Last week, which was the last week to this year’s summer, I visited Phong Nguyen’s Writing for Publication class. The students were generous in asking questions about The Universe Playing Strings and then we just discussed writing—whether or not to seek an agent, how to do it, about valuing one’s own voice, goals, and choices, about revising and revising, about researching and honing skills when goals are elusive. I realized how much I miss interaction with young writers and miss teaching (I’m afraid to claim that’s what I did and do, since my learning from the students and their learning from each other was the largest transaction in class).
When I came to campus, there was a small church where Black Box theater occurred, a huge fountain on the east side of the Student Union, somehow sad and sluggish, and many trees that lined the walkway north of Martin. At least I recall those trees. I think they were taken down because of an act of violence on campus. That may not be true. Sometimes my fiction gets in the way of my best memories.
This year, campus seemed particularly beautiful, and I took many photos of the campus. I was looking for a stranger to take the shot for me, but since I’ve caught on to the selfie method (giving up some vanity for the speed of the process), I just took it myself. I can remember the campus in many phases, both public and private, and together they seem like a separate life–no ivory tower, but overall, a good life, round and full.