July 11, 2017
A voice called my name from the end of my drive, and it was my student L, who wanted to tell me he’s off to LSU this fall, and to thank me to the degree that my letter of recommendation may have gotten him in. I hope I did well for him, for he was the rare student actually and at every visible moment engaged in the intellectual current of the class, brows knitted, hand in air. At 8:30 in the morning. May all go well. May all be triumph.
L has a friend who lives in the apartments behind my house. L says he is a genius, who could endure only one semester at UNCA. “There was only one professor for whom I had any respect,” he said. Then he named me and showed L a copy of one of my books in his possession. One chews these bones through long famine.
Pulled In the Country of the Young out of the dead files, read it, and, lo and behold, it is good. I remember why I put it away. Ignorant criticism has done me more harm than anything but neglect. I’m vulnerable to ignorant criticism because, unlike some writers who believe each syllable of theirs to be perfect, I’ve always tried to understand and profit by criticism. Apparently even that virtue becomes a vice at a certain point.
Lone mockingbird singing in the shade under my pine at sunset. An odd song, not is own, not any I can identify.