Sunday, June 26, 2016

ON RETURNING: IRELAND TO PITTSBURGH TO SETON HILL


It’s been a crazy first week back, but it’s been full of opportunity, experience, friendship, and love. My second week in Dublin was a bit more relaxed as I spent a lot of time just walking around the city, drinking coffee (and yes, sometimes it had whiskey in it) and writing. I wrote a lot of poetry on this trip, and at one point, I got seriously turned around in the city, and ended up in a leather shop where I bought a beautiful briefcase to carry all my books and poems back to the states in. I was lucky enough to steal poet, Mary O’Donnell away for a bit for some coffee and lunch before her reading, and I had the pleasure of hearing another Joycean lecture on Bloomsday from Irish scholar, James Heaney.

Bloomsday in Dublin is always a treat because the entire city comes together to celebrate James Joyce (particularly Ulysses), and it’s just marvelous to see literature being supported and celebrated that way. I walked around the southern part of Dublin as we read excerpts from the novel, drank burgundy wine and ate gorgonzola sandwiches. I saw sights from the novel, and learned some more about Yeats and Wilde that made me both smile and chuckle.

The last day was hard for me because I’ve never been good at saying goodbyes, but part of me knows that I’ll make it back to Ireland someday. Having said that, there was no way that I was sleeping away my last night in the city. I went to Lillie’s Bordello, a nightclub in Dublin, and hung out there as I danced the night away with friends. We drank, we laughed, and then we accidently found our way into a hidden piano bar where I sang The Doors and Bon Jovi at the top of my lungs until about 5 a.m. When I walked back on Trinity’s campus, the sun was up and shining, and everything was quiet. I’ll never forget that moment.

If there was a more perfect way to leave the city, I don’t know what it could be.

After I came back home, there was (and continues to be) a lot of loose ends that I need to tie up before I leave my position, but it helped that I spent a good portion of my week with great company and lots of wine. Friday brought around the Seton Hill University Mass Author Book signing, and it was an absolute blast. I got to spend time with my RDSP crew (Jennifer Barnes, John Edward Lawson, Matt Betts, Kristin Dearborn, Mike Arnzen, Kathleen Taylor-Kollman, Hanna Gribble to name a few) and connect with my old classmates and friends and colleagues. Despite being terribly late, I even got to catch dinner and dessert with my graduate mentor, William H. Horner, and that, as can be expected, was filled with lots of laughs and great conversation. I’ve been really overwhelmed lately, and there are just no words to describe how it feels to walk on that campus and be reunited with my tribe, my family, my absolute favorite people. I never get to spend enough time with them, and last night when we all attended the wine social at The Supper Club was proof of that. I hugged everyone as much as I could, I told my friends that I loved them, and then I left with tears in my eyes and love in my heart because there is nothing more beautiful than being surrounded by people who you love and care about. To SHUWPF—you all are my family and I adore you. My life is better because all of you are in it.

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading off to NECON to see more of my writer tribe. I’m especially looking forward to this trip because I couldn't attend last year and I can’t wait for the memories that it’s going to create. In the meantime, though, I’ll be working on restructuring some things in my life, writing everything and anything from fiction to poetry to essays. I'll also be editing, and spending a lot of time outside walking around and collecting my thoughts as I continue to launch Brothel and get ready for the debut of my novel, The Eighth. I’m excited for this next chapter in my life, but I expect things to be crazier than usual for me in just the most wonderful of ways. I’m looking forward to new adventures, and I feel pretty confident that while my life always tends to be interesting, that these next few months are going to be exceptionally fun and entertaining.
With love and an open heart,

Stephanie M. Wytovich