This was Homecoming Weekend in Mondoville, and though the visiting Wingate Bulldogs overcame our side on the football field, it was the usual nice time seeing alumni from the fifteen years that I’ve been here. The Spawn rode on her sorority’s float in the Homecoming parade, and since she’s a senior this year, this may be the last time she does it for a while. Indeed, that’ll be kind of odd. Although she was a first-grader when we started here, she frequently rode in the parade, with the sheriff’s family, a school group, or some other set of participants. I know it’ll look funny to me, not seeing her there.
I saw a few of my former students as I waited for the parade, including a couple from my early years here. At one point, a young man walked up to me. I knew he was an alum, but I couldn’t place his name. When I admitted it and he told me who he was, I was able to tell him that he had been in my FroshComp and my first Shakespeare course — an evening course in the science building’s lecture hall. Indeed, I could show you where in the room he sat on those nights. He was also a very strong student, but it’s funny how I remember the kids by the courses we’ve had together.
In other cases, I met students with new spouses and new babies, and that’s one of my favorite parts of these weekends. A favorite of mine arrived with her husband and son, with a daughter currently under construction. It always makes me wonder what it’ll be like to have grandchildren — eventually.
Meanwhile, a tent for the Class of 88’s 30-year reunion was playing mid-80s dance music, which reminded me that I finished my undergrad 31 years back, and also that I don’t really have college reunions, as I earned my B.A. from a non-traditional program, and grad school reunions aren’t really a thing as far as I know. Maybe that’s a reason that I enjoy Mondoville’s Homecomings so much — I value the community that I only sort of had before I got there.
So some more writerly things have gone on of late, and the results of those efforts will hit the scene. I recently mentioned that I’ll have a story in Lawrence Block’s At Home in the Dark anthology, which Subterranean will put out this spring. Also appearing this spring will be a short I wrote for Ryan Sayles’s clown-themed anthology, Greasepaint and .45s. Down and Out will be issuing that one. And yesterday afternoon, I finished a piece for El Bee’s next art-themed antho, From Sea to Stormy Sea, which Pegasus will put out next fall. While In Sunlight or In Shadow focused on the work of Edward Hopper, and Alive in Shape and Color let the writers choose the artists who inspired them (Dali, in my case), FStSS will contain stories inspired by American artists. Mr. Block suggested an artist whose work I didn’t know — Wolf Kahn — but when I looked at the painting he recommended, I knew I could find a story there. I’ll even include an image of the painting, but the one in the book will be nicer.
Some of the people with whom I’ll share space at Sea (Get it? Get it?) will include Patti Abbott (inspired by the work of Harvey Dunn), Charles Ardai (Piet Mondrian, who finished his career in the US, so he counts), Jan Burke (Andy Warhol), Jerome Charyn (Rockwell Kent), Brendan Dubois (Winslow Homer), Janice Eidus (Mark Rothko), Christa Faust (Helen Frankenthaler), Scott Frank (Robert Henri), Tom Franklin (John Hull), Jane Hamilton (Grant Wood), Barry Malzberg (George Bellows), Micah Nathan (Daniel Morper), Sara Paretsky (John Steuart Curry), Gary Phillips (Reginald Marsh), and John Sandford (Thomas Hart Benton). And Mr. Block is offering a new story of his own, inspired by a work by Raphael Soyer (who happened to be the uncle of another of my favorite writers, Peter S. (for Soyer) Beagle). What’s not to love? I’ll let you know when pre-release orders are available.
And in keeping with our artistic theme, here’s a song I heard yesterday that seems to fit. Merrell Fankhauser’s musical career spans early-60s surf rock, 60s/70s psychedelia, and the acclaimed studio project known as Fapardokly. This track is from his 60s outfit HMS Bounty. From 1968, this is “Your Painted Lives.”
See you soon!