Texas, Cambridge, & Home
Returning from a near week of travel, I was happy to see the welcome committee of brave tulips at home;a scraggly bunch to be sure, but a welcome sight.
College Station, Texas has wildflowers in bloom, though I missed the best of the blue bonnets, I was told. It was a surprise, for I did not know what to expect in my first trip to Texas. I overheard a man ask another about his boots, and the conversation turned from admiration to a tale about cowhide. I passed up the opportunity to visit the George Bush Library, but I did see the terrific Women Call For Peace : Global Vistas exhibit in the gorgeous art gallery at Texas A & M University, a beautiful collection of vivid imagery by Siona Benjamin; Helen Zughaib; Aminah Robinson; Faith Ringgold, Judy Chicago, and others. As the gallery notes, ” world-wide military spending is above $1.2 trillion annually; while the peace-keeping budget at the United Nations in 2009 was only $7.9 million.”
The professors of the South Asia Group, English, and Women Studies departments took extraordinarily good care of me, and I found myself dining on dosa, idlis, and laddoos, a true feasting, especially as my idea of dinner is often a grilled cheese these days. A well-attended reading, a large-group version of telling matriarchal ancestor stories, and good South Indian coffee rounded out a delightful weekend.
Boston was bittersweet, not because only because so much happened a week ago, but also because I gave my last classes. It is always difficult to say goodbye to a group of people I have seen regularly twice a week for sixteen weeks; we have written together and talked about fiction, and got to know one another a little. This is a special class, for it was the first that I shared my publishing story as it unfolded in real-time with a new book (so far, a kind of once in a blue mon event for me) and one in which they, but not I, were in a city-wide lockdown.
The small things always go together with the large, and if it were not for grammar (the infinite space a semi-colon provides , the rueful continuity of an ellipses) I know not what we would do. Thus, in Cambridge, I discovered a new cafe which encouraged a spate of writing, lusted after some vegan bags at a store, watched some dance on campus programs. I got charged twice as much for a cab ride to the station, but the day was too nice to complain. My bus arrived on time, only to have the driver tell some of us that it was full, and we needed to wait for the next one. Always an adventure on the bus, but I can’t help wondering: was it because I decided to catch the “next” bus instead of revisiting the vegan shoe and bag store as I intended?
Home, I returned local library books , only to realize I have a few more to return in Boston. The rent is paid, grades and bills are due, and the summer soon awaits. I hear that this is a funny time for Saturn, so maybe that accounts for restlessness. Still, a good time to concentrate on writing. Isn’t it always?