Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Cows, Colleges, and Contentment"

Greetings from Northfield, Minnesota, where the town motto is - truly - "Cows, Colleges, and Contentment." And a fitting motto it is. I did indeed see cows on my ride from the Minneapolis airport; the colleges are the two liberal arts gems Carleton (host of my visit) and St. Olaf; and so far, four hours in to my two-day visit, I am thoroughly contented.

More than anything, I love when I can be my whole true self, so I'm grateful that my host, Prof. Daniel Groll of the Carleton Philosophy Department, went to the trouble to arrange so many different kinds of activities for me during my visit.

I'm staying at the charming Alumni Guest house on campus, and the photo on their website just happens to be a photo of my sweet room:
Of course, as soon as I saw it I was ready to stay here for the rest of my life.

I had barely chosen my bed (the one on the right) when it was time to head out for my first event, a talk and signing at the small independent bookstore downtown, Content Bookstore (pronounced CON-tent, and offering much great literary content, but also leaving customers con-TENT-ed).
I expected to have no audience at all, because after all that is the story of an author's life once she shows up in a town where she knows nobody and nobody knows her. So I was most agreeably surprised to have an audience of a couple dozen children, parents, and aspiring writers, and to leave feeling that I had made a new friend in owner Jessica Peterson White.

Tomorrow morning I guest-teach Prof. Groll's class, a first-year seminar entitled Family Values, where the students will have read two articles of mine. That afternoon I'll present a work-in-progress to the Philosophy Department. On Tuesday morning I'll visit two third grade classes at Greenvale Park Elementary School followed by a luncheon talk at the college.

Then I'll fly home, tired,  happy, and VERY glad for 48 hours of distraction from a certain election.
Right now I'm totally grateful for cows, colleges, and most of all, contentment.

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