Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I do go on about these young people in my life, but they've more than earned me the right. They are my students, after all, and they are as talented and hope-affirming as they come. You'll get to read some of their best lines, in a year, in Handling the Truth. But between now and then, please join me in celebrating this full-length essay by my student, Nabil Mehta, published in the current issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette. Nabil is my second student to have his work featured in this beautiful magazine—the second to work with the tremendously thoughtful and talented Trey Popp, the magazine's associate editor. (To see Joe Polin's essay, go here.) Both Nabil and Joe are engineering students, by the way. Which just goes to show that no one—and no major—owns literary talent.
I share the beginning of Nabil's essay. The rest can be found here. This is work that began life in my classroom before being transformed for publication throughout the summer.
Though I enjoyed, as every proud Canadian must, the silent cold of winter during my childhood in Toronto, it was the summer afternoons that I secretly liked best. Maybe it was the nest of cardinals outside my bedroom, singing a song that to this day puts me back in the same bed. Or maybe it was the sun pouring through the second-floor skylight and lighting up every carpet dust particle just so, or the afternoons playing catch with my brother in the cul-de-sac, disrupted occasionally to assure my mother that I hadn’t broken my arm in the last 15 minutes.
This day, though, was different. The mid-August sun had nothing to illuminate but some carpet under-pad and a few boxes left in the hallway. The bed in which I’d been serenaded had been removed, and the cardinals’ chirps bounced around bare walls. We were moving, I had been told a few months ago, to a place called Connecticut, in the United States.
Isn’t that in Pittsburgh? I had asked.