Monday, July 29, 2013

One crazy summer

I was at home only a few days after ALA before I left for Cleveland, Mississippi, for a week studying Delta history at that university's Delta Center for Culture and Learning, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I stayed in a dormitory, ate as terribly as the natives, and listened to some incredible music. I had a marvelous conversation about Faulkner, probably the best abut literature I've had since my English M.A., the sort of thing which feeds me spiritually for months. I had scheduled the seminar as a sort of treat and was really glad I took a break from my usual library-based concerns. I'm re-reading Native Son now, coincidentally, thinking about the Thomas family's migration north, so typical for that era.

Both juke joint and home, a former sharecropper's cabin.
In his 70s, Monkey works the fields by day and opens his home to music lovers on Thursday evenings.
I was back just another few days before we left for our vacation. This was the fourth time we've been in Key West for Hemingway Days, and the presence of so many heavy, gray-bearded men -- there's a look-alike contest, with a "running of the bulls" of all the participants -- is always surreal. It is also a relaxing time, with bicycling to the beach, watching movies at the Tropic Cinema, eating at some of our favorite places. This time, it was extra restive because my husband got sick towards the end -- swimmer's ear from too much snorkeling. Pity, all the more time to read.
There are more than a hundred of these past and aspiring Papas at Hemingway Days
So this summer has slid through my hands like so much sand at the Fort Taylor beach...I still have a transitional library to make workable before school starts ("Where does one begin?" asked a teacher friend, taking in all the boxes when I popped into school last week. Good question, that.), a dissertation to polish up and defend before October (drop-dead deadline, if self-imposed), and a bunch of other projects on the go. The two classes I've been teaching for Jacksonville State University end today and tomorrow, I have some article revisions due today, and a reception for my retiring superintendent this afternoon before the JSU class meets. I'm busy, but it's good busy. I'm feeling particularly blessed.

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