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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3 Things I Learned About My Own Mental Health While Studying Abroad

I’ve learned so much about so many things in the short time I’ve been abroad. Most of all, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

Take, for instance, mental health. I’m in love with my writing program and with Ireland as well, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any rough patches.

Though writing assignments and traveling throughout Dublin keep me pretty busy, I’ve still had plenty of time to just think.

Here are some of the things I’ve realized about my mental health in that time.

1. Jet lag WILL majorly fuck you up

MAJORLY. Chicago to Dublin was my first overseas flight, so I’d never experienced jet lag before and totally underestimated how bad it would be. I also encountered the saying “west is best, east is a beast” for the first time and, after struggling to deal with crossing six time zones, I have to say I definitely agree.

Between not being able to sleep during the flight (because I can’t fall asleep sitting up) and the time change, I was incredibly exhausted the first few days in Dublin. And because I was overtired, I was more depressed than usual… so I took Depression Naps™ in the middle of the day if there wasn’t anything scheduled. This in turn messed up my internal clock* even more, since I had no idea when I was supposed to eat, sleep, wake up, et cetera.

*Don’t even get me started on how the sun rises earlier and sets later here than it does back home. I still haven’t gotten used to that.

2. Having a routine is important

I should have known this, because keeping a fairly strict schedule is the only way I got through all last year of college. But my brain figured that it was, I don’t know, practically like a vacation or something, so I wouldn’t need a schedule.

And besides, when I’m already out of sorts due to depression and exhaustion and a constant state of being overwhelmed because HELL YEAH FUCK YEAH I’M IN DUBLIN, it’s very hard to stick to that schedule.

I’ve been working to change this for the past two weeks or so, however. Making to-do lists, putting myself to bed at a reasonable hour, and more: It’s all important if I want to enjoy my time here. (Not to mention that it makes me a much more enjoyable person to be around…)

Some days it works better than others and I’m really productive. Others, I crawl back into bed as soon as I get home from class even though I told myself that wouldn’t happen again. It really depends. Overall I am on an upward trajectory, though, and really want to end this trip on a high note.

3. Mental illness won’t go away on special days

Mental illness doesn’t care how big or important the occasion is; it’ll be there no matter what. This sounds cheesy, but I think it is absolutely essential to remember that what really matters is how you react to it.

There are days when I wake up and feel like the world is crashing down around me, but I make myself go out and do things because I had something big planned already. Even if doing the thing doesn’t make me feel better, at least I’ll feel different in some sort of way.

My OCD was particularly hellish on the evening of Derek Landy’s book signing, sometimes to the point where I wanted to just go home. But I didn’t, because Derek Landy. Because I had waited for so long already and was almost to the table where he sat. I wished that I could have one perfect night where my thoughts didn’t chase themselves in circles, but that clearly wasn’t happening.

Sometimes, I’ve learned, the best way to handle bad mental health – especially when it occurs on special days – is to force yourself to see the event through. Exhausted, worried, sad, obsessive, or something else entirely, I make myself stay where I am and keep doing what I’m doing.

Easier said than done most of the time, though.

-~-

Does anyone else have experience studying abroad while dealing with one or more mental illnesses? If so, I’d love to hear from you and we can commiserate!

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Things I Want To Do While I’m Still In Ireland

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been having a hard time lately. I became very depressed again, spending too much time alone in my room instead of out exploring. I wasn’t excited for anything anymore, even the stuff I’ve spent ages looking forward to. Recently I’ve felt listless, as though I’ve lost my focus. 

I knew I needed to do something about the situation, but I wasn’t sure what. Then, earlier this week, one of my classmates noticed I was feeling down so we talked about it. I’m really glad we did because not only did it help me to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but we both got to know each other better: We’d had conversations before, of course, since we’ve been here for four weeks now, but never something this in-depth. 

Anyway, one of the things she suggested was making a list of things I want to do while I’m still here, since the time we have left in Ireland is rapidly dwindling. (Two weeks until I’m home! The more I try to figure out how I feel about that, the more confused I become.) Apparently this is something she does when her anxiety gets really bad, to remind her of all experiences she wants to have that she won’t let her mind get in the way of.

So I made that list. I don’t have to do everything on it, and tbh I probably won’t. But it’ll be there to remind me to make the most of the time I have left here. The list as it appears here is actually slightly different from the one I wrote down in one of the notebooks I brought; there are some personal goals and stuff I didn’t feel like sharing all over the interwebs. Also, I may end up adding some things as I think of them.

But… yeah. My goals are a mixture of the profound and the mundane (or even the ridiculous?), but each one serves as a small reminder that there is a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. 

P.S. The items crossed out are things I’ve already done since I made the list a couple of days ago! Yay for progress! Yay for struggling through bad mental health days even though I felt like giving up and going back to bed!

  • Buy a University College Dublin shirt. I’m partial to the green ones.
  • Dún Laoghaire:
    • Go swimming at the Forty Foot. We were there on Bloomsday, but I didn’t bring any clothes I could swim in!
    • Ice cream at Teddy’s. It’s supposed to be divine.
  • Celebrate my friend Savannah’s birthday. This was yesterday, and I didn’t stay out very late because I’m sick again, but she said she had a really great day since it was the first leg of our weekend writers’ retreat in western Ireland. So I’m happy for her.
  • Go back to the Pav. A bar with outdoor seating and a beautiful view of the Trinity College campus.
  • Try Jaffa Cakes. I’m not sure about that orange/chocolate combo, but I’m willing to give it a try.
  • Visit the Trinity College Library:
    • The Book of Kells. A lot smaller than I expected tbqh.
    • The Long Room. AHHH I’M SO EMOTIONAL??? WOWOWOW I NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE.
  • Go on a bus tour of Northern Ireland. I can’t wait to do this on one of the days off we have toward the end of the program! The trip includes Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, and the Dark Hedges.
  • Go on a bus tour of the Cliffs of Moher. I’ll have to give this one some thought, because I’m not nearly as set on going and don’t know if I want to spend any more money than I already have, but at the same time… it looks absolutely gorgeous. According to The Internet, some scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed in this area and that honestly makes me so happy because I hadn’t been sure where those particular parts were shot.
  • Pet some therapy dogs at UCD. I think they bring them in weekly, actually, so maybe I can pet dogs MULTIPLE TIMES.
  • Books to read: 
    • Fauxpocalypse by Dave Higgins et al. I brought this with me on the writers’ retreat in the hope that maybe I’ll finish it once I’m too tired to write any more.
    • The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. Recommended by my therapist and definitely not a breezy book, but I’ve been meaning to get back into the habit of reading before bed.
    • Best-Loved Yeats edited by Mairéad Ashe FitzGerald. Won a copy of this gorgeously-designed book in a contest!
    • Best-Loved Joyce edited by Jamie O’Connell. My novel professor is the editor of this book and gave us all free copies!
    • Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection by Derek Landy. Currently just a few chapters in and loving it!
  • Listen to Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl” while in Galway. Just some silly fun.
  • Have a 4th of July party. With whatever ingredients we can scrounge up from the Centra on campus. They sell hot dogs in a can?!
  • Gay bars to visit:
    • The George. One of Ireland’s oldest gay bars. I would’ve gone after the Pride parade last weekend but I was much too worn out.
    • Pantibar. Looks like a super fun place!
    • The Front Lounge. A bar for gay women!
  • Blog posts:
    • Things that surprised me about Ireland. I’ve kept a running list in my head for the duration of this trip.
    • Irish climate/weather. Somewhat related to the post mentioned above, since there are a lot of things about the weather here that I just don’t understand.
    • Studying abroad & mental illness. My experiences trying to care for my mental health while also keeping a good balance with schoolwork and traveling.
    • Español & Gaeilge. Some fascinating similarities I’ve noted between the two languages.
    • Things I want to do while I’m still in Ireland. AKA this post!
    • Bloomsday. A day devoted to celebrations of all things Ulysses and Joyce.
    • Plays I saw. Little reviews of the four plays we’ve seen performed as part of our drama course.
    • Author talks. Four different Irish authors have come in to tell us about their life and writing!
    • A day in the life of a study abroad student. Because of course!
    • Two essays I wrote for workshop about going to Derek Landy’s book signing. Haven’t decided whether I’m going to post these separately or together.
    • An essay I wrote for workshop about the Dublin Pride parade. I’m really proud of this one! It was written for an assignment about weaving in historical context.
    • “When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart.” A post inspired by a James Joyce quote I recently found and am now quite fond of.
    • Thoughts on having made it so far both physically and psychologically. That sounds super vague and confusing, I know, but it should be more lucid in the actual finished post. I hope.
  • Send a postcard to my friends at the Haunted Bookshop. Because I miss them sO MUCH.
  • Write a short creative nonfiction narrative about my professor. He’s having us write one for our guide, so the other day some of my friends and I had the brilliant idea for everyone to write a paragraph or so about one of our experiences with him.
  • Try fruit strings. They look delicious.
  • Map out and explore locations mentioned in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Google Maps lately.

-~-

Now that it’s July, you can expect the Pride posts to end and the study abroad posts to begin. I don’t want every post this month to be about studying abroad, but many of them certainly will be in one way or another. There may even be some posts in August, and to be honest I’ll probably write about this trip later still as I suspect there will be much to process once I’m home.

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Happy Birthgay To Me!

It seems impossible that this much time should have passed so quickly, but the calendar doesn’t lie: Today marks four years since I came out.

On the other hand, I’ve grown and changed so much that it also feels as though it should be more than four years. It feels like a lifetime ago: I almost don’t recognize the me of four years ago.

With each new year that passes by, I inch closer and closer to self-acceptance and self-love. It’s not easy, but it is getting better.

I’ve surrounded myself with LGBTQ+ books, movies, music. Friends, too. And role models. I wear a necklace that reminds me who I am every single day. I no longer engage in any “debates,” online or in real life, about whether being gay is unnatural or disgusting or a mistake, and my mental well-being has increased while my internalized homophobia has decreased.

The biggest signs of progress are all the times I’ve genuinely forgotten that there are people who aren’t attracted to their own gender. Last semester I was sitting in the dining hall when I overheard some guy talk about his girlfriend and I was baffled for a second because I’m so used to hearing girls talk about their girlfriends. HETEROSEXUALITY DOES NOT COMPUTE.

I still have anxiety surrounding my sexuality, and tbh I think I probably always will: It’s just the end result of a heteronormative and heterosexist society. But I’m doing my best to swim against the current. I don’t have nearly as many doubts as I used to. I’m so much more comfortable with myself. I certainly don’t feel as abnormal as I used to.

Instead, I’ve begun to view F/F and M/M couples, rather than straight ones, as the default – which may be overcompensating, but I honestly don’t care because it’s what’s getting me through this fucked up heteronormative world. And it’s now difficult for me to separate the experience of womanhood from that of being a lesbian. Like, there are girls who aren’t attracted to other girls?! Not even a little bit? How does that work?

Today, I’m celebrating this anniversary. (Birthgay?) By the time you read this prescheduled post, I will be on a train in the middle of nowhere, Ireland, on the way to a writers’ retreat along with my classmates. And you can bet that I’ll be sitting in a window seat, listening to Hayley Kiyoko’s EP Citrinean album about girls loving girls, which made a huge difference in my life these past few months – as the countryside whooshes by, daydreaming about gIRLS.

Happy birthgay, me.

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Philadelphia Has A New, Racially Inclusive Pride Flag

And here it is! You have to admit, it looks pretty badass.

You can read more about the city’s decision to redesign the Pride flag here, but long story short the project was undertaken in order to remind residents of the importance of LGBTQ+ people of color to the LGBTQ+ community at large.

(If you’d like to learn more about what the other colors on the Pride flag mean, just check out this post I wrote on the subject last June!)

Although Philly has a large POC population their gay bars, gayborhoods, et cetera have been plagued by racism. Plus, when you think about the social/political situation of this country as a whole right now, we could all use a reminder that LGBTQ+ people of color matter, since they are one of the groups most under attack by this new administration.

Obviously, we need to go much further than merely redesigning the flag by providing more tangible resources and not just lip service, but it’s good to see people taking a stand in this way.

The flag hasn’t been around for very long – just a few weeks, I think? – but I already feel as though I’ve seen it everywhere in the news, which is great. It honestly couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

So… here’s a big old shout-out to all the LGBTQ+ people of color in this country and in this world. Never forget: Without people just like you – like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who threw some of the first bricks at Stonewall on June 28, 1969 – we wouldn’t have the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. We wouldn’t have Pride without you. THANK YOU.

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Dublin Pride 2017

…I’ve just spent the past twenty minutes googling how to say “Happy Pride” in Gaelic but can’t seem to find a definitive answer, so I really should move on and jump right into this post.

I attended the Dublin Pride parade this past Saturday along with some of my friends from my study abroad program! It was a rare warm, sunny summer day in the city, perfect for the festivities.

It wasn’t my first Pride – I went to Iowa City Pride last year – but it was my first one in a large city. Some 30,000 people showed up, which isn’t very big at all compared to the crowds that some Pride parades in American cities draw, but it’s quite large for such a small country as Ireland.

I yelled and laughed and waved and took selfies with my friends and bought a pair of rainbow suspenders.

Petted dogs that wore rainbow collars and bandannas.

Cried when I saw all the elderly same-gender couples kissing and holding hands and holding each other.

Cheered all the people marching for grassroots organizations and booed all the massive corporate floats. (Seriously, companies like LinkedIn and Amazon can fuck right off. Pride isn’t and has never been for them…)

I don’t want to say too much more about Pride since I wrote about it for a creative nonfiction assignment (about how to include historical context!) this week that I’m planning to share with you eventually, but I do want to tell you about my favorite float. I’m actually not 100% sure what organization it went with, but I am fairly sure that it wasn’t anything corporate.

The float was covered in flowers and the now-famous art of gay couples that appeared as murals on castles and city walls to encourage Irish citizens to vote “yes” in their marriage equality referendum several years ago. It bore the words “EQUAL MARRIAGE NORTH & SOUTH,” reminding me that Ireland is still a country divided.

Happy Pride, everyone.

P.S. #sorrynotsorry for the lack of posts on the 23rd and 25th… I had enough posts scheduled to get me through almost the entire month of June, but ran out a few days ago. I’ve been super busy with school/traveling, as well as dealing with Mental Health Stuff™, and all of those things come before blogging. You can definitely expect to see a few more posts in the days still left of Pride Month, though!

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10 More Songs That Should Be LGBTQ+ YA Novels

Over a year ago, I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post about ten LGBTQ+ songs that I wished were YA novels. People seemed to love it, and I had a great time writing it, so… ever since then, whenever I hear a super gay song that makes me think it should be a super gay novel I jot down the title and artist.

In this way, I’ve been slowly saving up enough songs to do a second post.

GAY YA VIBES YAY.

Enjoy!

1. “What’s It Gonna Be?” – Shura

I’m on my own
You’re at the beach
Hundreds of miles away
I don’t wanna be that girl
I don’t wanna be that girl
I don’t wanna give you up
I don’t wanna let you love somebody else but me
So what’s it gonna be?

DSJAHGDLKJDSF I LOVE CUTE SCHOOL STORIES AND THEY’RE EVEN BETTER WHEN THEY’RE GAY. (Obviously.) I love the plot twist, where you think the brother and sister are straight and then you realize that they were actually befriending each other’s crushes to get them on their sibling’s good side. Ridiculously adorable.

2. “Girls” – Beatrice Eli

I see girls in my building
I see girls on the train
I see pictures in my head
I can’t make go away
I’ve got the girls on my mind all the time

Aside from being #me, this song would be so good as a slice-of-life, stream-of-consciousness novel, maybe set over the course of a Friday night or a weekend in high school.

3. “Put ‘Em Up” – Priory

Boys will be boys,
who like boys,
who dress like girls,
and that’s alright.
We’re hangin’ with the boys that look like girls tonight
Girls will be girls,
who like girls,
who dress like boys,
and start up fights.
We’re hangin’ with the girls that look like boys alright.

Concept: A novel following a bunch of different characters whose lives are seemingly unconnected to one another until the ending, when they all meet up. Ahhh I love the gender fuckery in this song SO. MUCH.

4. “Cool” – Troye Sivan

I was just trying to be cool
I was just trying to be like you
I’m a spark and you’re a boom
What am I supposed to do?

I guess I’m just in a really SUMMERY GAY MOOD lately? Which makes sense, since it is summer here after all. If I had my way, “Cool” would be about two boys who fall in love over the course of one summer spent at a tiny town on the beach. VERY SPECIFIC, I KNOW. I do have very specific gay fantasies and they involve other people writing happy gay stories I can devour in an afternoon.

5. “Palace” – Hayley Kiyoko

So this is where I leave you
Sitting in a palace covered in gold inside my head
This is where I see you
On a bed of roses when I wanna kiss your silhouette

OK OK I HAVE AN IDEA: The whole story is a daydream where this girl imagines this perfect beautiful future with her and her crush or girlfriend. AHHH HOW CUTE WOULD THAT BE? Very cute, that’s the answer. WHY DO I KEEP TYPING IN ALL CAPS.

6. “Heaven” – Troye Sivan

Without losing a piece of me
How do I get to heaven?
Without changing a part of me
How do I get to heaven?
All my time is wasted
Feeling like my heart’s mistaken, oh
So if I’m losing a piece of me
Maybe I don’t want heaven?

For this song, I’m thinking of a storyline something like the subplot of Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan? I’m not a huge fan of David Levithan’s writing style, and was especially weirded out by his use of the pronoun “we” to tell the collective story of many gay men from the past… I guess because I’m not used to stories told by the voice of a group? But I am totally down for a story with multiple perspectives from LGBTQ+ people who lived long ago. How about a collection of linked short stories with a different narrator for each one?

7. “Pretty Girl” – Hayley Kiyoko

I can see you’re real smart
World-class piece of art
I can see you in the dark
All we have to do is start
I just wanna tell you that you’re really pretty, girl
I just wanna know if you will let me be your world

“World-class piece of art” makes me close my eyes and imagine a story in which two city girls meet at… an art museum? Art school? I’m not sure. Just… ART GAYS. ARTSY ARTSY GAYS.

8. “Only A Girl” – Gia

Only a girl
Knows how a girl feels
Only a girl
Can make me feel this way
It’s getting better
Nothing like two girls sticking together

Girl meets boy, girl dumps boy, girl meets girl and spends the rest of her life with her. I’M ALL ABOUT THAT AESTHETIC. Give me a story about STRONG FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS and GIRLS FALLING IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER!

9. “One Bad Night” – Hayley Kiyoko

Talk with your fingertips
Don’t stop the car, let’s drive
Suck on your amber lips
Just give me one bad night
Heart beat is razor thin
Hot heat, you make me high
Get underneath my skin
Just give me one bad night

Trans women getting happy endings? Black men getting cute romantic stories? Yes, please. This might actually be NA, rather than YA, because I feel like the characters are older – college age, maybe? – but either way, I’d love to see this in novel form.

10. “Sleepover” – Hayley Kiyoko

I don’t wanna talk about it
I don’t wanna think about it
I’m just feeling low, feeling low
Even when you’re next to me
It’s not the way I’m picturing
I’m just feeling low, feeling low
You wanna be friends forever?
I can think of something better

Ahhh, that dreaded crush on your best friend. This is such a tender and sweet song, though! Plus, yay for fictional interracial couples where neither member is white.

-~-

I can’t wait to write take three of this post someday! What songs would YOU love to see as LGBTQ+ novels, YA or otherwise?

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