Hello! First and foremost, my apologies for any typos. The European keyboard is a bit tricky and I'm running short on time to change any mistakes. I'm getting a hang of it though...
Some of you may know/recall that I was on the fence about this trip. I was excited to go, but felt that somewhere along the way, I lost my reason or my purpose for coming here. Why Ireland, specifically?
It all hit me yesterday as I walked into a pub. But let me back up. I landed yesterday morning, picked up the rental car, said a quick prayer, and hit the road. Driving in America while exhausted is scary. Driving in a foreign country (other side of the road, other side of the car) while exhausted is down right stupid. Thankfully, I made it to Westport, Ireland in one piece. As did the car.
My friend is a musician in the area and he had a gig at a local pub last night. I was excited to stop in and hear them. He is an incredibly talented guitarist and plays with a charming older Irish man who plays the flute/whistle, a lady from Transylvania who plays the fiddle (and to say "she plays the fiddle" is a gross understatement, but right now I'm drawing a blank for better terms), and a local gent who plays the drum. (There's an official Irish term for the drum that I'll find later but for now, excuse my laziness.)
I began my night at a different pub for 2 pints before heading to where my friend was playing. I walked into their pub just as I heard the familiar sound of one of my favorite tunes. Goosebumps immediately popped up on my arms and I sat down, mesmerized by the talent of these 4 musicians. Right there, in that moment, I realized I was exactly where I needed to be. I was at the right place at the right time--for once--in the Universe. It was perfect.
But then, here's the kicker and the reason why I travel...
A husband/wife duo from Florida is in town. They're a pretty well-known group in the folk music circuit and everyone's pretty excited to hear them play tonight. But last night, they were simply there to listen, get over the jet lag, and enjoy.
I was introduced to them both as I was somewhat "with the band." Mike and Maggie were incredibly nice and happy to talk to anyone about anything. So over a pint (and a possible cig outside...) Mike and I had a few minutes to chat about the flute/whistle player, Oclan (pronounced Ulcan, as in Vulcan). I mentioned how Oclan had such an impression on me that I named one of my characters after him.
Mike: "Oh, really? A character?"
Me: (sheepishly) "Yeah, I'm a writer."
Boom. Just like that and I admitted it. But wait...
Mike: "Me, too. I published a book a few years ago and am working on another one."
Me: O_O "Oh, really?! Tell me more!"
Thankfully Mike wasn't playing last night because he and I were too busy talking about books, the publishing industry, blogs, Twitter, writing advice, everything. Never before have I wished I had a writing "business" card. I told him my experience with blogging and Twitter and he shared with me tips and tricks he's picked up along the way and advice he usually gives out at writing conferences.
Twice in one night I sat in a pub with a goofy grin on my face thinking to myself, "Is this really my life?" The amazing music, the nicest people, and a published author who wants to swap stories/help me out?
Who knows what the rest of my trip will bring. But last night, I was exactly where I needed to be.
(Here's the quick info I found on Mike McKinney's book, A Thousand Bridges.)