Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to School

* As of today, we are all back to school. Since last week, my life has been upside down. What began as one section of Reading and Writing Fiction at Syracuse University turned into another section of Interpreting Fiction, which meant four days a week. I'm gone every day (except Friday), I carry all my belongings with me like a pack rat or a bag lady. I have an office. It's an unexpected boon and a flurry of activity and stress.

I've spent long summer days editing, reading and goofing off.

In the past week and a half I've learned more about craft than I have in the last year, just from forcing myself to teach readings to students, from being forced to articulate what I rely on intuitively. I find myself at the end of the day, thinking about Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, Anton Chekov. And covered in chalk.

One respite this week: I'm reading with poet Richard Forester at the Bright Hill Literary Center in Treadwell, NY. When they host you, they also put you up for the night. I'm looking forward to reading, and to having an evening that doesn't involve prep or grading.

Since I've been back at work we've had torrential rain. The creek is swollen and fast. It's opaque brown, and deadly. Roads are closed.

Today, in class, we discussed Chekov's darling, appropriate for a day when all it did was rain. As Kukin says, "Again!" . . . "It's going to rain again! Rain every day as though to spite me!" . . . "Well, rain away, then! Flood the garden, drown me!"

As they say, when it rains . . .

*This is a man's hand, doing math. It's hard to find my counterpart in stock images, drawing the plot arc or chalking up a storm about theme and symbol.

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