Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.
Here’s a picture of the Triskel Art Centre in Cork, which was the venue for the Kelly Link/ Heather O’Neill reading last Thursday, during the Cork International Short Story Festival. It used to be a church, and they kept the wooden pews:
Another event self attended was the launch of a new literary journal, Banshee, edited by three intrepid young women: Laura Jane Cassidy, Claire Hennessy, and Eimear Ryan:
Below, Issue # 1:
Finally, a sign on the wall of the Galway Train Station. NIIICE! Trains represent movement, movement represents change:
Funny, in the States, self has grown used to associating the color red with STOP signs.
Here in the UK, she’s seen red phone booths, red sofas, red walls, red sneakers, red sweaters, and now this sign in a train station.
Self’s idol! Ever since self read her story “Stone Animals” in Best American Short Stories (2005?)
When self found out that Kelly Link was reading at the Cork International Short Story Festival, she became immensely excited and determined. So off she went to the Triskel Art Centre, and did she ever make the right choice or what? Never mind that it was cold, that she’d just had a humongous dinner, and she just wanted to veg out in her room. No, self! Get your shit together!
Even though self swore, swore she would not buy a single book (Her arms are so sore from lifting: she’s taken at least 4 trains in eight days), she did buy Kelly’s just-published Get In Trouble: Stories (blurbed by none other than Sarah Waters, who calls it, quote unquote, A brilliant, giddying read.). Kelly wrote this on self’s copy:
For Marianne: Here are some terrible ideas. Love, K D Link.
BWAH. HA. HA. HA!!!
When, after the reading, self went up with the book of Kelly’s short stories encased within her trembling hands (The use of hyperbole would not be completely unwarranted in this situation), Kelly was speaking to a very enthusiastic Irish lad. Self waited patiently.
Then, before signing self’s book, Kelly asked for self’s name.
Self demurred, saying, Oh you’ve never heard of me.
(Self! YOU IDIOT! QUIT MUMBLING!)
Finally, Kelly managed to worm it out of self. Whereupon Kelly said, with great sincerity, “I think I’ve heard of you.”
In response to which self said, “No you’ve never heard of me. I’m so small press, I’m not even.”
Anyhoo, here’s an excerpt from “The Summer People,” the first story in Kelly Link’s collection:
Fran had the flu, except it was more like the flu had Fran. In consequence of this, she’d laid out of school for three days in a row. The previous night, she’d taken four NyQuil caplets and gone to sleep on the couch while a man on the TV threw knives.
Unf. Self just loves the unexpectedness of the last sentence.
Plan for tonight: meeting up with playwright Barbara Guilfoyle. Going to hear Jaime Nanci Barron sing.
The Cork International Short Story Festival began yesterday. She was pretty inert yesterday when she arrived in Cork and holed up in her room, eating. Alas, she missed some great readings (And put on at least five pounds. After that dinner last night! The people sitting next to self couldn’t resist remarking that self had ordered A LOT OF FOOD)
Today, self made it to the launch of the Banshee Literary Journal and got to meet one of the editors, Claire Hennessy:
Self was soooo relaxed. In spite of not knowing anybody, she chatted with a young woman who kept self company while she drank (free) wine.
Wine is so wonderful. Why don’t they serve wine at library readings in America?
Also, self has never been to an afternoon reading in an American library where there is wine. It just has never been done. At least, not to self’s provincial American knowledge.
Then she chatted up two of the three authors who read. One of the readers, Eleanor Hooker, told self that she pilots a lifeboat in her “real life.” How cool is that? Self has never, ever met an American author who can pilot a lifeboat. And write sentences like this:
She lived with us for three days after she drowned.
That is a swoon-worthy sentence if self ever heard one.
Tonight, an American author, Kelly Link, is reading at 9:15. Self is torn. It is pretty cold at night, and there’s a strong wind. The River Lee surrounds Cork on two sides. You can never escape the river wind. And she just wants to be cozy.
But then, she pinched herself. NO! SELF, you did not travel all this way to Cork to nest in your room GETTING FAT! And INERT!
So she told Ger (Chef and all-around Factotum of B & B that self refuses to name because they have very little room and she doesn’t want to have to fight for a reservation next year. Or the year after next) to book her a taxi and Ger said, That is a 10-minute walk from here you will not need a taxi.
But self said Oh indeed I will need a taxi because the wind! And I have a very low tolerance for cold! I was born in the Philippines and lived most of my life in California!
(Self did not actually say all that, but she did impress on Ger that she was serious about the taxi.)
Here’s another picture from the Banshee Literary Journal launch:
It’s the week of the Cork International Short Story Festival.
They just announced the winner of the International Short Story Contest. It’s a woman from Georgia (US).
Kelly Link is in Cork, but tickets to her reading tonight are sold out.
Anyhoo, this post is about the week’s Photo Challenge, GRID.
Since self had breakfast in her room, she decided to look over a few of the books she found on the coffee table. One is a beautiful tome on Dublin-born Artist Sean Scully (signed by the artist himself — GAAAH!)
There is a massive stone church in Inchicore, Dublin that people simply refer to as “the Oblates’ Church.” She has quite an attachment to this area of Dublin, for dear good friend Fr. Haslam, retired many years, lives in the priest’s house right beside.
There is a lovely garden right behind the church. Self took a picture of the iron gate leading to the garden. She would never have thought of snapping a picture of the gate if it hadn’t been for the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge this week: GRID.
This afternoon, self took yet another train, this time to Cork.
Oh, beauteous city. There is the River Lee, there is the quay, and there is self’s B & B.
How self loves this city, she knows not why.
Across a little bridge is a university (University of Cork? An art school?) and the area is always full of students. Last year, Ger took her to an exhibit of illuminated light boxes in a gallery inside the art school. We wandered around, swiping glasses of wine. Fuuuun!
And here’s a red lamp throwing a grid of shadows on the walls of self’s room:
Last summer, self visited York. She’d been there only once before, when she was a wee lass of 11. An old high school classmate (who she hadn’t seen since high school graduation, many many years ago) invited her to visit, and self never turns down an invitation to see a new place. Besides which, York is the setting for a very crucial turn of events in Cassandra Clare’s Victorian steampunk trilogy, The Infernal Devices.
The cathedral is amazingly beautiful.
The ceiling is an intricate fretwork of grids:
The cathedral was once burned to the ground by a madman who stoked the fire with deliberate glee.
It was hit by lightning, which started another fire.
During World War II, all of the stained glass windows were taken down and painstakingly stored. The cathedral was spared during the bombings. Then the windows had to be put up again.