Sunday, September 24, 2006

On the New Year

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.

4 comments:

Lisa said...

I pulled Erin J. out of my collection and shared it with my mom the other day too. Thanks for sharing your trip down memory lane...I received your book. It brings me back to our trip to DC and NYC with Hillel. It's incredible how Fall makes me feel so nostalgic! Tell Johnathan I said hello. Miss you. Love, Lisa

Don said...

Thank you very much for inviting me to read at Burlesque Poetry Hour! I had a great time -- and I'm not hungover like I thought I'd be. I toned it down a lot to keep everything dignified, so I hope I wasn't too low key for everyone.

carly said...

Glad you both are part of my life...Lisa, hope to see you in Ohio soon and Don, you're wild man!

Chester said...

i have all of my erin music on my ipod. it always takes me back to when i'd sit behind the piano at heer hall when she'd play. it was amazing to have the sounds rumble right through me. was so happy to hear you mention her music. i've tried to track her down to say hello and see if she's still making music, but without much success.. do you know if she perchance got married and took a different last name? =)