Our trip has its own official wordpress site, which you can find here and which I'll also be linking under "Sites of Note." Part of my assignment is to post there semi-regularly, so if you don't see many updates here, you can find me there (I will warn you now though, there may be some duplicate posting between sites). I've also finally got a (somewhat vague) syllabus and free registration for a poetry workshop at the John Hewitt Festival (though whether the coordinator put me in Adam O'Riordan's class or Nessa O'Mahony's class I've yet to find out. One poet's English, one's Irish; one seems a little more contemporary but the other's had a longer career and thus more experience... so I guess I'm not too concerned either way).
At the beginning of June I started an Etsy site, on which I'm attempting to sell various items that I've made. There are a few hardcover books and a few wire tree pendants up for sale currently and more on the way. Last summer while I was in Michigan, there was a man who made these wonderful wire trees on display at the coffee shop I frequented. Later on I was in a store with my mom and we saw small trees, also wire (intended to be the Tree of Life) on metal rings with small stones twisted in as leaves. They were $20 apiece so I didn't buy one (though I later bought one without stones at a festival in Baltimore for $18) and have since learned how to make the pendants myself. And now I sell them for half the price, even with the stones. I've learned how to make the regular wire trees as well, but don't currently have any completed. I have a lot of other craft/art project ideas too, but it seems like my free time is decreasing exponentially as my trip gets closer. Word got out that I was making another run of pianos, and the two I intended to make became four. I'm making good progress; the goal is to also have those completed (and shipped, in a couple of cases) before I leave.
Several weeks ago I started reading Infinite Jest, the ambitious 1079-pg novel by David Foster Wallace. My original goal was also to complete that before Ireland, but I'm on approximately page 425 and, with 18 days to go, it's just not going to happen. It's a great book so far; the connections between the plethora of characters it asks you to become familiar with are starting to become clearer, and as that happens the whole thing becomes more interesting. The explorations of addiction and entertainment (and the notion of Subsidized Time) are intriguing and the relationships between the Incandenza brothers (and their resulting conversations) are in themselves almost enough reason to read the whole book (or at least through pg 425 where I am. I suppose it could take a dramatic downturn from here. I'll let know know once I finish). So it may end up being the one prose book I drag along with me. Though I think we all know I won't be able to bring just one book. That will be another item on my to-do list: determining my overseas reading list (note to self: You'll only be there for FOUR weeks, doing lots of OTHER THINGS, and carrying around a ton of books gets CUMBERSOME). We'll see how that goes.