I'm back after an extended Thanksgiving break, during which I made pies, decorated for Christmas, and went with Michael to see the insanely people-packed Vatican Splendors at the Heinz History Museum. The sheer fortitide necessary to navigate the crushing tides of people in the exhibition reminded me of the blockbuster Vermeer show that I handled VIP passes for while interning at the National Gallery in 1996. Richard Gere requested the Vermeer rooms be closed so that he might see the show without the crush of humanity around him. Jeffery Weiss, then assistant curator in the 20th Century Department, said, as he stood outside his office, shoulders slumping in disgust: "Tell him to talk to the Dalai Lama."
This morning, I just finished a review of the excellent Burning River book by Jim Meirose, titled Crossing the Trestle, which I submitted to Gently Read Literature. The review will appear in the January issue. Yesterday, I also finished a review of Scale, guest curated by artist and CMU instructor Ally Reeves, who recently returned from a Fulbright to India. There are some itneresting ideas and tacit statements there. She helps to define a contemporary ethos, which is growing out of and fighting against to the thatch-thick detritus of commercialism (something that is, lest we forget, a not so distant relative of fascism).
Also, I have a new 'memory story' called "Foreigner Among Foreigners" up at Dan Waber's That reminds me hypertext project, which writer Chris Bowen also contributes to. The project is fantastic, allowing writers to stretch their expressive capacities, overcome blocks, remember in words their previous experiences, which is both cathartic and creative. It also creates a reading experience full of pleasant surprises, and is kind of like opening the doors on an Advent calendar, although of course, it has nothing to do with Christmas. It the joyful discoveries behind each click that are so exciting.
I have class today, my second-to-last before my semester ends. We go over the final today, meaning that most of my heavy lifting is over, although I will soon have a raft of final papers and final exams to grade. But, next week, my entire daytime energy and efforts will be devoted to writing, something about which I am very excited.
What am I listening to right now? Arvo Part's gorgeous, soaring contemplations on (what seems like) the infinite. You can hear them here.