Tuesday, February 2, 2010

little writer bits

No, I'm still not ready to write a new review--not least because I switched from reading one book to three--and gone apparently are the days when I had the time to sit still and read from start to finish--sitting still is a luxury!!

Reading, like writing these past weeks continues in tiny little fragments of time.

I have been reading Ha Jin's collection of essays The Writer as Migrant on the metro as I train in to DC to teach and back, Mark Slouka's The Visible World en route to and in snowy northern Michigan and back, and still, yes, on my nightstand, I flinch to confess, Susan Minot's Evening, which is lovely but so long!

I am still also working on my web site, which almost warrants its own post. I wonder how many writers sit around developing their own web sites--it feels completely odd to me, creating my own little mini-brochure for myself, but there you are. Impoverished teachers and writers everywhere who have worked in web design end up using up all their reading time in this useless fashion, I suspect--I mean, surely I am not the only misguided site-maker on the planet. (Feels better imagining a community of my kind out there, slaving away....)

In the second snow of this week I stay up wanting to write and not able to get past that website!

But I did make rather a pleasant discovery, surfing the Web: a starred review of Temporary Lives at Publisher's Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6716116.html--very nice surprise!

Tomorrow I start my class online for the Writer's Center--Writing the Lyric Personal Essay--reading I can look forward to. That's one thing, teaching keeps me reading for class--poetry today (highlight: Men at Forty, by Donald Justice) lyric essay tomorrow--I get that reading done, one way or the other. And teaching creative writing keeps me thinking continuously about writing, about all those bits of craft we struggle with everyday on the page. The one job I don't want to quit, even when grading absorbs time like a sponge. (And I've been an exemplary job-quitter, all through my varied working life.)

Today after class, the most angelic of my new Intro to Creative Writing students--there's always one student in every class it seems who is just so amazingly ethereal, so innocently charmante she is almost seraphic--came up to me and told me how much she loved this class and looked forward to it, and how she had just been wanting to tell me this. I was charmed! Amazed! Flattered! Grateful! Please, spread that news around, I wanted to say. It is a lovely class, isn't it! To tell the truth, it did make an enormous difference. On the way in to work--when I wasn't reading The Writer as Migrant, that is--I had been thinking darkly about how long it has taken for Temporary Lives to see the light of day, how many years--a subject I am talking about openly in interviews, and thinking more about. I'd actually been feeling a bit invisible myself, as my manuscripts/books have been, for years. It was very gratifying to hear appreciation.

I've been keeping company with that snow tonight. I can see it outside, looming masses weighing down the pine, and hear something: a crinkle of ice on ice, on trees, on the roof, wonder if it's turned to sleet. And I can hear Sophie upstairs, magically sensing my absence in her sleep and snuffling protest -- so finally, bon nuit, mes cheres, and to all, goodnight.

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