Big Apple, Bryn Mawr, Jersey City, Hoboken, Buzz, El Salvador, Berlin: Where I've A-Been Running To

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The snow would not defeat me. I've been flying. Through crusty white landscapes and down the slushed streets of the Big Apple (on Friday). Into the quiet calm of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where I spoke about memories and memoir after Nicole Duran gave her powerful sermon on turning the other cheek. (That is my father, that is me, that is the Reverend Charles Grant, who extended the invitation and introduced me.) Up to Jersey City, then along the Hudson into Hoboken, to spend an evening and then a morning with our son (he showed us where Eli Manning is rumored to live; he showed us where Justin Timberlake recently collected a crowd (my son among them)).

Then a dash back to my home, so that I could interview two corporate clients and then set off running again—to the train station and into my own city and up through the campus of Penn, toward Kelly Writers House, where Buzz Bissinger, one of three 2014 KWH fellows, gave the best reading of his life before both students and friends who have known him for a very long time. Buzz was powerful. He was honest. He was among those who deeply respect his talent and heart. (There is Buzz, above, with the great Rolling Stone writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the fabulous famous author/editor Stephen Fried, and myself). After that a meal hosted by Al Filreis (who runs the hugely popular KWH fellows program) and another dash to the station. This time I missed the train, but it didn't matter that much; I had my students' papers with me and plenty to do.

Now I am moments away from heading back down to Penn to greet a classroom full of students whose expectation essays filled me up with joy and wonder. That's what my students—year in and year out—do. I think some angel up there is plucking strings.

In between everything, Serena Agusto-Cox found a book I'd written long ago—my memoir about marriage to a Salvadoran man (Still Love in Strange Places)—and wrote beautifully of it. Thank you, Serena. Finally, a dear book/life friend wrote to me about Going Over, that Berlin novel due out in a few weeks. She wrote with words that bolstered me.

My red shoes are at the door. I lace them up. I go running.


Serena said...

Have a great run. Well deserved, though I think you have run around a lot in the last few days and weeks.

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