Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brandy makes it to Dublin!


When I arrived at the airport the genial, white-haired customs official asked me why I was in Dublin. When I told him I was a writer doing a bit of research for a book he quickly stamped my passport and wrote something in it. What? No one ever wrote something in my passport so, of course, I was anxious to read his note. It said: “30 days. Business.” I feel so…blush…validated! Here I am in Ireland, the home of how many? famous writers, and I am here on a 30 day business visa. One of my fellow hostelers was complaining that they had written “six days” on her passport because that was the date of her return ticket. Not moi!

Speaking of hostels…deciding to stay at at a hostel was one of my better travel decisions (we won’t even BEGIN to compare this to the “Belize incident”!) This is one of the best trips ever! Traveling alone can be such a drag...especially in hotels or resorts where everyone is family or coupled up. I have gone DAYS without so much as a hello from anyone, all in their own world. I'm not saying I blame them, of course, just stating a fact that doesn’t suit me. Well, last night I had dinner with two gals in their twenties (both named Rachel) and it was a RIOT! I'll e mail post the silly photos on Facebook when I get home. (I forgot to upload the software for the new camera on this pc.) I had my first glass of Guinness and loved it but the waiter said it didn't count because I took someone's suggestion and tried it with black currant. He said: “Your first Guinness should be plain, in a pint, and served by a cheeky waiter.” I told him: "Well, I've got the cheeky waiter part right!" It was fun to banter with him. I'll be visiting the brewery tomorrow so that should be my first “real” Guinness.

I am really enjoying staying at Abigail's. I'm sure it's noisy as hell in the summer with the windows open but now it's doable. All my roommates so far have been fellow teachers. I guess some of us take the job at least in part because of the vacation time! I’ve met people from New Zealand, Australia, California, and Hong Kong. Although I’m still on my own, I get the feeling that most of the people here would be approachable if I wanted or needed to speak with someone. And last night the two Rachels and myself had an inane, mostly one-sided conversation with a quasi insane resident named Charlotte. Suffice it to say that speaking with her made me feel as if it were the 60s again. Things like this certainly add color to the experience of travel!

Right now I'm in a bright, populated lounge. The tv is on, people are ambling in and out, and one of the Rachels I had dinner with last night chatted with me a bit. I’ve accomplished some work on Brandy. This trip definitely resolved a few questions about the direction of the story and has added some authenticity to Brandy’s experience.

Tonight I had dinner in a French place - Leon's on Exchequer Street - recommended by a friend of a friend who lives in the area and she was spot on. The food was amazing and they even had La Religieuse Choclat! My very favorite French pastry in the world. I really enjoyed it and, since I’m on a business trip, it might even be tax deductible! ;-)

Happy New Year to all! I will be spending New Year's Day in the Irish countryside on a tour.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowed In

I can eat myself into oblivion on days like this! Too much snow to go out, cold weather perfect for cookie baking. I feel as if I should be writing but I'm taking a holiday week retreat. Besides, I really must bake - I have enough nuts in the fridge to make baklava for the entire middle east!

Happy Holidays all! I am looking forward to writing in Ireland.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You have a friend in Ireland...


I recently became interested in the provenance of a particular stained glass window. It was supposed to be the image of Mary but the iconography was blatantly pagan. I wrote to the professor in Virginia who took the picture in order to uncover some information about it but the man didn't recall exactly where he shot the photo. He thought it was taken in a Catholic church in Kilrush, Ireland and he attributed it to Harry Clarke. I know that the images in some of Clarke's church windows caused controversy (the eroticism in the Geneva windows a case in point) and that the clergy were onto Clarke's dark side...how could they possibly have overlooked this?

In order to crack the mystery of the window I joined a forum about Irish architecture and contacted a man who was a prominent poster. He is going to Kilrush this week and he is going to take some photos for me. How nice is that? I'm hoping that he finds an answer.

I am still doing minor tweaking on the novella, The Darkest Book on the Shelf, for which I did a bit of research on alchemy, Yeats, and stained glass iconography. That is how I came across this puzzling gem. I'm obsessed with it now and plan on working it into a story even if it is only the briefest mention. TOO interesting!

I will tell you more WHEN I find out and IF the telling doesn't constitute a spoiler to my story!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yeats, Harry Clarke, and banshees...


Serendipity and kismet...

I begin with going to Ireland to finish my book and now, thanks to the internet, I am corresponding with a few Dubliners. The connections between my works are also forming like a steadily growing web... banshees led to fairies and Tir Nan n'Og which led to ancient Latin alchemical symbols and Yeats' symbolist stories about Irish mythology and alchemy all discovered in the darkest corners of a musty old library. Then an image search on Google for a mystical piece of stained glass in said library turns up information about one of Yeats' contemporaries, Harry Clarke, and an amazing piece of iconography in glass that is already growing into another idea. All the while, Faleen of the spider crystal and rose wings traipses through my mind in a perlucid green meadow.

My life as a writer seems to be taking on the rambling quality of my dreams which, most likely due to my incessant reading in the YA fantasy genre this year, are populated with demonistic dogs, walls that crumble as I enter the room, and terror filled ocean scapes where I am threatened by tsunami-like waves. I'm juggling too much, working too hard, and writing like a fiend.

I'd "take it down a notch"....

....but only if I could quit work and write full time.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Catching My Breath...

Right now the only piece I haven't completed is Brandy's book (if I had enough followers to this blog I'd start a "Name This Book" contest because, unlike most of my works, the title is coming LAST on this one). I'm sort of catching my breath for a week until I go to Ireland to finish the writing.

Someone told me the latitude in Ireland creates very short days this time of year...that will give me a LOT of time to write since I'm not all that thrilled about going out to enjoy night life alone. I'm really looking forward to the writing. Travel always motivates me if I feel stalled about something. When I went to Florida to research some details for Nym's Tail it was really a booster shot. I think Dublin will do that for Brandy. Just THINKING about the trip has given me some ideas about how I'm going to procede. Temple Bar is supposed to be crazy, gypsies abound...

Now I have to face the realization that I'm STALLING on pitching my pieces and finding an AGENT!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nyquil and the Muse

Aaaachoo! AAAAchoo! Ahhhh...ahhh...aaachOO!

Yes, I had a cold this week. Did nothing but write and drink tea. Write and sleep. Write and go to work (sneezing and coughing but...hey!...you gotta eat!) I was so sick I actually took Nyquil - something I never do - and quickly discovered that it interefered with everything except passing out.

FINISHED THE NOVELLA TODAY. 22000+ words. I'm going back to tweak the final chapter but, basically, I'm done. It could easily go to full length novel but I'm just going to do the tweaking and then get back to Brandy when I go to Ireland.

When I get back I have to start a serious search for an agent...