ROPES launched last night:

 Me, begging someone to buy our book, with two of our poets standing nearby.

Me, begging someone to buy our book, with two of our poets standing nearby.

The book is available online at WordPress and Facebook… and now at the Charlie Byrne’s pop-up shop in the Town Hall Theatre!

 On the shelves at the Charlie Byrne's Cúirt Bookshop.

On the shelves at the Charlie Byrne’s Cúirt Bookshop. Once the festival is over, we should be stocked in most Galway bookstores.

When the launch ended, we might have continued with something of an after party, where I got to experience a Galway tradition I’ve never tried before…. What happens at the Spanish Arch stays at the Spanish Arch, but of course there are photos:

Winos at the Spanish Arch, a Galway rite of passage.

Winos at the Spanish Arch, a Galway rite of passage. We have a similar ritual in Texas, only it involves pastures, tailgates, and Boone’s Farm.

Today’s Adventures in Cúirt

Remember how I have a conflicting love for books and trees? Well, Cúirt found a way to ease the guilt of buying so many books… by planting trees! The Author Tree Planting in Terryland Forest Park is meant to offset the festival’s carbon footprint and maybe make us all feel a little bit better about the way books are made.

Author and musician Maidhc Danín Ò Sè, Poet Michael Longley, and Galway City Arts Officer James Harrold plant a tree.

Author and musician Maidhc Danín Ò Sè, Poet Michael Longley, and Galway City Arts Officer James Harrold plant a tree.

It was raining, so the event was sparsely attended, but I got a giggle out of it when Maidhc Danín Ò Sè greeted me as Gaeilge, paused for a beat, then asked “Where are you from?”


“Ah, Texas. I was thinking you were a bit slow with the Irish.”

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

I turned in my 3500-word* Travel Literature essay on Friday night at 11:59pm. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I wrote about Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight cycle of films… have you heard of them?

I know it looks like I turned the paper in at the last second, but that was editing and shaping of the argument (always the hardest part for me). I’ve been researching and writing this thing for weeks (months?), so I was pretty happy with it.

Still, writing is a recursive process and it is tough to turn in off, even after you’ve met your deadline. All weekend, I’ve been having those little attacks of the shoulda-coulda-wouldas. They’ve mostly been mild, though there was one moment when I panicked that I might have left some snarky “I’ll come back and smooth over this” placeholder text in the middle, but that turned out to be a false alarm.

About 10 minutes ago, it occurred to me that I omitted something fairly obvious. See, my whole premise had to do with the space-time continuum; how these movies are travel narratives with temporal limits (the titles). And I have a very fitting literary quote about that sitting right here in the About Me section of my blog:

“The past is a foreign country:
they do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

It’s fine. It is. I really don’t know what I would have done with that. But I think I’m picking up on a larger theme here – not a literary theme, but a life theme.

*I had originally posted that it was a 5,000-word essay. Actually, it was two essays: the Before Sunrise/Sunset academic paper and a 3,000-word creative piece.

Antes del Amanecer

“He sent me the first script for Before Sunrise, which at that time was a wildly different film — it took place in San Antonio, the guy was a rabid film fanatic who talked all the time about film…”

– Ethan Hawke on Richard Linklater,
in an interview with Tom Shone

I’m sorry. I’ve been working on my essay, and I’m exhausted. I just thought I’d share an interesting fact I had read before I pass out (whilst the movie plays on my laptop, again).


Today, Bookslut announced the arrival of a sister publication, Spolia:

Spolia, meaning to use rubble as building material […] appropriate for those trying to create a literary culture in the End Days of Publishing, or whatever it is that is going on right now.

– Jessa Crispin, Blog of a Bookslut

I’ve been reading Bookslut daily since I discovered it (during my last stint abroad, eight years ago), and I’m looking forward to downloading the first issue of Spolia on Monday.

Booky Wooks

Lots of booky goodness going on today (that’ll happen when it gets to be 10pm and you realize you haven’t left your apartment all day – part of an effort to save money this week). So I’m just going to do a little round-up of sorts:

1) ROPES arrived from the printer yesterday. I keep referring to the books as “babies,” and I don’t know if that offends people who actually, you know, have children, but I think it is a pretty standard book/magazine industry term, especially for those new(ish) to publishing who get really excited about boxes from the printer. Anyway, now that they’ve arrived…


2) ROPES pre-sales are happening now. I fiddled with PayPal buttons for longer than I care to admit, but they are now installed on both the ROPES WordPress blog and the ROPES Facebook page, which makes it extremely easy to just pop over and purchase a copy or two. The very first pre-sale went to my mom. It’s for a good cause! Go on, go on, go on…


3) There was a Gizmodo article floating around for a while, and it touched on a topic I’ve tried to cover here before: namely, that e-books are in an incunabula stage and are likely to develop away from the codex and not rely on things like pages and covers. It was a nice article and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it because it made me excited about my thesis again (right now, that is nothing short of a miracle), but then I made the mistake of reading the comments section and my brain exploded and I had to start all over again. Moral of the story: don’t read the comments sections of the interwebs. Just don’t do it. (Notice this blog doesn’t allow comments? There’s a reason for that. Mean people suck.)


4) On a brighter note, I finally finished reading the whole programme for the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. The programme launched last month (see below), but I’ve only been dipping in and out of the programme as needed. I finally just made myself sit down and read the whole thing from cover to cover, and there were many delightful little surprises inside. Por ejemplo, there was a quote from the Kirkus Reviews/Austin American-Statesman review of The Blinded Man, the first book from Swedish crime writer Arne Dahl’s Intercrime series to be translated into English. Also, one of our Publishers on Publishing speakers hinted at an Irish mythology comic project a few weeks ago, and it turns out the artist will be attending Cúirt as part of the young people’s programme.

Photo from the Galway City Tribune.

Photo from the Galway City Tribune.

5) Finally, speaking of Cúirt (rhymes with ‘porch’), they have a free app for iPhones that allows you to flick through the programme and create a personalized planner of festival events. I already have mine decided, although I’m sure it will change during the week as the festival unfolds. I do know for a fact that I will be attending the ROPES launch on the Friday at 5pm. It is pretty damn cool that our little student literary journal’s launch party is included in an app. A FREE app, I might add. Go on, go on, go on…


Sugar’s Cabaret Invitational Long Ball Championship*


Another week, another big event happening in Austin. Meanwhile, it’s still cold in Ireland.

The Veronica Mars Movie Project is winding down its Kickstarter campaign on Friday, and Rob Thomas (the director, not the musician) is hosting a countdown party for backers at the Dog and Duck Pub. I’m a backer! I’ve been to the Dog and Duck! I like countdowns!

This is probably a case of “the grass is always greener in Ireland” or something like that. Last year, I made a big production about going to see a college friend’s band play a 1am show during SXSW (I believe I used the phrase “this crazy train is leaving town at 10pm”), but I was fast asleep on the couch by 9pm. C’est la vie, especially when you’re getting old.

So even if I were in Austin right now, I still might not be making it to all these great events. The Before Midnight premiere and the Veronica Mars Movie Project countdown party? Nah, I would much rather stay curled up at home with a good book and some cocoa.

That’s what I keep telling myself.

*The title of this post is one of many Austin references sprinkled throughout the series.