A cheerful "Heading to Ireland, wish me luck!" Facebook status masked the whole thing and nobody knew what a terrific ball of incompetence I was. Facebook, you little wall of white lies, you're so magical. The little back of seat entertainment system cheered me immensely, I watched a dozen movies and all was well. Except for that, with no time to pack, I had no clothes or shoes or books or anything, no toothbrush. I'd stuffed a suitcase with whatever had been lying on the floor of Andrew's garage which turned out to be a lot of long underwear- useless.
A walk to the outskirts of town brought you to a checkerboard of green fields and purple thistles that rolled straight into the ocean, and in the distance glowed the pointed lights of town so small and insular that the kids all grew up speaking only Irish. I'll admit, even though I've been to Ireland before, I didn't really know that Irish was a language that people spoke. I thought people just sang it.
Anna and I explored together when we could, both of us kept very busy with the festival and interviews and me being asleep until after noon. She sang during opening night of the festival and I sat with her backstage with a few other musicians and the Irish storytellers. I drank as much wine and French cider as possible and tried not to think about the next day, the first of my four shows. My stomach tightened at the thought- what if nobody shows up? I forbid Anna to attend, wanting to save her the disappointment of seeing me perform to an empty room, if that was the case. It very well could be, I had no idea, and neither did the festival director, who was tall and very serious, a notable genius who may have lived inside of a grandfather clock. He had taken a great chance by inviting me, and I so very much wanted it to work out well.
At the very least, I assured myself in the black painted backstage of the town theater, I got myself here, and that is worth noting. Somehow my writing and my incessant need to tell stories got me all the way to Ireland and even paid me to be here, even though I almost blew it at the starting gate and I don't have any underwear. All I can possibly do now is to tell an entertaining story and that much- even if I'm a whirling ball of incompetence in all the other things- that much I know I can do.