I teach at LaGrange College–a small, pleasant island in the ocean, Academia. My colleagues are my friends; we are collegial. I deal with creatures of inexhaustible charm, a foot on either side of that just beginning to widen crack which will force them shortly to leap one way, or fall the other. They have vastly more promise than ignorance, but are rich in both.
I’ve been here so long I’m beginning to suspect some sorceress is playing a joke. How did I get here? Circuitously.
I was riding a stick horse in the pecan tree filled yard of a flat-roofed house in Auburn, Alabama–that much is vivid. Then, it all begins to blur. All my grammar school teachers were old (perfectly lovely) women; my children’s grammar school teachers were all hot babes. Why is that? The main thing I remember about high school is Mr. Goff. Him, and a handful of friends (you know who you are). I think everything I learned in high school could have been easily condensed into one strenuous afternoon. Then college, where I was rejected by calculus and attracted to letters, my favorites being M and G. The eras of my life have all been covered, one way or another, in my scribblings. My childhood is encoded most accurately and completely in my story “In the Beginning Was Kitto.” That gripping tale is not included here because it’s in a collection called Snake Dreams that I’m trying to sell!
After college, travel–then grad school, then travel, then five years in the printing business, then aimlessness, then LaGrange, grad school again, marriage, children, and a series of red felt-tipped pens. Here, the birthdays have become like cards being fanned in a deck. Like I said, a blur. Blur blur blur. You have to fight the blur! Speak truth to blur! You have to nail little exertions of precision to the shadowy walls of life’s dubious corridor.
To those of you in other trenches who hear this faint tapping–tap back!