Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 8, 2016

Most perfect of days, blank, flawless, radiant azure, without a single blemish from dawn to dusk. The air dry and cool enough that you can sit in the sun and not sweat. Did some gardening, buying orphaned plants from the nurseries and finding a place for them. Watering.  Hard work on my novel. Gout persistent, insistent, but not quite agonizing.
Danny Rife is dead– a vivid character from high school. Leukemia, it seemed to be.
Phil Walker is dead– I remember him as Father Humanities, who presided over the program when I started teaching in it. He built and the Boy destroyed, and so everything comes full circle. UNCA cannot stand wildly successful programs. They are trimmed experimentally until whatever gave them brilliance before is lost, or deliberately, because someone in the administration has developed a complex about them.  Arts and Ideas was brilliant at the outset, and we couldn’t stand that, so now the random sections are just as good as their instructors, and only that. MLA was brilliant for a while, until one of our administrators made sure it would sink into irrelevance. Humanities was exemplary for a long time, decades, but the effort to keep it “special” was too great, and a self-protective mediocrity was appointed to ride it to the ground. We still get brilliant institutional ratings from the magazines because the faculty resists the call to mediocrity and keeps on teaching. I don’t know whether I’m happy to be near retirement or wish I had another decade to fight. Never guessed I would have to fight until it was almost too late. You believe that people cling to and fight for the good, reflexively, and you yourself do not have to be watchful every second, but that is not the case.
Good rehearsal last night. Was Ancient-Marinered-ed by a retired Methodist minister who is moving to Lumberton in July, and wanting JCS to be his farewell to the theater. Old time Methodist liberal, he must have had his struggle in the southlands. Upright. The Good and Faithful Servant.
Began to recognize cast members from other shows.
I have lived to see a black president and, I believe, a female one. Who would have foreseen that?
Evening before me.

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