Re: my work: In this case, being on a cusp is like the hinging of a clasp. It is not so much a turning point (as in a change of direction) but the closing of a structure that was always designed to close. I am shifting from mostly reading and tinkering in my mind to writing and tinkering with letters in backlit black and white on my various screens. Long-mulled ideas are taking form. Of course, this excitement is fear-tinged: what if the manifestation is not as luminous as the idea in the mind? Ah, but how the hell can it be! And so, there is a plowing forward regardless. A hewing, not a hemming and hawing. My hands are dirty with words in a way they’ve never been. It is good to work the earth. I know, long after the dissertation is filed, I will keep working these words.
* * *
A half-joking wish to move to Montgomery made in a previous post is on its way to coming true. I don’t want to count contracts that haven’t been signed, but things are looking very, very good for a move to Montgomery. I can’t help but cruise apartment listings and contemplate neighborhoods. I really like Old Cloverdale, as it’s an area I visited a few times on my previous trip and love the idea of being in walking distance of an independent theatre, coffee shops, restaurants, a terrific independent bookstore, and so forth. (Please, let this come true, too!)
* * *
So, Dear Blog, what are my plans for you? I’ll put up blips of rough drafts here and there and will post somewhat fleetingly on my continuing travels, and perhaps will even fill in a gap or two. The possibility of living in Alabama for years to come also means I can continue to explore in person Alabama’s living history, making this a project that will span years and perhaps even manuscripts. Though I also feel the sharp bite to write away from it as well, which has been a guilty wish to harbor these past eight months, one I have for the most part resisted.
I am not a person who always handles joy or the possibility of joy very well, perhaps as a hedge against hubris or, almost as bad, disappointment. But when I am still and think of this moment as a promise, as the fulfilment of some promises and the pledging of others, I am suffused with a gratitude I am not competent to adequately name.
* * *
My freshman year at Montevallo, in my first-ever college English class, Kathy King had us read Seamus Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist because, as she said, she was sure many of us had never read a single collection of poems by a living author, and, at least in my case, she was right.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.