OK, so the first week of class (plus a day) has gone into the books, and this is the one day this week that I don’t have some kind of meeting as well, so why not get a post in while I have a little spare time?
One of my duties here at Mondoville is to serve as parliamentarian at faculty meetings. This has historically been something of a sinecure (which is good, as I tend to have things to say, which is often considered poor form for holders of the office), but things were a little lively at the meeting we had Monday afternoon, and we ran into a bit of a Chesterton’s Fence issue, where Robert’s Rules occasionally conflicted with the more laid-back forms by which we’ve traditionally transacted business. But in fact, I think the more laid-back forms have evolved for a reason and have helped the faculty operate in a generally collegial manner. Given the usual degree of cat-herding that goes with a faculty gathering, I suspect that a sudden move toward strict parliamentary procedure is just asking for ill feeling and a possible mutiny. Still, after this meeting, I heard a degree of grousing about the looseness that we’ve indulged over the time I’ve spent here.
Perhaps the solution (for me, anyway) is a unilateral change of office. Were I not essentially libertarian, I think I’d
usurp opt for the office of Sergeant-at-Arms. (We do, in fact, have an equivalent position of Faculty Marshal, but a non-ceremonial exercise of that office would be lively indeed.)
On the creative front, I finished a story over the weekend and put in in the hopper for the anthology for which it was requested. With luck, I’ll have more to say about that before too much longer. However that turns out, it does at least put me in the right frame of mind for next week’s Bouchercon in St. Petersburg. This will be my third B’con, and the first one at which I’ll appear on a panel.
As part of gearing up for the panel, I’ve been thinking of some songs, lyrics, and writers that tend to inspire me. Some of them are probably kind of obvious — Tom Waits and Stan Ridgway, for example, have been telling seamy, noirish narratives for decades. But others may be more obscure. A few years ago, I mentioned “Then Came The Last Days of May” by Blue Oyster Cult, with its tale of a drug deal gone sour. But another of my favorites is the opening of “Scream” by Blotto, an Albany-based bar band whose quirky sense of humor got them some play in the early days of MTV. This is a great opening verse:
I’m over here; you’re over here.
She’s over there getting dressed.
I didn’t expect you back so soon…
As you probably guessed.
Always makes me chuckle evilly.
But enough chuckling. Since I have to talk about “Lycidas” at 8 tomorrow morning, I’d probably best wrap things up, but I’ll do it with a track from the abovementioned Mr. Ridgway. This song is basically a James M. Cain novel with backing vocals by Tori Amos, of all people. I hope you like it — I certainly do.
See you soon!