A Good Day
A Rainy Day

Snippets from the Day

Up very early this morning.  Couldn't get back to sleep.  Watched some more Orange is the New Black.  So far this season doesn't seem to have all the layers of power, race, and class quite like last year, though I think it is fantastic with stories and character, especially character.

***

Early morning run around the campus was beautiful and exhilarating.  And I ran better than usual.  Must have been the setting.

***

Went to church at Center Church On-the Green.  Shortly after I entered I was looking over the bulletin when someone came up to say hello and welcome me to New Haven, and I looked up and it was Bruce Garver, member of my church in Omaha!  He and Karen are on vacation and were here on the same Sunday as me, attending the same church (there is another UCC church right next door, from a split that occurred 200 years ago).  They were members of the church 40 years before, and Bruce had been the moderator.

***

It is Pentecost.  The music was all about the spirit, its fire, is passion, and its power.  And there was this repeated refrain of purifying and disciplining and forming our desires.  At least that was on my mind from the chapter of Sarah Coakley's God, Sexuality, and the Self that I had read sitting quitely in a square listening to some people practice sacred music through an open window.  I have more to write about these connections, but tonight I have assignments and lack the creative energy to write that complete post.

***

During lunch, while sitting with an assortment of people I had not yet met, we got into an interesting discussion of the role of violence in film with particular references to Tarantino and Peckinpah.  One woman was defending it as serving a higher artistic purpose.  Another was saying that she couldn't stand the violence anymore and that writers have a responsibility for cultivating moral virtue.  My contribution was that the myth of redemptive violence is deeply seated within Western culture and is one of our flaw.

***

Two of those women and I went to the Yale Center for British Art after lunch.  It is housed in a splendid Louis Kahn building, which isn't much to look at from the outside but functions beautifully on the inside, displaying the art while bathed in diffused natural light, along with large windows looking over the campus and the town.  Walking into the Turner room took my breath away and gave me the shivers.  There is a couch in that room, which looks at the two best works in the room, with views of the campus to one's left through one of those grand windows.  Since the museum admission is free, I may return and sit on that very couch again.

***

Quirky, fun, interesting, and beautiful exhibit entitled "Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists' Books and the Natural World.  The nexus of art and science as the books and collections of artistically inclined naturalists or naturalistically inclined artists are displayed.  Many of the works are full of whimsy.  One wall I particularly noted was representations of dandelions.  First a pressed dandelion, then various artistic representations, including fun, multi-coloured modern ones.

***

Student readings began today.  Four classes read their works, including the class that I am in.  We each had six minutes.  I read the opening three pages of the memoir I've been working on for ten years and which I'm workshoping at this conference.  As someone who reads my writing to other people every week, I thought I'd be fine, but I was more nervous than I usually am being in front of others.  I was nervous because I've never done quit this before, nor read this particular story--a key part of my coming out--publicly before.

It was a relief that people laughed where I had hoped that they would laugh.  And they sighed with satisfaction at the end.  

People came up after the session wanting to know more and asking questions.  At dinner Christie, from my workshop, said that she thought my work was timely.  This is refreshing as I've wondered if the world has had enough coming out stories.  Another woman later stopped me on the street and complimented my work.  She said "your voice came through."

Christie pointed out that I seemed giddy reading the story.  Her friend said it was almost like a teenager experiencing first love.  I responded that it was interesting they noticed that because I felt that in the moment and it had surprised me.  It was as if I was able to enter back into that moment and suddenly resurrect some of the feelings of the time.

***

On the phone with Michael this evening I told him that I'm really enjoying who I am here, that it feels like me before responsibilities and anxieties.  That the more patient, listening, gregarious me has re-appeared.  

***

Tonight's presentation was by Amy Stolls of the National Endowment of the Arts talking about her writing career, what the NEA does in supporting reading and writing, and what the current trends in reading and writing are.  I do want to learn more about publishing and how to go about that, so this is a first step in that process.

***

And now for some of my homework, until I'm too tired to think and crawl into bed to watch Game of Thrones.

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