Tag Archives: Irish Literature and Film

When in Ireland, don’t let the joy get knocked out of you.

5 Jul

I just got out of my Literature and Film class in which Mary O’Malley, one of Ireland’s leading poets, came to speak. She read some of her work and then asked if there were any aspiring writers in the room. I shyly raised my hand, along with three other people.

She then went around the room and asked each of the aspiring writers what they prefer to write. When she came to me, I said that I’m working on a memoir and memoir-related articles, since that has been my recent focus. Her first question, “How old are you?” is one I get a lot in reference to the fact that I’m writing a memoir. However, when I said “19” she was surprised, but didn’t make any negative remark. She just said, “Good girl,” and all I could do was smile. She then asked what the memoir would be focused on, and I just said my childhood. Her next question caught me off guard. She asked, “When do you think that ended?” (referring to my childhood). I was stunned. I couldn’t answer, much less put together any coherent sentence. She then told me that she didn’t think she knew when her childhood ended either. However, our conversation, though very short, has kicked me out of my writing rut that I’ve been moaning and groaning about for weeks. Her final piece of advice to the aspiring writers was this: “Don’t let the joy get knocked out of you,” and I think that’s what really kicked me into writing gear. It’s something that I sometimes forget: the joy. The pure, simple, and yet strong joy that I get from just writing how I feel. It’s an amazing, amazing feeling. It’s the reason I began writing in the first place….because it was my refuge, my security, the happiness that overpowered the pain.

I think as writers we all need a kick in the pants sometimes, and I got mine today. I’ve opened the Word document of my memoir, and for the first time in weeks, I’m not at a loss for words. They’re there, clear as day, waiting to be written, waiting to come alive on the page as only words can do.

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When in Ireland, embrace your Irishness.

27 Jun

Due to some wireless difficulties at my homestay family’s place yesterday, I was not able to post a blog update. I was just as heartbroken to not be able to update as all of you were when you didn’t here from me (Ha…okay, maybe you weren’t as heartbroken, but a girl can dream right?) Anyway, even though I don’t begin classes at the National University of Ireland at Galway today, today is still a full day of introductory classes.

In terms of how yesterday was, I said goodbye to my mom (which was sad in itself). However, I also met my roommate for the summer, Alex. We get along great, and she’s actually taking the same 2 classes as me this summer, so we’ve got the same schedule. Woo hoo. Anyway, since I was thrown into sharing a tiny apartment at the back of a b&b right off, it gave me a chance to meet someone right away (not including my API group that I’ve also spent some time with…though it hasn’t been much). But yay for making friends. It’s awesome! Alex and I also bonded by going to this crepe place called Mr. Waffle, which is just right down the straight from where we are staying. It was incredibly yummy. I got a Strawberry Ice Cream Supreme crepe, which is a crepe filled with strawberries, dark chocolate, and vanilla ice cream on the side. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven, and as Alex pointed out, it was as if we were in a “crepe coma,” and truthfully I can’t think of anything better. Anyway, yesterday was more of a relaxed day since most of the other people in my group were still getting over jet lag, but the evening concluding with dinner at this Italian restaurant called Milano’s which was super yummy. I had lasagna, which was amazing!

As I said, today is all about the introductory classes so that I can get a feel for the classes that I’ve signed up for and make any changes if I wish. I have signed up for Irish Literature and Film and Gaelic Culture, both of which are literature based classes. 4 straight weeks of Literature? Yes please! Maybe by the end of this summer I’ll be wondering once again why I’m not an English major as well as a Psychology major. Hmmm….yeah. Anyway, Alex and I just went to the Keynote Address, which was a welcome talk, or a “hey welcome to Galway. We’re happy you’re here,” kind of thing. At first it was exciting, but I think they could have made it just a tad shorter and we would have gotten the same effect. Long lectures….it’s the college life. However, one thing I did like was the mention of embracing your Irishness. When the speaker asked all of us in the lecture hall to raise our hands if we were part-Irish, the major of the lecture hall raised their hands, myself and some others excluded. However, the lecturer did point out at even those who didn’t obviously have Irish in their blood still should embrace their Irishness, whether that refers to culturally, socially, or just fully, completely, and without hesitation. I’m all for it, let me tell ya!