Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday ramblings

Happy Earth Day! Remember to say thank-you to your mother.... Earth, that is. I celebrated by bringing in a small armload of cut daffodils and lilacs-- their scent is filling the entire upstairs. Don't forget to take the Earth Day footprint quiz!

It's been another very busy week. Our non-fiction program at PSU is hiring a new tenure-track professor, and it’s now down to four incredibly qualified applicants—two men from Iowa (which is writing Mecca, for those of you who don’t know), one woman from U Montana, and one woman from U Oregon.

In an extraordinary move, our department head—Michael McGregor—decided to bring in a group of students from the NF program to help interview the instructors. Yours truly included. I tremendous experience—I mean, I’ve never even heard of students being brought in like this. And they’re considering our input to be an important aspect of the decision-making. It added ten extra hours to my workweek, but again, what an opportunity. The decision should be made in the next two weeks. I’m pulling for the U of O prof—and not just because she’s a local, but because she is extraordinary, both as writer and teacher (I’ve studied with her). I could live with Montana and one of the Iowas—the second Iowa was a total suit and I would be most unhappy with his selection. We’ll see what happens.

Speaking of my “Forms of Non-Fiction” class last Thursday, our teacher—Debra Gwartney—brought in none other than Barry Lopez (left) for a three-plus hour, in-depth session on writing and publishing. For those who don’t know Lopez, he is a National Book Award winner (for Arctic Dreams) and Pulitzer nominee who writes about the natural world, particularly the northwest. I can’t even explain what this evening was like—superlatives fail. For me, as a writer-in-training, the chance to sit at a table with Lopez as a peer and to engage with him in a “how to” discussion of writing, well, it was incredible. Once-in-a-lifetime…. I got home and was so excited, I couldn’t settle down for hours.

Lots to do this weekend, as always. And Erin will be here overnight. She’s in town to play for the Zachlet’s trumpet competition. It’s sunny, too, so time to get out and do yard work. Ah, spring!

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