Being a Trollope

I spent last weekend doing the most lividlili thing possible – I went on a tour of Prague with the Trollope Society.

Yes, I caught a bus across three countries to hang out with other nerds, looking at sites from a relatively obscure Anthony Trollope novel.

Of all the nerdy things I’ve done in my life, this has got to be the nerdiest.

Now for those arriving late to lividlili, I am a classic literature tragic of the highest order. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, all of the Brontes, George Eliot, even Thomas Hardy. My friends will not be surprised to hear that I have actually gone on a nerdy book tour involving some old writer dude they’ve never heard of.

(I once offered my Kindle to C’s mum. She perused my titles for ten minutes then declined my offer. “You have a lot of Trollope, don’t you?” she said.)

I should have known that my life would one day come to this. It makes so much sense. Other people go to Prague for the history, the architecture, the beautiful squares, the music. I went for an old dead writer dude.

The rest of the Trollopes – yes, that’s what we call ourselves – are lovely. Average age, 75. I’ve brought the mean down considerably.

Our tour guide – obviously an Australian!

We sought out some of the locations from Nina Balatka, Trollope’s novel which is set in Prague. Occasionally we spoke about the story itself. But mostly it was an excuse for a very random collection of people to come together over one very peculiar shared like, and have some meals and a few drinks and a yarn.

It’s always nice when you find your people.

(It would be nice if occasionally my people were closer to my own age).

We found Nina Balatka’s house!

On the last day that we spent together, we had a reading of Nina Balatka as dramatised by New York playwright Henry Ong. I was lucky enough to play Nina herself – not sure if it was because of my Slavic looks, or because I was the closest in age to her (although I’m 20 years too old!)

Henry Ong actually passed away just a few days before the tour – so it was perhaps a nice tribute to him that an oddball bunch of people were reading out his play in Prague.

A collection of Trollope materials
A collection of Trollope materials

It was one of the best weekends of my life. I’ve been thinking a lot about why that was. I think it’s because it was 100% about me and the things I like. It’s not very often that we get to do that – with partners, kids, work, life and all that other stuff getting in the way. I did a thing that none of my friends would ever do, that nobody but myself is interested in among the people I know. How often does that happen?

So if there’s something that you love, but you hide it because you think people will mock you, or if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do but you think you could never do it alone – my advice is just do it.

Do the thing.

Do the thing you love.

Always do the things you love.

I’m shining bright 🙂
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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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