Sunday, December 9, 2007

reading, Dave Eggers, winter

The new NEOMFA grads all gave great readings on Friday. Anthony, especially, entertained us (if not the deans....?). Although very different in style, both Jessica and Sara were wonderful. And Jason Mullin, a PROSE writer, read part of what is a great short story.

Their readings made me think more seriously about the next few months--writing and rewriting my thesis, pleasing everyone (an impossible goal), and preparing to read and thank everyone properly and not tell stupid jokes because I'll be nervous. How many readings have I given? Hundreds? Thousands? In how many cities? Dozens? But this one will be very different, and important.

Am procrastinating my Emily Dickinson paper by reading Dave Eggers' What is the What, partly because Eggers is in town Thursday evening as the second in the Spectrum series at Cleveland Public Library, funded by the late Lockwood Thompson. Eggers will be with NYTimes art critic Michael Kimmelman. (Earlier this year, Kimmelman appeared onstage here with Art Spiegelman. It was supposed to be a dialogue, but Spiegelman overwhelmed the stage, and chain-smoked.)

What is the What is Valentino Achak Deng's story of being one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, one of the thousands of refugees driven from their burned villages and massacred families by (mostly) northern Sudanese ethnic Arabs. I had read much about the Lost Boys earlier, when I was interested in whatever stories there were of the Lost Girls of Sudan. 4000 Lost Boys were brought to the U.S., mostly from the Kakuma refugee camp. Only 89 Lost Girls came to the U.S. The stories of the rest of the Lost Girls are too horrible to even recount.

It's no brighter now than it was at dawn today. The winter pot lid has descended.


michael salinger said...

Sara and I bought copies of What is the What for the boys on the youth poetry slam team this year for them to read on the plane to San Jose.

missed you at the Lit opening - which was surprisingly well attended.

Toni Thayer said...

I missed you at the Lit, too. Was hoping to run into you there.

Sorry about Zinc. I read that post too late to feel I should comment to the post. Is that weird? Anyway, I still expect to see cats in this house who have been gone now for years. Sometimes, I almost do. Cat ghosts, I guess. I like that they linger. I miss the real things.

Glad the end is in sight for the MFA. Mine stretches on and on.

Coffee? Please? Email me or look me up in the book. Please?

Amy said...

Toni, school just ended, and I have a 4-week reprieve. Will get a hold of you.

Michael, what did the team think of Valentino's story?

Am party-shy these days. Glad the Lit. opening was well-attended (and that IS a surprise....)

michael salinger said...

I think it left an impression on them. They all said it was "good". Which is fairly high praise from 17 year old boys.

I try to introduce the kids to the greater scheme of things as much as possible.

dixiedreams said...

i didn't realize you were graduating in the spring. wow. i will graduate when i'm ninety. maybe.