Her Green Figs

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

15 June 2006

Tarheel Country

I have come up here to Durham, NC, ostensibly to attend part of the annual North American/European conference in my unfortunate career field in Chapel Hill. Really, though, this trip is a convenient way to get my state government to pay for me to visit my delightful brother, sister-in-law, and nephew in Durham. I am currently sitting on their red suede sofa in their little living room in their little cottage. I am waiting for them to come home from work and school so we can go to a baseball game. I am also hoping to fall asleep briefly, since I know the heat at the stadium and the sticky on the nephew will only make me even grumpier after my night of insomnia, morning of parking horrors, and day of grueling seminar. Yuck.

Construction continues on the replacement foundation of what may or may not be my new old house. I have not yet been informed of any catastrophes (is it practical or pessimistic or paranoid that I have been imagining chimneys collapsing through three floors or ceilings cracking in half or front porches just plain falling off the building?). Thus, I am assuming that things will go according to plan and that I will own a new old house at this time next week. I really have to get the estimate on that water heater replacement... Darnit. I stopped in a Big Orange Suburban Home Improvement store (BOSHI) this afternoon and loaded up on fresh paint chips. I surely do love me some paint. I like to smell it, like to stir it, like to paint with it, like to gaze admiringly at it, and like to choose it (by way of paint chips). The BOSHI also reassured me that there are passably attractive porch lighting fixtures and semi-suitable ceiling fans to be had at far less than some of the prices I am finding online. Since the goal is to spend as little as possible on things that won't bother me daily during renovation, I CAN buy the $80 porch light instead of the $300 one. To do so will permit me to order the swiss army cabinets with useful things that roll out, the really nice washer and dryer, and the fancy custom built-in bookshelves and windowseats. And stained glass. And reproduction fireplace tiles. You know, the important stuff. Not porch lights.

I am beaming and honored to be named a finalist in this month's Blogging for Books contest, hosted by the tremendous Joshilyn Jackson. The fine pre-judge this month is Angel and the celebrity judge is Shanna Swendson, author of some excellent work in one of my favorite not-really-a-genres, contemporary fairy-tales. As usual, I've read the REVIEWS of Shanna's books, but still haven't quite gotten around to reading the books themselves. This unfortunate side-effect of my time in graduate English departments is what I'm thinking of when I start to tell my students that they really don't have to read the books in order to write great papers, but then I stop myself from saying that with a well-placed coughing fit and tell them, instead, just to do the assignment and stop bloody whining about it. Anyhow, if I am blessed enough to win this contest, I promise I WILL read Shanna's books, then think about how I can work them into a syllabus. If YOU, fair reader, are interested in competing in the Blogging for Books contest, check Joss' blog for next month's prompt. However, I warn you that to check her blog may mire you into the swampy muck of smiles, giggles, guffaws, deep thoughts, and head-nodding that may cause you to read parts aloud to your colleagues and family pets and henceforth have even one more thing you have to do every single day of your life. As for me, I'm happy to have that as a daily part of my life, and so would my dog, if I had one.

On Tuesday night, I attended my first meeting of what may become a writing group to call my own. Well, not exactly "my own" since they've all been together for many years and they're mostly a generation older than me, and they already have a name, etc., but one that I might could be a part of anyway.
My fellow chorister, CD invited me and that put a big smile on my face to start with. Then, after the meeting, everyone (I think all of them) invited me to attend the next session, which I take as a pretty good sign. Yay! The collective mentorship in that group could be a very handy thing for me. I do so long to leave behind my boxes of business cards with the titles, "director" and "advisor" and "consultant". And while I harbor only fantasies, but no plans to pay bills and get health insurance as a writer, having a crit group is a step in that direction. Next time, I will take something to read.

And while we're on the subject of fantasies without plans, mine still involve trunks of ballgowns hauled around Europe as I travel with my internationally successful husband/lover/boyfriend the maestro and write brainy, poetic novels in outdoor cafes while he rehearses and ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT EVER have affairs with divas.


Alternatively, we can live in the Delta while he heads some high school music program and I become a wildly successful, though still critically acclaimed, Great Southern Writer, and we can spend most of our time in a great jook joint or roadhouse or dive bar. I'd miss the ballgowns a little though.