Monday, November 29, 2010

Best of the Week

How have I forgotten how much I love this time of year? I love cozy snowy evenings and fresh bracing mornings and there's something so hopeful about the first month or so of snow. I love the holidays: I love family and travel and food.

I spent this week with the Texas branch of James's family. We got one day of warm weather (we spent a couple of hours out on the dock Wednesday night--full moon, lake lapping, James, perfect), a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner (Sherry's brined turkey was incredible), lots of delicious food actually, great time with the fam and a safe ride there and back (40 hours total. James and I are great at ridiculous road trips). I am grateful for the time with family and for James and for the break.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best of the Week

Disputable (remember when I used to do these all the time?): I left campus early Friday to go and check out Bijou Market, where Annie was selling some of her stuff. I had to go back to campus to meet with some students and I was kind of bummed (I felt bullied around and simultaneously flakey. Gross.) So, grumble grumble I'd rather be napping, I headed up to my office, met my first student, and it was like a light switched on in my brain: I was engaged, I had interesting things to say, I was helpful (I think) and he was very gracious. I don't know how well I'm doing at applying the lesson I learned about application and engagement--not yet at least, but: lesson learned. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A note:

We all hold this suspicion that my dad was secretly kind of famous. Everyone who I knew who knew Dennis ran into him regularly ranging around downtown with his hound. I suspect that hundreds of downtown-dwellers have noticed the dog and the cigar and the hat and thought "who is that guy?"

Recently our suspicions have been confirmed somewhat. A friend of Dennis' was talking about his passing and her friend said "Wait! I know that guy!" Turns out he took a picture out his car window. Just because.

The pic:
Sometime, maybe soon, I'll try and articulate why this picture is as figuratively touching and perfect as it is literally kooky and touching and perfect.

(maybe here and now a little)
Last year when Dennis pulled 7 C-notes out of a cigar box with an art-dealer's business card, directions to the gallery, and a recommendation for a great German bakery in the neighborhood, my sister proposed I write it into a short story. We talked about working my brothers' efforts to guess Dennis's favorite author in order to access some of his records into a essay or story of sorts. My friend Amanda, too, suggested I write a speculative memoir of/for/about Dennis. And the idea, in addition to feeling daunting and impossible and potentially offensive to everyone, has this persistent tickle to it. Like I've sorted years of his life into chapters, started collecting info online (could Dennis have written a book called Your Mama Was Wrong I hope?) and watching BBC adaptations of LeCarre for source material/inspiration for The European Years.

There are some questions I have to answer first (I'm rereading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and trying to imagine fitting Dennis into a similarly sparkling nostalgia): do I paint him as the suave secret agent we've always sort of imagined him to be? Can I write about my dad as a womanizer? Do I try and explain away the dark/sucky years with international intrigue or stick with dark and sucky? I want to do it. I probably won't let anyone read it. Tickle tickle tickle.

the end.

When Adorable is not Enough. Gasp.

So, first, I'm probably getting old. Second, I find myself having less patience with things that I'm not drawn to initially lately. And having a hard time sitting still/concentrating/whatever.

Also, I try and not be that person on the internet who is a jerk just for the fun of it. I rarely leave comments and never in anger. Because that person generally misread the prompt and radiates all this negative energy for no reason. But this post has been rattling around in my head for more than a week and I thought I'd pound it out. It feels important/definitive somehow.

I saw Sufjan Stevens at Kingsbury last week. And I didn't like it. He, as the title mentions, is adorable--charming and with a lovely voice and he was wearing angel wings. He was on the very short list of people I'd like to see perform live. There was too much concept, though, and not enough (for me, last week) heartfelt. Sufjan, dear, don't you just want to croon a little with your back-up orchestra and guitar and make me cry?

This is a thing I know about myself, now: I like concerts where I get to sit down. I prefer acoustic instruments. I want to feel like music is being created as I watch and not pre-prepared to, like, make me think or impress me or whatever. Even this is an illusion on long-touring shows I guess but the feeling that maybe the band wants to be there and maybe is enjoying the stuff they're playing and maybe hasn't spent the last year eating mushrooms with their artist friends is important to me.

This is good for me to write down: I've kind of always been ambivalent about shows (all the cool kids are going!), and maybe this will act as a reminder. Or something.

(Also. In case you want to accuse me of Philistinism: I'm definitely listening, unironically, to Journey as I type this. Right now my little heart is being inspired to not stop believing. :) )

Monday, November 8, 2010

Smiley's People

Tonight I am grateful for support from unexpected quarters: my students, carrel-mates, and ward buddies (and not just the ones I already know and love) have kind of rocked my world today. Blessings, etc.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

--Emily (I may be on a first-name basis.)