Thursday, August 1, 2019

In the Midst of Greatness

As August arrives, ushered in by the age-old love song of cicadas, I feel myself emerging from a dreamlike world. The golden summer sun sets ever-so-softer and sooner than it did mere moments ago, or so it seems to me. Only yesterday it was early June when I began summer classes and stepped into the pages of fabulous books, causing the world to dim around the edges, as I found myself in the midst of greatness.
My days were spent with dead poets, writers, dancers, artists, and men and women who fought to make our world and our nation a better place. I read non-stop, well into the wee hours. Oftentimes reading books I would not have chosen to read and yet I enjoyed every book I read. A particular favorite was Frankenstein: The 1818 Text by Mary Shelley. 
The language is beautiful, lyrical and almost poetic. It offers exquisite details of landscapes throughout the story. Mary Shelley wrote this classic when she was only eighteen years old. Within its pages are the opportunity for deep moral contemplation on several levels. For those who love works written in the romantic style I highly recommend it, especially in this version so you get the back story. I loved it so much that I chose to write a long essay about it for one of my classes.
When I wasn't reading, and reading some more, I was writing essays. Lots and lots of essays. I discovered that I have the ability to dissect and critique a book and all of its characters down to the final word and to within a hair's breadth of their fictional lives. I also really enjoyed researching and learning as much as I could about all of the real people that I wrote about.
I know quite a bit more about Ernest Hemingway than I did before and I learned so much about Picasso, Martha Graham, Virginia Woolf, Grace Hartigan, and Betty Friedan, just to name a few. Although summer classes ended, on a very high note for me, on July 25, the voices of these remarkable people still whisper to me all night long. I cannot lay them to rest just yet. I'm still conversing with them and telling their stories the minute I fall asleep every night. 
Maybe they will slowly, gradually fade into the background as the Fall semester starts for me. Unbelievably that's just around the corner on August 19. I have a feeling some of them will linger on with me for some time yet. Especially because I may embark on another new adventure soon that will, most likely, involve a few of them.
One of my professor's sent me an email during my summer classes and asked if I would be interested in working as a Writing Consultant in the Writing Studio at the Illinois Central College East Peoria  campus. I decided I would very much like to do that. So, while I continue to take classes, I will, hopefully, work a few hours a week helping other students with their writing. The professor sent an email of recommendation and I was already contacted by the director. I have a couple of days of training to attend next week. I'm pretty excited to be given this opportunity.
Though I have an odd sense of summer having somewhat passed me by, like it's been all around me, and yet slightly out of focus and just beyond my reach, I wouldn't change a thing. My typical, languid days, usually spent knitting on my front porch, found me with a book in hand or a computer on my lap on that same swing instead. It was an adjustment, especially in the beginning. But I got the hang of it. I have always loved to read and write; so total immersion was pure ecstasy. As far as knitting goes, I do have a finished shawl that needs blocking. I'll tell the specter's who whisper in my mind to hush for a time so I can block it and possibly capture a beautiful daughter in a field of wildflowers soon for a photo shoot. Although I won't be surprised if we see a faint shadow of the late, great artist, Grace Hartigan, standing in the background painting a picture, because she refuses to be silenced.

"A work of art is the trace of a magnificent struggle."
Grace Hartigan