Sunday, February 24, 2008


Back yesterday afternoon from the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900: an odd event, as the title suggests, and perhaps as many conferences in one as the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association shindig I'll be going to in March. My one point of comparison, that: I've been off the circuit for nearly a decade. Much talk, in L'ville, of middle age--when last I went, then too to speak of Ronald Johnson, I was 36 and coming up for tenure. Now I'm 44, and unlike my friend Mark, biographer and sage, I have no book to show for all those years. Even the Ron John collection is still "forthcoming," although we're counting down to lift off on it. (Three weeks to the index--huzzah!)


Feeling oddly free of angst.
Settled, busy, happy.


Much talk, at the conference, about my love of popular romance fiction. I need to write up a "conversion kit" for fellow academics, clearly, especially the male ones. (More talking with men at this conference than I've done in many a year. A different dynamic, somehow. I have a female colleague who said to me, recently, honestly surprised, "You really like dealing with women, don't you?" Or was it "working with women"? Anyway, she found this surprising. Am I so rare in this?)


I write this while walking: a new twist, compositionally, and somewhat hard to manage at first. Perhaps if I go slower? Yes--there we go. Came home to find R had set up a treadmill for me in the study, with the laptop balanced on a desk across the handlebars. It's the stand-up desk I'd wanted all fall plus the chance to put in some hours of exercise while clicking, surfing, and (yes) writing. Will it change my prose? Let me think more clearly? "When you go walking, Bob does the talking," saith the Sub-Genius book of my youth--Bob the Sales God and surrogate deity of this system, he of the pipe and grin. We'll see if there are any changes; for now, I simply know that I've clocked an hour or more of walking so far today without even noticing it. Sweet!


"More soon": my favorite sign-off, learned from someone (Stephen Yenser?) who learned it from James Merrill. More work on the horizon, but I'll try to keep this up, too.

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