited for all of the classes I’ll be taking this fall. The new Star Wars movie will be released toward the end of the year and I’m so psyched for that, too. And of course we can’t forget that THIS HERE BLOG TURNS SEVEN IN OCTOBER. (How?!)

As for things that I hope will happen: I’d like to get a job where I can pick up more hours. I’d like to continue attending group therapy meetings through my school’s counseling service. I’d like to blog regularly. I’d like to pick up photography as a hobby again.

I have high hopes for the rest of the year’s reading, too. When I have free time this coming semester, I’d like to find a better balance between reading and writing because, as relaxing as writing is for me, reading is just as important.

Seeing all the things I’ve done so far this year listed out was immensely reassuring. Lately I’ve been feeling tired, depressed, and stuck… but I think sitting down to write this post has helped me to get unstuck. It proved to me that, no matter how much I may sometimes feel otherwise, my life isn’t static. I am making progress and I am moving forward. After all, if I’ve already done this much in such a relatively short amount of time, who’s to say I can’t do and be more?

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Español & Gaeilge

That means “Spanish & Gaelic” in those respective languages, in case you didn’t know.

From the moment I arrived in Ireland nearly six (!) weeks ago, the language seemed oddly familiar. I chalked it up to jet lag – maybe I was so tired that I was noticing similarities that weren’t really there? – but I kept hearing them everywhere.

Turns out that Spanish, my second language, has a number of words originally from Gaelic or other “undetermined Celtic sources.”

Oh.

This is fascinating to me, not least because I’d somehow never heard of this before: It wasn’t mentioned in any of the many Spanish courses I took, or if it was I wasn’t paying attention. (Which seems unlikely, since I worked my butt off in those classes because I cared as much about actually learning and retaining the language as I did about earning good grades.)

I mean, it makes sense, since Ireland really isn’t that far away from Spain. But… I always forget how tiny Europe is. How easy it is to encounter a group of people speaking an entirely different tongue after traveling not that great of a distance.

It’s made me quite fond of Gaelic, tbh. I probably would’ve become fond of it soon anyway, due to spending most of my summer here, but that little link to Spanish, a language I’ve been studying with varying levels of intensity since I was in elementary school, made a big difference.

I’ve never been homesick here – I left that feeling behind, for good I hope, when I was about sixteen – but it was definitely comforting to find the similarities. They’re like long-lost twins, sometimes, in their eerily similar patterns: “Conas ta tu?” is “how are you?” in Gaelic, while “¿cómo estás tú?” is the same phrase in Spanish.

(I realize I’m biased here since I’ve studied Spanish for so long and am quite familiar with its spelling patterns, but that part of the language seems so much more logical to me than Gaelic does! I’m like 98% sure that Gaelic words were created by keysmashing and were then assembled by five extremely drunk people who didn’t consult each other for input at any point in the process. But I digress. Gaelic pronunciation is a fucking trip.)

The strangest phenomenon I’ve noticed, which gave me the idea for this post in the first place, is that sometimes that accents sound similar. To me. I don’t know if anyone else has picked up on this, but sometimes when I overhear people speaking in another room or just down the street, I can’t tell the difference: Occasionally I’ve mistaken Spanish or English spoken with a Spanish accent for Gaelic or English spoken with an Irish accent.

Well, maybe not the accent, exactly, but… ahhh, I don’t even know how to describe it. The intonation? The way they pitch their voices, rising and falling, the stresses put on one syllable but not another.

And then I’ll peek around the corner and realize that the people I thought were speaking Gaelic are actually the custodial crew, who are all young people from Spain.

I love it. I’m going to miss it so much when I leave.

 P. S. This will be the first of three (four?) posts related to things that surprised me about Ireland. As cheesy as it sounds, every day is a surprise: Today’s surprise is that the Cliffs of Moher tour my friends and I will be on at the time this post is published includes a side trip to Galway. I was there last Sunday as part of the writers’ retreat but was super sick so spent most of my time trailing miserably after my friends. Several antibiotics and nasal drops later and I’m all better – very happy to be going back since I thought I’d wasted my opportunity and didn’t expect to have the chance to see that city again for a long, long time.

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Local College Student Parodies Fairy Tales | Singles Ads

Hey everyone! Time for the final installment of snippets from the portfolio I created for the end-of-course assessment in my Literary Retelling & Impersonation class. Today’s pieces are singles ads and, while I’m quite happy with all the fairy tale retellings I wrote last semester, this bunch is definitely my favorite. So much fun to create!

You can check out my previous retellings here, here, and here!

Enjoy!

TWENTY-SOMETHING MAN SEEKS WOMAN MISSING A SHOE

Me: A twentysomething prince, very fit, enjoys horseback riding and chamber music. You: Petite, blonde, soft-voiced, seemed in a hurry to leave, lost a glass shoe while on a midnight stroll around the palace grounds with me. I have your shoe. If interested in reclaiming it and possibly going out for a drink, please call (098) 765-4321.

YOUNG WOMAN SEEKING HIRSUTE GENTLEMAN

Single female, 20, looking for a life partner. Muscled and hairy guys only, please. Must enjoy long romantic walks through the woods and visiting the elderly. I will be at the Fairytaleville Bar & Grill this Friday from 6 PM until midnight. You’ll know me by my red hoodie and gregarious demeanor.

LONELY SORCERER SEEKS A WIFE

A scholar of the magical arts, 45, currently the sole occupant of a lavish home on the outskirts of Fairytaleville. Desires the company of a beautiful young woman, preferably the eldest of several sisters. Applicants must be in excellent health, non-smokers, and willing to live in relative isolation at my majestic estate. Contact me at b.fitcher@hotmail.com.

WOMAN SEEKING MAN FOR LONG, ROMANTIC WALKS ON THE BEACH

Quiet, 24, has great legs and red hair. I live in a luxurious house on the beach and am looking for the right man to share it with. Only men who also have great legs need inquire. Applicants must enjoy swimming, long companionable silences, and collecting gadgets, gizmos, whosits, whatsits, and thingamabobs. Feel free to visit me at 118 Scuttle Drive if interested.

FROG SEEKS FROG

Young attractive green frog seeks same. I am looking for the man I lost, who I have been led to believe is still in the body of a frog. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, preferably both as humans. If not, we can share a lily pad and raise tadpoles together. I currently enjoy leaping and ribbiting, although when I was human I most enjoyed cooking. If interested, go to the swamp and ask for Tiana.

LOOKING FOR A WOMAN WHO CAN GUESS MY NAME

My ideal woman is the daughter of a miller. I wish for nothing more than to raise children together and plan to provide for them with the not-insignificant income I earn spinning straw into gold. I reside at the inn above the Fairytaleville Bar & Grill; ask the front-desk clerk to fetch his most strikingly handsome tenant. I eagerly await your response.

SEARCHING FOR A MAN WHO WILL SHOW ME THE WORLD

Who am I? Just a lonely princess who longs for adventures – a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view. A dazzling place I never knew, if you will. Am willing to travel by any means possible, including over, sideways, and under. Men who dream shining, shimmering, splendid dreams need only apply. Contact Princess Jasmine at the Agrabah Palace!

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