Inishmurray Island: One Great Irish Spot

The story of Inishmurray, like all good Irish stories, is a beautiful one, tinged with the sacred and with lament. It is a story of men of great faith, of a hard-working and tight-knit community, of painful farewells, and of the sea. The island still holds the ancient monastery- its church open to the heavens and the weather, a beehive hut still snug and dry. It also contains more weathered remains- the cottages and cemetery of the community who lived and worked, danced and cried, were born and died there until the last survivors left in 1948. Continue reading

Thoughts on a Car Ride

In the last week, I have been wrestling with the fact that I am not fearless enough with my writing. Too often, I find myself holding back, restrained by a wicked self-criticism that pops up like the literary villain that won’t die. Ideas pop into my head in seconds and are just as quickly squashed into nothingness. Like the proverbial devil on my shoulder, the self-criticism hides beneath my keyboard and follows my fingers, taunting my attempts. The most dangerous thought the criticism devil whispers into my earĀ  is that I have nothing of importance to say. Who do I think I am? Continue reading

Color

Winter blues. Homework blues. The season of Lent started with a piece of bread, a sip of wine, and an ash cross on my forehead. The sacred and the humble of the season don’t match the chaos and rush of these weeks and I try to set some time aside, try to catch my breath, try to remember to feed my soul but I fail at all three things and soon it is the next day. My soul is starving for color, for warmth, for fresh air and Vitamin D, for laughter and silence and sacred. So I seek it out, finding what I need in substitutes, in little things. Continue reading

Papers With Voices

This week I spent half a day deciphering and transcribing a letter that is as old as my great-great-grandparents. Honestly, I am still amazed at how thrilling a worn piece of paper can be. I should be immune by now, unaffected by the smell of the paper or the marvel of ink on paper. But like a child watching a magic show, I am mesmerized, focused intently on the swoop of the letters and the blend of dark and light that tells me where the ink leaked, where he pressed his pen a little harder. It’s like seeing a ghost, but then I wonder if I am the ghost, watching invisible in the corner. Continue reading