Friday, March 30, 2007

at one point my daughter and i had a discussion about whether our lives were harrowed or harried, but when we looked up the words, we were both wrong. we finally settled on beleaguered although maybe we could do better. in boggle we found out that wantages was a word- one i plainly saw, and could have got seven points for, but couldn't conceive of having gone a whole lifetime without having heard it.

came back to all the grading that i'd missed, plus my usual classes, and a gig last night that caused me to miss the bog again, altogether. everyone is growing so fast it makes my head spin. had a fantastic time in seattle- salmon & coffee nonstop, grand forest on bainbridge island, an erhu player in pike's market, the sea, the traffic and the cherry trees from the little alcove at the convention center, where we also heard the atlas stringband, by the way. wallingford & its coffee shops, including tully's, all this is well-documented here; all i can say is, it was all true, i'm proud to have such a daugher, with such a good salmon-cookin' husband, they were fantastic to me. the conference was good too- though the salukis lost right in front of our humble reunion, the webheads were great too- a fine, adventurous lot that feels a lot like a family, in spite of possibly being very different as people. a long pair of plane flights each way, got some sleep, but lost a lot of sleep too, in spite of the coffee, the original starbucks, the fantastic view of rainier and the columbia valley, and the wide sweep of montana and idaho.

back home i park the truck in the shadow of the clocktower, and try to process it all as i walk up the steps, under the clocktower, down the long wide campus path past the japanese garden and the library construction. under the clocktower, in the center doorway of the building, an inscription says, so enter, that thou mayest become daily more learned and thoughtful...so depart, that daily thou mayest become more useful to thy country and to mankind. ironic, i always think, in that i am basically entering and departing within the same minute, and not lingering long enough to actually pick up anything but musty air. but curious, also, that siuc defines our role in terms of helping out...i like that. it's politics as usual above me, wild and intense; i fit my goggles tighter on my nose, so as to see only the water i swim in. in kansas my son is at a crossroads, trying to decide about a semester in france, the summer, the fall and the spring- he has to do something pretty quickly. in the high school, a young boy was struck by lightning- it set back my other son, made him realize, if only for a day or so, about mortality. the five-year-old eagerly awaits kindergarten; the little guy is almost two, doing a full-court press, causing us to switch from zone to man-on-man, calling fouls, badly needing a substitute sometimes.

some news on the creative front: though i haven't written much, being professional and all, i did pull two old stories out of the drawer, to use in a class, then had to type them for a blind student, so was able to just upload them for your perusal. they are at least ten years old; they work together; what is important about them really is that they could turn into a much larger, much better work. but, even more important, another story, abstract and concrete, about faner hall, the building i teach in, was published in the ibb university newsletter, ibb university, yemen. it may take me a while to adjust to this, make this known- since it's work-related (in a sense), i may make it available from the professional blog. it's a partly-true story of being the one to show senator paul simon around the maze i call home, at work. and that's life, so enter, so depart, to your left is the cascade range, car on fire on the floating bridge, even worms make mistakes, traffic is heavy, in spite of the rain, but there are old volvos and saabs all about, makes you feel like it's the north. and back home, the music is better, cd almost ready, makes me feel like i can make music. that, and the blooming flowers, the pollen, everywhere, and i know that life has given me another turn on the carousel. more coming- sorry for the sporadic habits, the lack of sleep, the naps. the starfish on the pier, the amazon building, the humid lambert parking lot, the service at the vietnamese on the ave, the rock skipped, from the pier, a splash on the tide, indistinguishable from the soft drizzle, all a kind of fog in my memory, now, tending to get crowded in there, with a beleaguered life. it's birthday season...don't let 'em get to ya.

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