I forgot to mention that I’m reading Deer Hunting With Jesus by Joe Bageant. Interesting book so far but wow is he angry, at both the left AND the right, for utterly and absolutely failing to help what he calls the “poor white” community in this country. More on this book later, when I’m done reading it.
Last night, we went to eat at a local sushi restaurant that happens to be our favorite sushi restaurant. (Chris doesn’t eat sushi but he gets the Happy Dinner Box, which allows him to get beef and chicken and vegetable tempura, while I go for the raw fish. Yum.) I was about halfway through my hot sake, and feeling it baby, when I heard a voice that sounded suspiciously familiar behind me. I sneaked a peak and realized (oh sh**) that one of my students from last semester was there with her boyfriend. I did not want her to see me soused with hot sake (Chris assuredÂ me that yes,Â I looked thoroughly and unrepentently drunk)Â so I hunched my back and whispered to Chris and generally tried not to look around again. But me and my pink hair are hard to miss. When our bill came, inside was a note instead of the bill:Â “Ms. Powers, I had a great time in your class–thanks so much! I learned a ton. Love, K____.” That was really sweet of her–and brought tears to my eyes (maybe that was the hot sake)–and reminded me that sometimes you feel useless and horrible and unliked as a teacher but that’s not necessarily true.Â Thank you, K_____ for making it all worthwhile!
I got an email from Lee Byrd at Cinco Puntos Press today, telling me that Bobby always said he shot himself in one foot when he decided to become a poet and shot himself in the other foot when he decided to become a publisher. Then she said, “Well, you already know what it’s like not to be able to walk.” (She’s referring to the 3 months I spent in a wheelchair post-getting-hit-by-a-truck-twice while I was trying to cross a busy intersection.)
This is what scares me MOST about this new venture. The last two years in the Ph.D. program, it’s been hard hard hard to do both. I readily admit it. I am miserable, trying to do both at the same time. When I’m just writing, I’m fine. When I’m just doing the Ph.D., I’m fine (well, not fine, exactly, because I’m miserable when I’m not writing but it’s not as stressful as trying to do both at the same time.) My adviser, who has always been incredibly supportive, has told me just this: You can do both, he has said several times, but you probably can’t do both at exactly the same time. He might have used the word “sequencing.”
And now I’m publishing books. Am I crazy?
Yes, somebody shoot me now.
But this is precisely why I’m a) going to keep the number of books I publish small, very small and b) not follow the traditional publishing format.Â Tons more on that at the press’s blog, of course, in coming weeks. And here.
Michael Ventura, a writer I have never heard of but probably should have because he’s a Texas writer. Anyway, he apparently knows what it takes to be a writer–and so he wrote a really interesting essay, “The Talent of the Room,”Â about what it takes–the ability to sit, alone, in a room for twenty+ years. You can have skill, talent, fascinating things to say, etc., but if you don’t have that one skill, you will never last beyond your initial promise. At least, that’s what he argues. But he also says that if you have the talent required to spend years alone in a room, it’s a dangerous talent and it can be your undoing as a writer. Writing is aboutÂ memory–and if you spend too much time in that memory, your love for the present subsides and your writing begins to suck and peopel will tell you it sucks.
Good article. Definitely worth reading.