the new semester begins at Penn with an Adele hello

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sometimes, as the first day of a new semester begins at Penn, I think of how very close I came to saying no to this opportunity all those years ago.

It would have been one of the greatest mistakes of my life.

And so, again, on this bitter cold day, we begin. We're focused on home this semester. We're reading Annie Dillard's An American Childhood, George Hodgman's Bettyville, and Ta-Nahesi Coates's Between the World and Me, not to mention John Hough on dialogue and countless excerpts (countless as of now, anyway, because I can never tell what's going to inspire me before and during class). We'll be tapping into the new Wexler Studio—recording some of our work. We'll be laying the groundwork for the Beltran evening on March 1—all invited—during which time we'll be visited by my writing friends (and worldly talents) Reiko Rizzuto, A.S. King, and Margo Rabb. We'll hear from former students. We'll write letters to the people in our lives, in Mary-Louise Parker and Ta-Nahesi style.

And today, if all the machines are working, we'll start out with this.

I can't tell you why or how we'll use it.

You'll just have to imagine.

Meanwhile, before any of that, I get to share an hour with Nina and David, who will be writing their theses with me.

How lucky I am.

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