I am writing especially to thank two people whose comments I just found on my web-site, both very kind and thoughtful comments. Betsy Herman, thank you for encouraging me about writing poetry, and Doreen Saar, thank you for mentioning that you had been a student in my class. I do forget that part of my life, for I was far happier then, and it’s easy to dwell in the present and forget that once, life was different. If you’ve read my memoir, you know that I chose teaching at Goucher over marriage to my handsome English husband. And I would probably do it again, though right now it would be nice to have a partner. I am writing also to say that I will not give up on the blog right now, and I will write more regularly.
What have I been doing? I’ve been rereading Jane Austen “backwards.” That is, I began with Persuasion and ended with Northanger Abbey. And last night I watched a film version of Persuasion that I thought could have been better, though it was better than the version of Emma I saw some weeks ago. Perhaps the best film version was the early Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson (I think) and who? Am I alone in my view of Austen’s greatness? And filmdom’s failure to get at her nuance?
As for poems, I have to begin again. I have to believe again that I can write something I can call even a “journal/poem.” For whatever reason, I’ve stopped that kind of happiness-making writing. Guess I felt discouraged. But I will give it another try.
And for cheer, let me conclude on a wonderful note: I am in the early stages of improving my ability to walk by having “walkers,” people—all connected in some way to Ellen Bass—who can come to my apartment and walk with me for an hour or two. And, yes, there is an “exchange.” I am available to read their work, prose or poetry, and even advise about publication. Each of these women—yes, they are all women—have been students of Ellen Bass, except the first one, who is a student of a New York-based friend of Ellen, a writing professor and poet at NYU. I’ve walked with Melissa twice, and she’s now given me a piece of her prose to critique, and it’s a delightful exchange. Walking and talking for critiquing and writing advice. What could be better?