the start of another semester, plus some fiction

Today was the first day of classes for Casper College students, which means it’s well nigh time to get back on all of the horses. Part of me protests I never got off the horse, didn’t have much time out to pasture over the break, so to speak, because winter break is always a flurry of final grades and airports and preparing to tackle new things. This winter break, it was preparing to teach a compressed video/distance education course for the University of Wyoming. Teaching Middle English Literature using brand new technology in a brand new building is both peculiar and perfectly fitting. It also means slipping into old favorites and re-reading texts I haven’t looked at since graduate school, and that reminds me so much of why I’m in this profession.

This afternoon, after from doing a little Beowulf prep (which mostly consists of me writing hard time limits on my class outline because I know myself), I settled down with Richard Waswo’s article “The History That Literature Makes” (New Literary History 19.3). Waswo’s article looks most particularly at the legendary history of Britain, its hunger for ties back to Troy and an older, more civilized civilization.

Aside from reminding me how much I simply enjoy this article, Waswo’s work got me thinking about that reaching desire to see oneself as part of something larger, something older, something lasting. And of course I thought about writing, but also reading, and also American literature and culture, and I was again struck at the way my writing projects inevitably intersect:

One thing that happened while I was away from the blog was that I was awarded a Robert and Charlotte Baron Creative and Performing Artist Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. I’ll be there in June, working on the pirate book. As a 18th century transatlantic narrative, seeking and also resisting ties–to religion, family, nation, and even narrative itself–are certainly at the forefront.

And because I just wrote that last sentence, which is unrelentingly academic, let me make it up to you with a baseball story: To the Wall, appeared in the inaugural issue of The Rappahannock Review in December, and it offers up rookie-level minor league baseball in Casper, Wyoming, with a side of painkiller addiction and Justice League references.

This post is not a great post, but it does serve some purposes, including making those two pointers about my own writing that I’m pretty excited about. But more importantly, it’s pulling the Band-aid off on the blog-drought. I’ve been thinking about what kind of post I could make after more than two months that could justify the absence, and I didn’t have one. I have this, which is a post, after which another can be written, more easily.

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