Friday, June 24, 2016

Bennington journal - June 2016 - #2

Back in big sky country (Vermont edition).

Walking in the wild-flower filled fields this morning, I think about the lessons I’ve learned and those I can impart, perhaps, to students of my own some day. And it’s this: seek out hard work and start doing so now. Pursuing hard work entails a monumental shift – a conversion, occasioned by the process of learning something new, something vital while aiming at an objective (a goal). You may quickly abandon your original goal or add new ones. You may have to adjust the measurements of your project – instead of one year, it may take two to reach your goal, for example. It matters not – in setting a goal and striving to reach it through hard work you are transformed. I was. And that’s hard work’s gift to each of us.
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I’m sitting in Tishman casually analyzing my lecture, given yesterday morning, through the prism of today’s lectures. Comparing delivery and topic, etc. Then I see it in my mind – the moment Leo (and Mike) entered the lecture hall. The moment during my lecture when my heart leapt, and I was moved to murmur, “My son is here,” (or something to that effect – in the preciousness of the moment the words have been erased, the singular, stunning emotion of being a mother remains). There was a catch in my voice, a momentary loss of control. The vision of him holding Mike’s hand, his smile as he watches me, then looking down at the stairs so he can watch his steps – it’s fixed in my head, like a favorite movie scene, something I’ll cherish and relive for a long time. Like breathing in his scent, instead I’m searing forever in my memory his gorgeous face and the joy it has given me.

That’s it right there – the boy whose sheer presence, whose birth (deemed by me miraculous) set this journey in motion was there to see its fruition. The lecture is now part of our shared life together.
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On the mother-child bond, writer Vivian Gornick tells us during a lecture, “This is how we become human.”
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Other indelible moments: David Gates reading from "Banishment": “Reader, she dumped me.” His shout-out to Jane Austen? Possibly. He's named-checked her in interviews.



*Click on continua a leggere below to read more...




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June 21
What I’m reading/browsing from Crossett Library
The Moro Affair, Leonardo Sciascia (in English, argh)
Italian Women Poets – including Patrizia Valduga!
A book of Lorrie Moore short stories
The Complete Works of Primo Levi

The latest issue of Paris Review

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Spot the Bennington Monument from different vantage points around campus, breathe it in, the majesty of a simple obelisk off in the distance, soaring over the trees and green hills, then try to capture what your eye sees with a camera and fail miserably.

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June 20
Nothing about the frequency of my visits to Bennington’s campus in the past two years has diminished its startling beauty. Startling perhaps because restrained and natural (they allow the landscape to take its cue from Mother Nature, not a Burpee catalog). Standing behind Tishman, I gaze across the fields and the pond toward the elegant, stone building that I will only ever think of as the French Chateau. I realized this residency that it reminds me of Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World. I’d say as campus compliments go, that’s a good one.

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June 18
For the record, Bennington is heartbreakingly beautiful. The fields of wild flowers, the simple old wooden buildings painted red or white, the achingly blue sky, mountains in the distance and if you’re lucky, you catch a glimpse of the Bennington Monument. 

Yet to say it is beautiful and to describe even a bit of it here is do nothing, not in any way do the place justice. The grass is greener somehow. Everything has been created for human enjoyment but with perceptible and lovely restraint. An incredible vista is improved simply by a nice wooden bench. A field of flowers is ornamented and adjusted slightly with a paved path….

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