Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Listening to: Ken Burns Jazz: Miles Davis (specifically, "So What"). Today's poem: "Photograph of My Father In His Twenty-Second Year" by Raymond Carver. Some of my students are writing about his "Cathedral." I wonder if any will see something connecting both.

Twins came out fine. Christina even made it to her art show last night. Was nice, but had to stand a long time. She was tired, but just when I thought I needed to take her home, someone would come and admire her paintings and she would jump up and down happily. I think she needed the nice strokes.

Thought this morning about being forty. I didn't like it. The actual age isn't the problem, but the feeling in many ways one isn't much different than at 30 or even 14. Sigh. Then there is the sense that certain accomplishments one hopes for (forget about dreams) might not really happen. But what do I know? I'm probably just tired.

Gotta go. Have coffee to drink and class to teach.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Listening to: Nothing. The kids are asleep, twins on the couch, and it's late. But I've been going between Herbie Hancock and Dave Brubeck much of the day.

Twins have surgery in the morning to get tubes out. They have been looking forward to it. What do kids know? Tonya has been a wreck about it. She helps me worry.

Somewhat productive weekend. Got some school work done. Got some of the place cleaned. Was going to avoid television this weekend, but when that plan got altered, I didn't feel bad about watching the Mavs whip up on the Kings.

Alex's game got postponed. That means if it doesn't rain next weekend, we'll have two games to go to. Three little girls spent much of the weekend at Grandma's. Angela's show wrapped up. Bummed, I didn't get to see it.

Had to move the Villager because a sticker's out of date and the the apartment is nuts about stuff like that. I haven't been driving it, but it is crazy. I've been through too much for that blasted vehicle. Will probably sell it.

Friday got a rejection notice for my story "Fixing the Sandwich." Guess it bums me a little, but I'm okay. Need to find time to update my spreadsheet about what I have out and what has been rejected. Need also to submit some work to a few places that don't have email submissions. While sick I could take advantage of the net. Now that I'm working regular hours, I haven't had time to keep up with all those details or to seek out those places.

Need to work on the workspace here at home. Can't type long without the carpel tunnel getting me. Not good for a guy who plans to spend his summer writing.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Listening to: KNTU over the net. Listened to Weather Report's Heavy Weather in the library earlier.

Today's poem: "The Return" by Anna Ahkmatova.

Students working on research papers. Some things slowing down. Calm before next week's storm. Sorry for the cliche.

At the student art sale, I bought a new coffee cup the other day to add to my boring little collection. My favorite color is blue, but something told me to go with something with some earth tones. The cup I purchased is taller and a tiny bit thinner than most coffee cups and has a blue ring near the top that blends nicely into the greenish-brown-black of the majority of the cup. Nice big handle.

Why does this matter? Don't know. Just thought I'd write about it. I get a sense of peace/pleasure from such simple things as a nice cup of coffee and I suppose the cup is as much a part of the overall experience as the music I'm listening to or the book I'm reading or what I'm writing.

Speaking of reading, I skipped my quiet time to prepare for class this morning. Have done too much of that lately and so I want to take care of it now while I have an opportunity. Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Listening to: Patrick O'Hearn, Mix-Up (I don't know why).

Most of my students are in the library this week doing research for their final essays. This gives me some time to catch up on a few other things.

World Lit class is covering Crime and Punishment, one of the greatest novels of all time. This is my first time to teach it. My class seems enthusiastic, but we are going so slow. I don't think we will cover anything else before the end of the semester.

Recovery going fine, though I have had some fatigue and soreness the past couple of days. I can't quite account for this.

Went to the Bone Star Jam last Saturday and saw Kansas and some local bands. Was really fun. Kansas played about three songs I haven't heard them do in concert before including all of "Magnum Opus". Sound was great and though we were pretty far back, we could see most of what we wanted. Alex went with Brad, Nikki, and I, and I think she had a great time.

It was a big weekend for her. She had a retreat and soccer game (they won 3-1, go Sugar and Spice!), and then the concert. The next day was her First Solemn Communion. Much thanks to Jenn and Donnie for coming out for that one. Then she had to take pictures for Girls Scouts. Last night, her strings class performed at the Eisemann. Mucho merci buckets to my wife for being willing the chaperone that!

Looking forward to summer. I like what's left of my classes and enjoy my students, but I need a break. My body is breaking down and I need to recharge my spiritual and emotional batteries. I would like to work out a schedule where I write for an hour or more in the morning, spend the day with the family, and spend an hour or so each night doing revision of some novels I've already written. If all goes well, I could have at least a new novel and my e-book on writing finished (at least in good drafts) I could revisions of two novels ready to submit for publication. All before classes start in August.

Read X.J. Kennedy's Dark Horses some time ago. Wish I'd written a review while I still had it fresh in my memory. Mr. Kennedy writes formal verse or poems that build from traditiona forms. They are humerous often (sometimes dark and sardonic). In "Emily Dickinson Leave a Message to the World," the poetess tell us: "Though often I had dialed adn rung/The Bastion of the Bee --/The Answer I had hungered for/Was seldome Home -- to me--" Some of Kennedy's poems are tranquil and as the cover says, "meditative." Note the following from: "Staring into a River Till Moved by It:" "Inert, your hand dropped from my hand./Unbudged. rocks in the stream stood/And as we dragged our shoes to land/The drydocked trees raised hulls of wood." Anyway, I liked the book and recommend it particularly to anyone who enjoys rhymed verse. Actually I recommend it also to those poets who can't seem to believe anything creative can be done with traditional forms.

Have been reading a poem a day to my students (well, most days I have) in honor of National Poetry Month. Don't know how the students enjoy it, but it has been much fun for me. Trying to mostly use poets who are alive and still writing (though I did begin with Thomas Merton's "For My Brother: Missing In Action, 1943." Have read from Eliot's "The Waste Land" too.). I'm thinking I need to do Anna Akhmatova soon, and perhaps a Carver poem since some of my students are writing about his story "Cathedral." Perhaps "Photograph of my Father."