It's that time of year – time to return home from the "vacation" & gird one's loins for the upcoming semester, which begins in a couple weeks' time. I had high hopes for substantial blogging, at least during one leg of our trip, but all of my writing energy got channeled – quite productively, thank you – into the project at hand.
A scattered six weeks, all told. We spent the first four & a half dividing our time between Manhattan & Fire Island, where I got lots of sun, ate badly ("badly" in the sense of limited offerings at the general store & an unfamiliar kitchen), & powered my way through 2 score pages on Guy Davenport: a biggish essay (in the old sense) – a bit of memoir, a smidgen of criticism, a trifle of reviewery, & a good deal of patch-elbowed tweedy appreciation. It was immensely fun to write, & enough fun to read that you should be seeing some version of it in Parnassus fairly soon. Now, thankfully, save for a brief review or two my writing responsibilities have tapered off.
Then the better part of a week visiting my mother in Tennessee, a visit fractured by an unexpected and rather traumatic hospital visit (everybody's okay, thanks). Then the girls' first real road trip: one day we drove to Cincinnati, where we were entertained royally by Norman & Alice Finkelstein, got to spend some quality time with Lisa and Bill Howe (& even ran into the too-long-since-I've-seen-him Keith Tuma), & admired the beautiful architecture & topography of the city, which I'd never visited before. The next day, on to Cleveland for a couple days with some old friends of J.'s – a lovely & restful windup to the whole whirlwind excursion.
We caught a flight at the crack of dawn today, & got home midday to find the house in pretty much pristine condition, thanks to a really sterling house-sitter. Golly, but he deserves laurels, for the upstairs air conditioning has been pretty much nonfunctional the whole time; the final round of repairs got done – you guessed it – this very morning, just in time for us to come home & throw him out.
I joke about coming back from New York as being something like Christmas, given the number of cartons we always end up mailing home. This time was worse than ever: SIX cartons, mostly of books. Of course, a large contingent of poem-books from The Strand, as always. And of course all of the books we shipped up there in order to work on our own projects. And a huge bundle of things that fell into my lap by way of a dedicated Ruskin-collector friend who's outgrown his own shelf space. Not that I have shelf space for all this. But I'm making plans (few of which, alas, actually involve getting rid of books.) Do I really need all those poetry anthologies in my study? Couldn't they go to my office on campus?
(I always have space for your new poetry collection, however.)