It's a new year, though it doesn't feel like it. Rosh Hashanah really snuck up on me---perhaps going back home to Ohio for Yom Kippur will solidify this time of year. I always end up kinda of sad, nervous, taking stock, and feeling excited about what could be in store in the upcoming year---and reflecting on how many changes have happened. This has been a big year and I think the next brings more. I've been listening a lot to my Erin Johnson cd lately---she lived next to me freshman year and was the Sarah McLaughlin of Heer Hall and I think of all of us around the piano in the dimly lit study lounge and building fires, of walking in and out and the music and how immediate it all was and now, how long the corridors of memory.
Just this week another one of my former students asked me to write his letter of rec. for a study abroad program. He wrote of how important it is for us to step outside of ourselves and become part of another culture, not just travel, but really contribute to the community in which you become a part of----his statement of purpose really touched me and made me feel part of something larger. I often wonder what it is to teach writing, if they get when we spend half of a class listing other words for red---and then naming objects and feelings associated with it, if this is a significant thing with a capital S. Last year at this time, I had decided it was time to really pursue the teaching and so I gave up the 9-5, became a bartender so I could teach more and I think that was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Soon after that I found out my first book would be coming out, and here it is and it all still seems so surreal, how far I've come from scribbling to candlelight and piano, how here I am, the same music, a cup of tea, and writing on my students' poems, thinking how much they sounded like me, almost twenty and so so alive.