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The Donnybrook Writing Academy

August 3, 2011

Team Donnybrook

If you’re looking for some good ole hipster elitists, look no further than The Donnybrook Writing Academy. They claim that even if God were to lay out his master plan for their perusal that they would give him a pitiful 2 1/2 stars. The Donnybrook Writing Academy worship Snobliness over Godliness. Don’t you want to know more about them? 12 Questions certainly did.

Founded as an institute for higher learning in 2007, The Donnybrook Writing Academy, a society and culture blog, is the brainchild of Erin Barnes aka Headmistress Angora Holly Polo. Erin has done a little bit of everything, from sticker factory technician to mountain town reporter. She served time in the trenches at crappy punk rock shows in her teens. But with a taste for the finer things, Erin dove headlong into what she does best – writing. These days, when she’s not bathing in liquified diamonds, Erin works as the publicist for indie labels What Are Records? and United Interest in Boulder, CO.

The headmistress employs a gaggle of whip smart folks at Donnybrook that don’t mince words, hate the status quo, and bristle at the ordinary.

Headmistress Polo gave 12 Questions a little taste of the finer things and, really, since when has hipster elitism ever steered us wrong?

1. What is your hometown?

Good old Fort Collins, Colorado. College town. Kinda lame. When I lived there, I mostly hung out with homeless people down by the river, because everything else was boring. And homeless people in Fort Collins are not as scary as homeless people in Denver. They’re like Homeless Lite. Another cool thing about Fort Collins was the punk rock scene around the Starlight. This is no longer. Paris on the Poudre was where you gothed out, but I think that’s gone too?

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Holden Caulfield. I’M JUST KIDDING, do you get that answer a lot?

If I say Hedwig and the Angry Inch, will you think I have a secret penis? I don’t relate to that part. Just the part about being awesome and wearing great clothes, and feeling blue sometimes.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Ryan Phillipe.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

“On the Road.” We are also big Wes Anderson fans around the Manor – Donnybrook was conceptualized as what would happen if Wes Anderson characters wrote a blog – but I don’t know about the speaking to our souls part in that regard.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

I am heavy into teen fiction right now. I just read “Rule of the Bone.” It’s about a kid whose stepdad molests him, so he becomes homeless, meets a Rasta dude, and goes to Jamaica to find himself, all the while heavily in the weed trade. I quite enjoyed it.

We’re also reading the “Elegant Universe” and tripping out. I am heavy into the Universe.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

“Round and Round” by Ariel Pink – this song begs to be played over and over and over.

I also recently discovered Portland musician Nick Jaina. I saw him sing with Esme from Paper Bird at Walnut Room and bought the CD – he makes beautiful, romantic songs. I especially like “Sebastopol.”

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

Harry Potter Parking Lot. There’s this moment where this little kid says some crap about there being magic inside of all of us, and I hate to admit it, but this is truly the last time I cried. I was just overwhelmed by how sweet it was that his parents and teachers and JK Rowling had done such a job convincing this kid of that. I wanted to pat everyone on the back.

8. Cat person or dog person?

I never had a cat before, was always a dog person, but I got a kitten three years ago, and I have switched to the other side. I love cats, especially mine. He is quirky and strange, and he lurks, and he is all black with white whiskers and only one white eyebrow whisker. He squints at you creepily, and he wears a bowtie. His name is Pepito Gatito.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

In writing, truth. In the rest of life, kindness. When writing and life are at odds, writing (i.e. the truth) normally wins out, but luckily for me that rarely happens.

10. How do you define sin?

Bad grammar and intolerance. Tea partiers, in a nutshell.

Also insurance companies, and huge corporations in general. YOU! You should quit your corporate job. I know it’s hard to quit, what with bills and the depression and such, but I did it once and survived! I really think the vague, hazy non-accountability certain large corporations inspire is ruining our country. We suck at everything. We are last in everything. We are completely incompetent.

When you quit your evil job, and your survival depends on your doing things correctly, you realize how easy it is, and how much energy you used to spend looking like you were working. We teach our kids to bullshit in college, and that’s all they do when they get jobs. They hate their jobs so much, they would rather put all their effort into pretending they’re doing their jobs than actually doing their jobs, and then people who need their services get hurt. I guess I might be insulting our readership, because people who are not working are probably the ones who read blogs all day.

On my more radical days, I want to boycott large corporations and become a pioneer lady who grows her own rhubarb and chops her own wood, and keeps her money under the mattress and wraps her own arm when she breaks it. But I’m way too much of a pussy. And I don’t even like rhubarb all that much.

11. How do you define virtue?

That’s tougher. How about: people who don’t talk shit about their friends, even though everyone else does. People who host great parties for other people. People who give their spouse the last pretzel. In this time of gazillions of Facebook friends, friends who would actually do anything for you. Oh, and people who quit their evil corporate jobs to start their own, positively-impacting business!

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

“She gave her spouse the last pretzel. And then she died immediately afterwards.”

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Heather Browne!


The Donnybrook Writing Academy

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