April is Still the Cruelest Month

Honestly, I should have taken a break from the blog for the month of April. I should have at least cut back. Clearly I haven’t had much of anything interesting to say. I seem to recall a lot of posts about how busy I am and how hard it is to keep doing a blog a day. Welcome to another post like that.

Only the stubborn of it keeps me going at this point. I keep thinking May will be here soon, and I’ll have time to think and write again. I keep telling myself I’ll be unhappy if May arrives, and I want to blog again, but I’ve broken my streak and have to start all over.

Worse things have happened in this life. A break would be for the best, but it looks like I’m unwilling to take one.

That’s the problem with mule-headedness.

Sometimes I think I learned to be this stubborn in PhD school, which is actually an endurance test more than an intelligence test. I got a PhD merely because once I started on it I was unwilling to let anyone be enough of a jerk to drive me away. And by the way, OSU professors, please don’t call my mother to complain that I said that. I don’t mean all of you obviously when I say that. Probably not you specifically at all. Not really.

Regardless, every time I blame my unwillingness to quit, even when all evidence points to the fact that I should, on the conditioning of PhD school, I end up in a battle of wills with a two-year-old and start to think maybe there is a genetic factor as well. I’m not the only person in my family capable of being this crazy.

And to my nieces who are much more likely to call my mother than my old professors, I don’t mean your children. Obviously.

And here you have one more act of fatigue-driven meta-blogging. Thank goodness that’s over for today.

Forever is a Fickle Thing

A few days ago I quit all my extra projects forever…except the blog and the journal prompts and the books projects and the summer workshops I’m putting together. Not that kind of stuff. All the other kind of stuff that makes me insane. That was Friday.

Today I’m co-chairing an iPad task force. I don’t even know what that means, but when I think of it as a project to tackle, I hear Mario (or is it Luigi) giggling “here we go” in my head. Here we go.

I find it fascinating that we have such a thing as an iPad task force. I fully intended to be the first person I knew to own one, but that was before my car had to have some electrical surgery. I still don’t own one, and it’s been two or three weeks since they were released. I’m lagging, seriously lagging. I’m also hoping the job of co-chair comes with its own iPad.

If you had asked me last week if my campus would move toward ebooks for textbooks, I would have said, “Yes, inevitably so. Within five years, we’ll all be using ebook readers for textbooks.”

Jesse Smith (my college president) says make that two years. Wow. Not much shocks me regarding technological change. I like to keep abreast. I eagerly anticipate new gadgets and tools. I am usually the first person I know to try them out.

Today I am stunned. Two years? Really? Congratulations, Dr. Smith. You’ve stumped me. Good luck with the rest of the campus.

Let the Mystery Be

This song came up in conversation this week. A friend said it summed up his life. I can only aspire to that level of zen-like acceptance. I tend to kick the mysteries around a little too much. I still think this is my favorite Iris tune.

It doesn’t matter what she sings. It always sounds like it ought to be taking place in a country church of my childhood. That’s a mystery worth spending time with.

Jesus and Tomatoes Coming Soon

IMG_4491

I got to spend some time with Kate Campbell this week, and a fine time it was. When she talked about Eudora Welty at JCJC, she said that she loves Eudora’s writing because Eudora writes the way she thinks. Exactly. Me too. And Kate sings the way I think. This is why when I first met her three years ago at a Coffee House show in Hattiesburg, I turned to my friend Tammy and said, “She’s one of us.” Tammy and I still think so.

We’re tight with Kate, tight with Eudora, tight with a Southern voice that knows how to express what it means to be us.

Kate has this song called “Jesus and Tomatoes Coming Soon.” She saw that on a sign at a roadside fruit stand. She has another song with the words “Jesus is Lord of Picayune, and Mississippi Welcomes You.” Yes, that’s a real sign too.

She tells a story about how she knew she and Eudora thought alike when she was given a picture of Eudora standing next to a sign that said, “Jesus is Lord of Kosciusko.” Those signs are everywhere in this state.

I once wrote a poem called “Jesus is at Sullivan Motors.” That was a sign I used to drive by from time to time.

I no longer have the poem. I wrote it a long time ago on a computer long dead. I culled it out of the poems I used for readings and such at the time, the poems I kept copies of. I must not have thought it was very good. It takes time to build something that does justice to the irony and humor of a sign like that.

I’ve heard Kate tell her Eudora sign story four or five times now. Every time I think, “I did that too. I think like that too. I’m in this club.”

But I don’t still have the poem to prove it, and if I rewrote it now it would only look like I was copying Kate.

On the other hand, the picture in this blog entry is of a real plant in my back yard. Maybe Jesus and tomatoes really are coming soon.

The Monster at the End of the Week

I’m worn out. Perhaps I should start there. I’m exhausted. We’ve had a literary event every day this week at Jones, and I’ve basically coordinated the whole week. I think this is called going the extra ten miles for the job. The stress, fatigue, and general worry of it all have hit me hard today.

I don’t feel bad about any event. The speakers were fantastic. The students seemed to have a great time and real learning experiences as well. Absolutely, I believe that these kinds of events make all the difference in the college experience. I believe in them. I believe what we put on this week was good, and even incredible. Kate Campbell, who sang and spoke about writing, writers, and Southern culture yesterday, was in every way amazing. She was the best guest speaker we’ve ever had on writing and literature, and maybe ever at all.

All that said, I’m ready to quit. I don’t mean quit the job. I mean quit the extra ten miles going into the job. Basically, I think I’m going to have to quit trying to coordinate events and books clubs and workshops and all of the other things I’ve been doing because the people on my campus who ought to care the most about those things don’t care at all. Zero support, zero participation from too many people who should have been first on board to help out. So I’m done. I can’t keep beating my head against brick walls. Take it from here on your own, people. Or not. Whatever. I don’t have any fight left in me.

Almost Again

This is another one of those days when I feel I need to make an appointment with myself to breathe. If you’ve got something you need from me I can only wish you luck. That does, of course, make today a likely candidate for the day I break my blogging streak. Not so, it seems, though I have nothing much to offer and not time in which to pretend I can offer anything.

So I’ll just give you this: The Journally prompt for today is “The weed trellis of my forgetfulness compels me to…”

What the heck does that mean, you ask? I don’t know. What can you make it mean?

I like nonsensical prompts best because those are the prompts that open up windows into the imagination. That’s all.

Almost the Day

This was almost the day I broke my blogging streak. I think this is Day 104 of continuous blogging. I had gone to bed already when I jerked myself awake with the thought that I had not posted anything. Thanks, blog. I’ll probably be awake all night now, and tomorrow is a long day. It would have been okay if I’d let it go. I almost didn’t blog today because Kate Campbell came to town, and I was hanging out with her. Good times. A day worth not blogging for if ever there was one.