I finally get a day to quietly work at home. I plan to be exceedingly productive, but it's certainly a relief to be able to take a half hour to read if I feel like it, or walk to the grocery store when I get tired of sitting on my butt...
Some of you may remember my talking about Sylvia Louise Engdahl in the past. She wrote some of my favorite childrens' books, which are now out of print. She had a request, and I pass it along and encourage you to follow up on it -- the books are truly brilliant:
My "Star" trilogy is presently being considered for reprinting by Meisha Merlin Publishing, a small new press that specializes in quality paperback reprints of science fiction. They state at their Web site that they will try to reprint the books for which they get the most requests, and have listed mine among those suggested at www.angelfire.com/biz/MeishaMerlin/suggest.html.
Therefore, if any of you care to put in a word for _This Star Shall Abide_, _Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains_, and _The Doors of the Universe_ by e-mail, it might help to get them back in print (this time as adult novels). Meisha.Merlin@usa.net is the e-mail address to write to.
- Sylvia Louise Engdahl
Not much else to report, but perhaps I'll check in with y'all later today...
9 p.m. -- Well, I just had some chai, which is perhaps a mistake, since I had thought it was decaf and it's not, and I had planned to go to sleep and get up at 5 and I'm not sure if that's going to happen now....
I just wanted to stop by here and put in a plug for high school English teachers. Why, you ask? Because some day you too may be about to teach Whitman's "Song of Myself" to a class of dewy-eyed freshman (or more accurately, bored, tired freshman who would much rather be taking the hip lesbian lit. class than Survey of American Literature), you too may be facing the prospect of teaching this class with a) a brilliant and incisive and scary professor looking on who is theoretically on the side of his TA and will jump in and bail you out if necessary but boy, that would be humiliating, and b) an almost-total ignorance of the subject, and c) a seeming inability to get through me than the first twenty lines of this approximately fifty-page poem, which David informs you (yes, you know David too) is really only a portion of a longer work, that in fact the entire thick book, _Leaves of Grass_ is in fact one large poem in Whitman's mind and there is certainly no way you are going to read the whole darn thing by tomorrow, much less explicate it to a class of freshman who have only read "Song of Myself" and only that if you're very lucky, since most probably had the same experience with it you did.
It is then that you, if you are blessed, call up your high school English teacher who allows you to skip over the pleasantries and the catching up from the last year in which you basically haven't called her even though you've certainly been meaning too, especially considering her new job is even on the same Coast and you're on the same time zone, no she just goes ahead and calmly asks what you think of Whitman and you tell her and she claims to have much the same problems, and then in a few well-chosen sentences offers you not only a way into the poem, a way into sympathizing with it, using Ginsberg of all people, but even an approach that the freshmen will probably like. *And* by the end of ten minutes or so, you are not only relieved, but also enthused, excited about the prospect of teaching Ginsberg and Whitman; you even think you might like Whitman, and *then* you do your catching up, and then she sends you off to do your research, and you find the Ginsberg poem on-line and actually sit down and manage to read through all of "Song of Myself" finding more than a few lines that you appreciate this time around, even if you do still find much of it somewhat overly exuberant and a little hard to take. And you are no longer in a total panic, just appropriately nervous and edgy which will probably even help tomorrow.
High school English teachers rock.