“Gypsy’s First Caravan” in Quail Bell Magazine

This is the story of the first time I stepped inside a caravan and spent the night, the antigypsyism that met me at the estate, how my grandmother’s family settled in Nazi Germany, and why fortune-telling is an enduring family trade. It’s all related.


Holding the crystal ball inside “The Gypsy Retreat.” Image Source: http://www.quailbellmagazine.com/the-real/culture-roma-traveller-history-month


Thank you so much, Quail Bell Magazine, for giving me the space, support, and energy to explore this for Roma & Traveller History Month. I love writing for you.


Courtney Barron’s publishing debut in Quail Bell Magazine’s “Why I do what I do” series

Courtney’s first published work is very fittingly “Blood, Ink, and Soul” in Quail Bell Magazine, a lovely essay on why she writes. I love it and I’m so proud of her. Courtney and I have been friends since we were five and six respectively, and she is one of the most creative people I know. One of the reasons I’m writing a novel is because she wrote her novel a few years before I started my MFA and encouraged me so much that I just had to believe her. Keep an eye out for her in the future– she’s in the editing phase right now and it’s a very cool dark fantasy tale set in Romania. She’s also a gorgeous and unique visual artist and just started an internship as a substance abuse counselor. This girl doesn’t mess around.

Once upon a time, Courtney visited me in Ireland and we took an awesome picture in a pub bathroom

Once upon a time, Courtney visited me in Ireland and we took an awesome picture in a pub bathroom

Happy Belated St. Paddy’s Day– an assortment of Irish telly and our dog in a novelty tie

It wasn’t until I lived in Ireland, outside of the university, and watched a lot of Irish TV, that I felt like I understood Len.

It’s important to know which children’s TV shows may give your Irish loved ones acid-like flashbacks

and to be aware of the popular discourse of their childhood

and to recognize superior Irish satire (apropos the gay marriage referendum in Ireland today)

So watch Irish telly and go live in Ireland so you can better understand your Irish loved one’s hatred of squeaky puppets, feelings about wooden spoons, and opinions on the contemporary social issues of the mother country. Len watched this last video about 4 times today– brilliant. That’s the thing– Americans hear all the time that the British are best at satire, but really the self-aware genius and tongue-in-cheek bitterness of Irish satire is a well-kept secret. Ireland is more or less unflappable but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to say–

“Yeah we’re being colonized by these brutes and starving by their hands and laws, and sure, things look awful dark. But you know what? The enemy has a point. And you know what I think you starving poor should do? Eat your children. That’s right. Eat your most useless children like the animals they are. For the good of the colony and for the vitamins. Because you’re starving.” — exact quote from Jonathan Swift

Moreover, the Irish understand, first hand, the pain of inequality. We have big hopes that gay marriage and equal rights for LBGTQI will pass with flying colors.

All hail the terrifying hilarity of Irish satire– all hail the complexity of one of my favorite places in the world–and all hail our dog in costume!

(Len’s Mam and stepdad sent us an adorable celebration package that the puppy is modeling)


Why yes, that is a Hello Kitty lava lamp in the corner.


I have the best in-laws and the best husband. And the best chihuahua-mutt. And the best roommates. Best of everything! Happy Paddy’s Day!

“God grant that I will die in the pub!” and other Romani Oaths that I should use all the time

Solax, or oath-swearing is an interesting can be humorous and informal or deeply serious and ritualistic. Learn more about it here on ROMBASE: didactically edited information on Roma. http://ling.uni-graz.at/~rombase/cgi-bin/art.cgi?src=data/ethn/belief/oath.en.xml

For the record, The Corner House in Cork City, Ireland is my favorite pub, or God grant that I will die in that pub in front of the fire place with a lovely hot port on the tree-slice table before me.


Image from: www.panoramio.com