Self was going through some folders in her closet (Every time she returns from a trip, she puts her trip mementos in its own folder in her closet). In one folder, she discovered an index card on which was printed: ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS, LONDON (BURTON’S COLLECTION OF TROPHY SKULLS)
Is she ever glad she decided to go through her folders today! Or she would completely have missed this index card. And she would never have thought to include the Royal College of Surgeons on her list of London Must-See Museums!
She’s read nearly all of Burton’s books. He was quite a writer, though of course very much of his age regards racial distinctions and manifest destiny and so forth. But since she has read his books, what a pity if she left London without even taking a glimpse at his trophy skulls!
She can’t help being a little bit giddy at the thought that she will soon be in the UK.
She decided to sign up for a tour of Stonehenge, the day after she arrives. The tour starts from Salisbury. Self doesn’t even know the train schedules, but she is determined she will get to Stonehenge, no matter what.
She’s meeting up with two former Hawthornden residents: Joan McGavin and Jennie Lewis.
Jenny has a new poetry collection out, Taking Mesopotamia. There’s a reading at the British Museum on April 27. She and Joan are going.
Then self is spending a few days with Joan, who teaches at Winchester University.
Another writer whose work, incidentally, self loves, is Morag Joss (Self can never get over her Half-Broke Things. Still one of her favorite mysteries). Two years ago, at Hawthornden, Joan informed self that Ms. Joss teaches at Winchester University. Self’s heart is thudding in excitement, just thinking about this. She starts daydreaming about bumping unobtrusively into Morag, perhaps in the teachers’ lounge. That is, if English university professors hang out in teachers’ lounges.
Then, Dublin and the Tyrone Guthrie Center.
Penny, too, will be in Dublin, the second week of May. She wrote a play, and it’s being staged there.
After she’s done with her stay at Tyrone Guthrie, she’s taking the train to Cork and staying in a country home.
And — GAAH, self is so excited. She’s packing very light: all jeans and sweaters and mebbe one pair of ballet flats. She’s bought The Man gift certificates to Biancini’s and Trader Joe’s, and lavished presents from See’s and what-not. (Just think, she told The Man, if any of her applications for visiting writer positions become successful, she’ll be spending far longer than a month in another place: most visiting writer residencies are for a year! Subtext: So quit griping!)
She’s decided to bring only two copies of her collections. Because the point of this trip, she keeps telling herself, is more discovery than self-promotion. (Although, perhaps self would do well to devote a little more time to marketing herself, as look where she is now: agent-less and still joining literary contests in the vain hope that she can get a book contract by winning one of those)
Self and The Man watched Muppets: Most Wanted last Saturday, and aside from being the most gloriously FUN movie self has seen in a long while, she very much appreciated the fact that a bank heist involved the Irish National Bank and was to go down, supposedly, in Dublin. Is that synchronicity, or what? Because self, too, will be in Dublin, in a very short while!
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.