On Journeys

A new year is about to begin.

This new year will find self in India (New Delhi, Udaipur, Mumbai, and many many other places), Washington DC, Bacolod (of course)  …  oh, 2012 will be a lovely year.

Today, self was on the phone to Drew, who was on a bus heading back to New York City after spending Christmas with his parents in the family home in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  (Self thinks of Drew as being so New York.  She has a hard time picturing him in Yellow Springs.  She’d love to see Drew’s home some day.  Life is constantly amazing!)

Today, one of self’s aunts (on Dearest Mum’s side) was laid to rest, and self could not attend the funeral service.  But she is pretty sure it was this aunt who blew in the front door and sent all the Christmas cards flying off the wall where self had taped them, over a week ago.  Something came in self’s home that day, and never left.  But it is not a bad thing.  Self feels a strange comfort.

Today, self began reading the latest bulletin from the Stanford English Department.  Self was musing that she is almost invisible to Creative Writing, but her work has found a firm home in the Feminist Studies Program.  She is visiting a Feminist Studies class (for the third time) at the end of February.

Self also received a missive from Vagabondage Press, who will be publishing her novella in 2012.  Can you have the manuscript ready by early February?

To which self could only utter a silent scream:  ##@@!!!!!!!!!



On p. 5 of the Stanford English Dept. news bulletin is the address by a new Ph.D. grad, Jennifer Harford Vargas.  Self reads the entire address and finds herself very moved.  Here are some salient quotes:

Graduate school, we have discovered, requires a great deal of esperanza.  There is no word in English that captures the dual meaning of this Spanish word.  Esperar means both to wait and to hope.  We have spent 6, 7, 8 years in graduate school waiting patiently and hopefully for the day we finished our dissertations and became PhDs.  We did not do so passively though.  For difficult thinking requires lots of time.

*     *     *     *

John Steinbeck once wrote, “We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”  Similarly, we find after years of struggle that we do not complete graduate school; graduate school completes us.

*     *     *     *

At the end of Sandra Cisneros’s novel The House on Mango Street, the narrator Esperanza imagines her escape from the inner city streets in which she grew up:  “One day I will pack my bags of books and paper.  One day I will say goodbye to Mango.  I am too strong for her to keep me here forever.  One day I will go away.  Friends and neighbors will say, What happened to that Esperanza?  Where did she go with all those books and paper?  Why did she march so far away?  They will not know I have gone away to come back.  For the ones I left behind.  For the ones who cannot out.”

And self is so moved because that perfectly sums up her feelings about Bacolod.  Why else would she have returned, four times in one year?  The first time (in almost two years) was in December 2010.  She returned three weeks later, in January 2011.  Then, for two weeks in July 2011.  The last trip was September – October 2011.  Husband was too stunned to offer a peep, and son was stoic and also distracted by the start of graduate school.  Meanwhile, her Bacolod relatives looked at her and remembered the five or six-year-old girl self had once been.  They, too, had wondered, what had become of self?  Now they had their answer:  Self became a writer!  A crazy person, who values books more than money!

When self calls L’Fisher to tell them she is coming again, they seem to have been expecting her call.  That is, they seem to recognize her voice (ha ha ha!).  She knows they recognize her even before she says her name.  What is it —  a tone?  A pitch?  Who knows.

Here’s another reason to cheer the beginning of 2012:  Season 3 of “Justified” begins January 17.  Until that date, feast your eyes on the Mother of All Sheriffs, the Big O himself.

Stay tuned.

1 Comment

  1. Jean Vengua said,

    December 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Congrats on the publication of your novella!

    Jean Vengua

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