4.19.2011

Yawn . . . Stretch . . . Type

Earlier in the day, when I first typed the title to this post, I thought it an interesting way to imagine my blog awaking from its little nap.  Now, with fatigue splintering my focus, it is a more fitting description of what I am currently doing.  Either way, the blog must emerge.  It has been resting for much too long.  I have a few good reasons:

1.  Multitasking: I'm reading 3 books at once, a practice I do not prefer.  I've got Ted Kooser's The Poetry Home Repair Manual and David Orr's Beautiful and Pointless both about half-finished.  I picked up both as a preparation for a mini-lecture on poetry I gave last week.  Both are interesting (although the Orr is much more funny), but neither are forcing me to get them finished.  I'm also reading Robert Morgan's This Rock, which is good but moving slowly.  Thus, I have completed no books in over a week, so I have nothing substantial to comment on.

2.  Laundry:  I had let the laundry slide to a point not common in this household, so I spent what few moments I had this weekend (see below) doing laundry.  I actually just finished folding the last (ha!) load today.

3.  The Conference on Southern Literature:  This biennial event is always one of my favorites, and this year, I enjoyed driving some of the writers around town as part of my volunteerism stint.  On Friday morning, I drove North Carolina poet Gerald Barrax to our community college, where he taught a class for "Middle College" students - high school kids getting college credit while finishing school.  He was gentle and funny and opinionated, and I loved learning that he, too, thinks Maya Angelou writes bad poetry.  Though he's retired now, from teaching and writing, I am glad to have "discovered" his work and brought home his From a Person Sitting in Darkness: New and Selected Poems

At the conference itself, I talked briefly with Jill McCorkle and Clyde Edgerton and enjoyed the panels and readings on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday morning, I drove George Singleton to the airport.  Singleton writes hilarious short fiction, and I am looking forward to his Drowning in Gruel that I picked up (and got signed!) at the conference.  His "Richard Petty Accepts the National Book Award" made me laugh more heartily than I expected.  The highlight of the weekend was Ernest Gaines accepting the Cleanth Brooks Medal from Wendell Berry.  These two old friends were so touchingly honored to be in each other's company, and I was struck with the realization that I was witnessing something intimate and wonderful.  Berry actually knelt next to Gaines' wheelchair to hold his microphone while Gaines read his prepared remarks. It was most memorable.

4.  In-Laws: While I was running around town shuttling writers and lunching and conferencing, my in-laws were here for a brief visit.  Their presence actually made my participation in the conference easier as they kept the kids, but it also meant I had a few more balls in the air than normal.

There might actually be more good reasons, but a few minutes ago, my eyes glazed over, and what I most want is to escape from this commercial for Cougartown playing in the background.  Perhaps I'll make a little progress on one of those books before sleep takes over.  Taking bets on how many pages?  My guess is 4.