Thursday, March 12, 2009

post-spring break

This is the 1st week here after spring break; my students – some of them at least – seem rested, enlivened, reset. Me, I'm wondering where it went, & why it left so few positive marks on me. In short, behind & exhausted: par for the course. Of course, this might be the aftereffects of this evening's Beckett seminar (Godot) for which I forgot my "talking" notes, & ended up trying to reconstruct them on the fly, in the process realizing just how painfully aphasic I can be when I haven't enough sleep.

And it's thesis defense season around here, so I have acres of lovely poetry & prose by wonderful students demanding to be read & thought about – no, I'm serious, it's good stuff, but where will I find the time to do it justice?

I've been poking & prodding at a few projects this week: how long, & how substantial, would a collection of my fugitive essays & book reviews be? Turns out pretty damned long – around 100,000 words, even leaving out the real crap. (And ignoring the more relevant question: who'd be mad enough to publish such a thing?) And I've been looking at my poems, moving them around, thinking about sending out a book manuscript. But most by golly most pleasurably, I've been painting. Found a canvas in a closet that I'd prepared a couple of years ago, lines all drawn for the filling in, & then found a little combination paintbox (cheap acrylics)/easel some holiday had brought me. So I sat down and painting, & took deep, sensual pleasure out of laying paint down on canvas with a brush. I have a tiny bit of talent, a knack for drawing & painting that was one of my consuming obsessions back in school. If I'd kept at it, I could have been perhaps not a real artist, but someone who did art for a living. Most of it's faded with decades of disuse, but I can still squeeze a little thrill out of making marks on a field once in a while. (This one I think I'll finish; it's all gold, orange, black & red, a iconic chessboard on a Vorticist background, with Tom Phillips-like text bubbles – from Scott's Fortunes of Nigel – floating in the center.)

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