After the Day's Work

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Like many of you, I've been following the news about Japan with pain, sorrow, and concern.  Such misery and grief--and anxiety, as we continue to watch and wait.  I'm glad that other countries are using this moment as a chance to question the wisdom of building new nuclear facilities, but I'm not sure glad is even the word to use.  Peace on Japan.

Here's some much more local news about friends, colleagues, and happenings.

First, a shout-out to my friend and colleague Rhonda Garelick, whose recent op-ed piece in the New York Times leaps from Galliano's recent bout of verbal cruelty and anti-Semitism to link fashion's and fascism's "cult of physical perfection."  Bravo, and pass the chips.

Next, though it might seem ironic on the heels of Rhonda's piece, file this little splat of fashion limelight under Reasons To Be Terrance.  All this, and writes dazzlingly, too--and he's one of the nicest colleagues I've ever had (at Pine Manor).  We should all be so blessed with gifts and grace.

Me, I'm finishing up my manuscript of personal essays, ISLAND OF BONES, for delivery to the University of Nebraska Press on April first--very exciting, nerve-wracking, panic-inducing, etc.--while packing for a week at the University of Iowa, where I'll be spending my spring break teaching a memoir workshop to graduate students in the creative nonfiction program. 

And I get to read at Prairie Lights, people!  Prairie Lights is a sort of heaven, an icon, a wee paradise for book-lovers traversing the Midwest.  James and I have spent many happy hours there on various trips, and now it'll be a thrill to get to read there.  I may not return to campus with quite the tan that my students will be sporting after spring break, but I'll get to see friends Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Daisy Hernández, and who knows who else? 

I'm also receiving the final batch of essays for FAMILY TROUBLE:  MEMOIRISTS ON THE HAZARDS AND REWARDS OF REVEALING FAMILY, an editing project that some of you saw flopping about in its inchoate beginnings back at AWP in 2008.  Some great pieces from Dinty Moore and Faith Adiele recently arrived, with just a few more left to come.  It's going to be an amazing book--a book I wish I'd had as a graduate student, and a book I'll definitely teach with. 

My research assistant Sindu, a meticulous copyeditor and insightful reader, is helping me tremendously on both of these collections.  Thank you, Sindu!  Thank you, UNL!

And my new editor for THE DESIRE PROJECTS sent me a copy of Denise Mina's Field of Blood, which is why I'm now using wee as a modifier about everything.  (Read it and you'll see; it's addictive.  Wee bastard.  Wee lassie.  And what does bint mean?) 

Nothing like having a young, poor, ambitious Glaswegian girl who's worried about her fat tummy all the time as the protagonist of a novel.  She's a "copyboy" (ah, the casual sexism of the 1980s) who wants to be a journalist, and the guy who asks, "Who's that fat lassie?" when he first sees her is the one she ends up in bed with (after quitting her solid, dull fiancĂ©).  Very happily, I might add. 

I have to say I loved it.  Very well written crime fiction, if you're in the mood for that.

And wasn't it nice of my editor to send it?

Lastly, my friend Barbara DiBernard has just been awarded the Louise Pound-George Howard Distinguished Career Award here at UNL for a lifetime of stellar teaching, research, public service, and administration.  She started here as a James Joyce scholar but moved her teaching and research into LGBT and disability issues and is beloved by generations of grateful students and colleagues; my friend Kim (who owns Indigo Bridge Books, which I'm told I rattle on about incessantly) still vividly remembers the class she took from Barbara long ago.  I visited Barbara's women's lit class this morning to talk with her students about The Truth Book, which they'd been reading, and had a wonderful time. 

Barbara, you'll be so missed when you retire this spring.



fayepoet said:

The recent events in Japan have both saddened me and hardened my view on the safe use of atomic energy. I can't comprehend continued usage or expansion given the risks, especially of storage.
All your positive shout-outs and good news of your own endeavors bring me cheer. Lucky grad students at Iowa to have you teaching for a whole week! And sounds like your reading will be great fun.
I am also heading to Iowa. In June, I'll be attending a week-long workshop with Patricia Foster on Shaping Strategies on writing the essay.It's my fallback gift to myself for having missed AWP!

March 19, 2011 9:44 PM

Mary K Author Profile Page said:

This must mean the contract is signed! Congratulations! Can't wait to read The Desire Projects. Great title.

March 28, 2011 3:34 PM

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