The week has been hectic, with multiple meetings to go along with the usual load of teaching and grading. I have a fresh crop of student work coming in later this week, and Gradeapalooza begins with Thanksgiving week. But here we are, and what better way to close the week than by chatting with friends?
The weather abruptly turned wintry (by local standards) this weekend, with highs dropping from around 80 earlier this week to a predicted 48 in a couple of days, and heavy rain in the next day and a half. To me, it finally feels like November is supposed to. Although I’ve lived down here for more than 15 years, I’ve never entirely acclimated. This is compounded by the fact that the heating and air in my classroom building has only two settings, those being “meat locker” and “crematory.” For the last couple of weeks, we’ve moved to Setting #2, and by the time I finished my lectures, I generally look like someone to whom Louis Armstrong would lend his hanky.
It amuses me to see my kids dressed for class like they’re extras in Ice Station Zebra while I teach in short sleeves, and I take some pleasure in telling them about scraping Mrs. M’s car windshield in Muncie, IN, while the radio informs me that the air temperature of -7 feels like -17 with the wind chill. On the other hand, I stay indoors as much as possible here for most of the year.
I summed it up for a friend last weekend: It’s odd, living somewhere that doesn’t get football weather before the last home game of the season.
On the writing front, I’m pleased to show you the cover of my next excursion into print. At Home in the Dark derives its title from the last words of O. Henry, who allegedly wrapped things up by saying, “Turn up the lights— I don’t want to go home in the dark.” Anyway, it looks like this, thanks to a fine illustration from Ken Laager.
I looked over the galleys for my contribution a couple of days ago (part of the week’s busyness); “Rough Mix” is a return to my rock and roll milieu, and as the book’s title indicates, it isn’t for the faint of heart. I also had the pleasure of reading Jill D. Block’s story, “O Swear Not By the Moon,” and I think you’ll get a charge out of it as well. And of course, the rest of the roster is filled with heavy hitters, so there’s likely not a dud in the bunch.
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you can lay hands on a copy (and if you aren’t, you should be). The answer is that you can’t just yet. But … I have it on good authority (namely, LB’s newsletter) that Subterranean’s 500-copy, signed and numbered hardback edition (the only hardback edition) will be available in early Spring, with paperback and e-dition available around then as well. I’ll keep you posted.
To wrap things up, here’s a song the robot at the campus radio station seems to enjoy, having moved it into heavy rotation this week. The Five Emprees (a/k/a the Five Empressions [sic]) hailed from Benton Harbor, MI, cut one album and released nine singles from 1965-68. This one was the closest they got to a hit and occasionally gets play on oldies stations up that way. A later release added a horn section, but I prefer the stripped down original. It sounds to me like the verse and chorus belong in different songs, but it does have a certain charm in a left-turnish kind of way. Here are the Five Emprees, with 1965’s “Little Miss Sad.”
See you soon!