Cool, crisp morning….

Cool, crisp morning. I burned some tea rose incense while I was doing dishes an hour ago; the scent lingers through the apartment, mixing with the spicy scents from the cup of chai I'm drinking. I've been working by an open window, with autumn leaves slowly changing outside; I imagine that I can see them changing, watch the slow slide from green to gold to dark brown. Some leaves seem to change all at once; some in a slow progression, green at the heart, brown at the edges. And then there are some that are just a bright, luminous, red...

While walking in to the workshop yesterday, I collected some leaves. I'm planning to collect more in the next few weeks, beautiful leaves to press, ready for whatever artsy project takes my fancy. I have lots of rose petals, in many colors, but I wish I'd collected more of other kinds of flowers this summer; pansies would be nice, for example, and I even had some growing -- just didn't think of it. Oh well; next year, I guess. No rush.

This is a set of poem coasters I just finished making; it's a belated birthday present for my little sister. I'm pretty happy with how they came out; hope she likes them. It's her favorite of my poems, "Fringes". Not the most sophisticated of poems, but it has a certain charm, and expresses pretty well a particular kind of sense I have sometimes, about my life, and the path it's taking. I like the poem...and I like better that she likes it. She's turning into such a wonderful adult; it's so interesting, watching both my sisters turn into beautiful, strong, kind people. My parents and I don't always get along, but I have to give them credit for some pretty decent parenting in some respects...we all turned out fairly sane, and, I think, happy. I think that's not so easy, to give that to your kids. Not as easy as we might wish it were, or feel it ought to be...

A mellow work day planned; so far, I've finished my three line edits for the day (!), and read a little bit of Refuge. I ought to finish the book this afternoon, and then perhaps I can read something more cheerful this evening. I have such a huge stack of books waiting; I think I need to impose a moratorium on book buying until I've whittled down the stack. But it's tough, when such yummy books keep coming out...

I also have the first set of stories from my undergrads to read through and mark up. I'm not grading them; I didn't grade the poems either, and am slightly dreading the end of the semester, when I'll have to give them all final grades on their creative writing. I suspect a goodly component of the grade will be based on their effort and participation, and some more on progress over the course of the semester -- I'll honestly be happy if I feel that I can base the whole grade on that, because it makes me intensely uncomfortable to actually grade a beginning writing class. By what standard do you judge their work? There's such a wide range of writing competence in the class...and none of them do everything well, but some of them do at least one thing beautifully. We'll see; maybe I'll have a better sense of how to work this by the end of the semester.

Other than that, I'm just going to do more dishes (I have quite a painful stack, filling all the surfaces in my kitchen -- not sure how that happened), and then make a curry this evening. I might call up one of my classmates, Peter, and ask if he wants to stop by for tea or some such; I like him and would like to get to know him better, but there never seems to be time during the week. We're all so crazy...but gods, it's fun. Have I mentioned that I love grad school? Right place, right time...if only all of life felt like this.

I still miss Kevin.

Noon. A bit from the book I'm reading; she quotes an Indian philosopher, Samkhya:

If you consciously hold within yourself three quarters of your power and use only one quarter to respond to any communication coming from others, you can stop the automatic, immediate and thoughtless movement outwards, which leaves you with a feeling of emptiness, of having been consumed by life. This stopping of the movement outwards is not self-defense, but rather an effort to have the response come from within, from the deepest part of one's being.

That's for you, Jedediah. And for me, I suspect.

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