I Am Big. It's the Pictures That Got Small

for those wonderful people out there in the dark

11 October 2007

Yay Doris Lessing!

Great news about Doris Lessing being named this year's Nobel Laureate in Literature. She's a true champion writer, and it's heartening to see this recognition finally, finally come her way.

I first came across Lessing in a graduate class at Indiana University, actually the last class taught by Dr. Mary Gaither. In that British novel survey, we finished up with The Golden Notebook, and even though, punk that I was, I thought the narrative could use some tightening (I so didn't get it), the really smart students did get her. Here, I'm thinking of Robyn Wiegman, my MFA buddy who didn't get that much respect in the creative writing program (not nearly as much as she deserved). But Mary figured out that Robyn was the real deal, and Robin proved it with a brilliant and beautiful treatment of the novel that was beyond me, truly. Of course, Robyn is now the kick-ass Director of Womens Studies at Duke University. My other favorite memory of Robyn was when she heckled me at a reading and I flipped her off--we were both pretty drunk. Sweet memories!

Anyway, I like to think of Robyn as being the kind of thinker that Lessing would admire, and if Lessing can touch someone as brilliant as Robyn back then, I knew Lessing was something. I didn't come back to Lessing until about 15 years later, reading her riveting, troubling, and troubled stories.

01 October 2007

October Already?

Easy to misread the more northernly (extra-tropical, and so it could be the way more southernly, too) change of seasons in South Florida, where we are just near the last third of our "hurricane" season, which is more accurately our wet season. But so much for the weather report.

I've been amiss in my blogging, but that's partly due to wanting to step away from it purposefully. And I'm not entirely sure if I'm looking to step back fully into it, and so I'll just linger with the stasis, with the in-betweenness of the seasons.

But forthcoming is The Sanibel Island Writers Conference, and I'm really looking forward to spending some time with Nick Carbo and Denise Duhamel. One incidental fact about them, for those of you who must know all things Nick and Denise, is that they were married on Sanibel. Shhhhhhhhhh!

And this year, we'll have a great mix of participants, with visitors from afar and near, but also with plenty of FGCU students who'll be attending for free because of a generous stipend provided by the student government. So Sanibel Island will have an infusion of some young writerly blood, and that's always a good thing.

Another current diversion is that I'm writing lyrics for a set of tangos, choreographed by Alyce Bochette, that will be performed at this year's Art Royale in Fort Myers, far and away the best art happening in Southwest Florida. I've been reading tons and tons of tango lyrics, mostly from the 1920s, and it's all so wonderfully over-the-top, all about gambling, horse racing, drinking, fallen women, and sex, sex, sex. Don't know why I didn't play with this any sooner!