Friday, June 29, 2012

The Last Day

Today is the last day of my first year here.  I've moved out of the adorable tiny house I rented this year from a professor on sabbatical in Guatemala.  When I return for year two, I'll be renting a beautiful but bigger house from a professor on sabbatical in Germany.  So I packed up all the huge quantity of stuff I had brought with me last summer from Colorado, plus the huge quantity of stuff I have somehow acquired during my year here: books! clothes from my new favorite boutique, Greencastle Goodwill! and two fabulous cookie jars! and more! All of that has been moved to my fortunately spacious office at the Prindle Institute.  I'm flying back to Colorado, not driving, so I'm taking only a carry-on suitcase and small backpack on the plane.

I will have tears in my eyes as I lock the door of my little house for the last time.  I have been so happy here this year, even though the year turned out to be very different in many ways from what I imagined.  I thought I'd have endless hours to start writing the memoir I've been thinking about, to read and write poetry, to proceed on my 2012 writing resolution to write "a book that surprises me."  Well, I did do a considerable amount of scholarly writing, as well as two chapter books that were rejected by either my agent or my publisher (note: rejection is good - it means you're stretching and growing), and the start of two chapter books that did get accepted.

But mainly I threw myself into the intense intellectual life of this small college in the middle of a small rural county in western Indiana.  I taught three successful classes, including one I had never taught before. I participated in six reading groups in the fall and five reading groups in the spring.  I attended countless talks and concerts. Seldom was there ever an evening I was home. I explored so much of Indiana - drives to see the covered bridges of Parke County, New Harmony and Lincoln's boyhood home with my sister, opera in Bloomington, the maple syrup festival. I had weekend trips to Milwaukee, Chicago, and Cincinnati. I reconnected with dear old friends. I made dear new friends.

Overall, I would say that this year I've been about as happy as a person can be. And there is a lot to be said for happiness. Indeed, one of the happy events I attended this year was an entire retreat/seminar on happiness. Now I could lead that retreat and teach that seminar. And after six sweet weeks back in Colorado, I'll return for year two. Here's hoping it will be as happy as this past year has been. But it could be a tenth as happy and be happy enough.

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