I’m excited to share that I will be contributing monthly reviews to The Lesbrary book review blog, dedicated to talking about books by and about women/femmes who identify as queer.
The first review I wrote for the blog is for “Every Exquisite Thing,” a short story part of the Ghosts of the Shadow Market collection from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments universe. Follow this link to see the review. Let me know your thoughts if you’ve also read the collection or the story!
We’re coming close to the end of my adventures in Ireland from 2017. The next to last place we visited on this trip were the Aran Islands and Dun Aonghasa (pronounced Don Angus, if my guide is to be believed).
First came the early morning ferry ride across a glorious blue and cold sea and sky.
But the true stunner was the sight at the top of the old fort Dun Aonghasa. Yes, another set of cliffs, which Ireland is rife with. But there’s a reason tourists like myself go for the view. Nothing humbles you more than staring straight down into the sea and rocks, knowing these structures have been around thousands of years before you, and that they’ll continue existing thousands of years long past your passing.
It’s an invigorating little hike up a rocky path to make it to the windy top of the fort. I recommend bringing those sturdy hiking boots you used for the Cliffs of Moher for this site as well.
During this part of the trip, we were given a bus tour of the island, allowing us to take in the natural sights, as well as the people. The tour guide provided a comprehensive and fascinating history that made this an absolute must when visiting Ireland.
For those who live in or visit many cold places, the Aran Islands offers its famous Irish wool sweaters. These handmade pieces were a bit pricey for my taste (running up to $125 for a top), but if you’re from the New England region or other places with freezing winters, then it might be a worthwhile investment. For a Floridian like me, I just couldn’t justify such a purchase. But be sure, the scarves, sweaters, and other wool goods are beautiful.
Have any of my readers been to the Aran Islands or Dun Aonghasa? What were your impressions? Does anyone want to go visit it now after reading this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
For more of my traveling adventures, look for the tag “wanderlust” on my blog, or visit my Travel page.
Kerri watched as the bedroom door eased open and a man’s head popped into view.
“Kerri, honey, are you alright?” He inched in slowly, as if afraid he might startle her, like she was a rabid animal.
She breathed deep and nodded her head. She couldn’t bring herself to speak, because she could not recall his name or his face for that matter. Where was she? Who was he?
The man nodded and flipped a lamp on in the bedroom and turned the hall light off. “Sorry you didn’t find me when you woke. I just wanted to get my things ready for tomorrow.”
Kerri tilted her head in confusion.
“For my trip? Remember, I’m leaving for a conference?”
Still, she couldn’t remember what he spoke of.
He let out a sigh. “Maybe this was a mistake. You’re not ready for this yet.” He turned to leave the bedroom again. “I’ll just call and cancel, tell them I can’t make it.”
“No, wait.” Kerri reached out a hand. “It’s okay. I’m fine. Just had a nightmare.”
He looked back at her, as if unsure if she spoke the truth.
She swallowed hard and smiled. “Really, I’m fine. You don’t have to worry about me.” She still hadn’t responded with his name. Though she had no clue who he was and where he was going, she felt they must have had a close enough relationship that her vague reassurances would be enough to ease his mind.
He settled back into the bed beside her and nodded. He leaned over and kissed her forehead, and the gesture made her smile. Whatever memories were missing, the sensation of familiar intimacy hadn’t gone.
“Get some sleep,” he whispered in her ear as they lay back down.
Kerri watched as this man that gave her a feeling of warmth at the very center of her chest closed his eyes and fell into a restful sleep. She couldn’t help but watch as he breathed evenly, the tension from before slowly fading from his face. After a few minutes his breathing turned into a soft snoring, and the sound made her giggle.
Without thinking, Kerri reached a hand out and ran it through his hair, a gesture that felt so familiar and practiced, and yet in that moment seemed alien to her. She worried at her lower lip as she struggled to find his name and face in her memory.
The energy of worrying finally got to her. Kerri drifted into sleep, her hand still on the man’s head in a gentle caress. As the world around her turned black once more, a single word popped into her head: Tom.
She tried to jerk awake at the revelation, but instead of finding herself in the bedroom, she found herself in the topsy turvy dreamland once more. This time though, she remembered what she needed to know. Tom awaited her whenever she returned to the real world.
The next stop on my tour of Ireland from 2017 was my favorite part of the whole trip: The Cliffs of Moher. So much so, I even wrote a poem about it.
This was an absolutely breathtaking sight. Though it was cold and rainy as it had been the entire trip, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The muddy trek uphill made it all the more satisfying when I made to the top of cliff number one.
Unfortunately, we only had a couple of hours to spend at the Cliffs, including lunch, so I could only make it up one cliff. The battle to find your footing as you take in the open expanse of ocean next to rock is enough to fill the heart of any wanderer.
There is a line of stones most of the way up that separates you from the edge of the cliffs, so if you’re afraid of heights (or rather of falling), don’t worry. As long as you remain behind that line, you’re safe.
There are open pockets between the stones where you can step out and get a closer look at the edges, but even still there is plenty of space before you reach a dangerous point. Just make sure it’s not too windy the day you go! Some have been known to get blown over when the winds are high enough…
Fun fact: The Cliffs of Moher is where the Cliffs of Insanity scene for the The Princess Bride was filmed. For fans of the classic movie, it’s a real treat to imagine Wesley hanging on for dear life right before your eyes.
Make sure to take a quick detour to O’Brien’s Tower when you’re at the Cliffs. The remains of this observation tower give the final authentic feel of being transported to another time and place altogether.
For more about my trip to Ireland, and other travels, see my previous posts here.
Have any of you traveled to Ireland and seen the Cliffs of Moher? What were your impressions? Let me know in the comments!
Kerri furiously tore through
the sheets and pillows, seeking him out. Why couldn’t she recall his name? And
who was he to her?
Her mind, still fuzzy from the
dizzying dream that felt all too real, searched frantically for the memory of whoever
he was, something to cling on to. As her hands worked through the bedding, now
tearing the fabric apart with inhuman strength, she wracked her brains, but
The desperation left her
breathless, and she began to gasp for air. Her fingers tangled into the sheets,
tightly winding the fabric around and around, cutting off circulation until
finally she simply ripped it apart into tiny threads. Kerri looked down in
dismay at the ruined sheets, dropping them suddenly from her hand like a hot
pan. How did she do that?
Before she could get a hold of
herself, the sensation of not knowing turned into a panic attack. She took long
inhalations, but to no avail. She rocked back and forth in the bed, her lungs
burning for air they couldn’t get. It seemed as if the room were shrinking
around her, and she hunched lower and lower into the bed, trying to maintain
space between her body and the walls. The harder she tried to breathe the less
air flowed through her lungs.
Tears streamed down her face as she felt she might pass out again. A terrified scream escaped her mouth, and the sound triggered a light in the hallway to turn on. Kerri saw the flicker of shine come through the crack in the bedroom door. The realization that she was not alone was what finally settled her racing heart and eased her breath. Someone was here with her.
This is a continuation of another story. See part one here.
Perhaps it was a dream, she
thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want
to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world where the ocean was the sky
and the sky was ground.
She was literally walking in
the clouds. Kerri strolled along the blue emptiness, never feeling a solid
foundation beneath her feet, but the force of gravity kept her aloft.
She didn’t walk so much as
glide, like an ice skater pushing herself across a smooth, glassy, frozen lake
in winter. The sensation gave her a fluttering feeling in her stomach, but the
feeling of danger had long since passed from when she first arrived.
Kerri marveled at the sunburst
flowers growing amid the blue expanse, their glowing orbs protruding from fuzzy
green vines made of unknown fibers. She turned to laugh with…someone. She
couldn’t remember his name, but she knew it was a he that should be there with
Where was he? Who was he? Kerri
began to spin around in a panic, searching for someone whose name was on her
lips, but far from her mind.
As the desperation grew like a black hole in her chest, the ocean sky up ahead began to churn and rock, as if a sea storm had been triggered by her anxiety. The sky floor beneath her turned to gray, then black, and suddenly she was falling through and into…
Sheets. Her bed sheets and old knit blanket from her grandmother. And there he was, lying beside her, sound asleep; the one she had sought in her dream. He was real and he was present. Kerri reached out an arm into the sheets, but her arm found empty air.