My junior class took a unit test on Friday, and I faced that awkward end-of-the-quarter/too-short-to-accomplish-anything interval of 30 minutes or so. The day was autumnal and golden, I hatched an alternate plan, reading to them Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Pied Beauty and then took them on a stroll on the trail behind the school. The poem is a whimsical celebration of beauty and language and I’m sharing it below.
This is probably where I should say “Good heavens look at the time! How am I just now posting Part Two of the Vermont homage and it’s now October?” But my track record being less than stellar, it’s probably to be expected. So here we are, coming up for air in an already hectic school year, and it’s finally time for this post I wrote in August in Vermont to see the light of day. As promised, here are some highlights of the summer as told in a countdown from 5-1.
Five Dances The orientation letter contained an all-important quote: “dancing hours are generally from 9-12:00pm on Saturdays”. You have to respect the fact that dancing hours carry equal weight on the orientation letter to class periods and dining hall hours. I always looked forward to Saturday nights: the pre-dance hours when the house porches became abuzz with, well, the buzzed, the barn newly transformed into a dance hall of some theme or other, and the early morning wanderings back to the houses under a star-dappled sky. The dances were:
- The Country Line Dance with a live band and real live Vermonters in the real live country in an actual barn.
- The 80s dance, which necessitated the buying of this rad eye shadow, and the biggest hair and hoop earrings possible.
- The 90s dance, in which I went as Cher from Clueless. The music from this dance was obviously the best by a long shot and many shouts out to my favorite DJ Clare (pictured above in all her 80s glory)
- The One-Hit Wonder Dance. This wasn’t necessarily a theme-dress occasion but I was so inspired my friend Jess’s Harper Lee costume, that I wore a Little Prince shirt as a nod to literary one-hit wonders. (Yes Harper Lee has two books, but I reject the latter as a “hit” so there you go)
- The Dance Formerly Known as Suppressed Desires. Suppressed Desires was always a costumed dance with a vaguely literary theme. Here I am as a mint julep from the Great Gatsby-themed dance two years ago: This year the name was changed to the Wilde-Rumpus and the theme was literary characters in general. I dropped the “literary” from that and went as Mad Men‘s Betty Draper with Jess (mentioned above, of Harper Lee fame) as the sullen, teenage Sally Draper
Those were the dances and these are the…
Three Favorite Coffee Shops
I love a good coffee shop workday and especially when the nearest Starbucks is at least an hour away. Here are my top three:
Bristol Bakery and Cafe, Bristol VT
Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe, Middlebury VT. Carol’s was a home base for us, and the one I miss the most.
Classes, what? Yes, the purpose of the summer was, believe it or not, academic and the two classes this summer balanced one another well thematically.
- Vengeance: a study of just that, as found in classics like the Iliad and Dante’s Inferno, to Kill Bill (Vol 1 and 2). A good stretch and challenge with a fabulous professor and a good crew of classmates.
- Describing the Imagination. This class was magic. Under the gentle guidance of a universally-beloved 80-year-old British professor, we studied theory of children’s imagination and discovery and examined children’s stories an artwork as we would have a literary classic. He allowed us the freedom to make our final product a creative endeavor which brings me to…
I had been toying with a screenplay plot earlier this year, that became fully formed when I began to do the assigned reading for Describing the Imagination. I got the project approved fairly early on, set weekly page number goals, and churned out a feature length (90 page) screenplay in 6-weeks. The undertaking, while certainly labor-intensive, was exhilarating and also prompted somewhat of a writer’s identity crisis.
I now have a novel that has sat unedited for a year, a one-act play that as sat unrevised for two years, a short story/novella I’m trying to market for publication, some non-fiction articles published last year, and now a screenplay to edit and figure out what to do with the final product. The week between classes ending and returning home, I had a helpful conversation with my play writing professor of two years ago who encouraged me that it’s okay to be spread around several genres and to pursue inspiration in whatever form it is takes. So that’s the plan for now. I would like to explore screenwriting more in the future, but I’m returning to the novel for now to make editing, polishing and marketing the priority. Oh and teaching full time. Hence the blogging lapse. Much to juggle and much to navigate, but I am so thankful to have spent a truly glorious summer with some of the very best folk on a mountain sprinkled with Robert-Frost-fairy-dust. The End.