And we keep on sprinting...last night, after a full day of classes and required attendance at day-ending scholarly talk, I read with three students (Steve Jordan, Christine Pacyk, and Nicole Xylouris Osborne, who's currently in my class) and one of my senior colleagues, whom I've mentioned many times here, Reg Gibbons (at left) in one of the university's graduate Masters in Creative Writing program periodic author/student readings. The event took place at High Risk Gallery (Thanksgiving is still at least a week away, but the gallery already had Christmas trees up!) on W. Belmont in the Boystown neighborhood, and just a few blocks from where I lived the first year I stayed in Chicago.
It was exhilarating to see so many of the students I've worked with and their families and friends present, and to see some other Chitown folks in the house as well. And it was a tremendous honor to read (photo of me at left, by author and artist Cornelia Spelman, Reg's wife) with the three students and with Reg, whom I've never read with despite my being at the university for five years. The students repped the three genres we teach (creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction), and Reg read a few of his stellar translations from Ancient Greek and from his forthcoming collection, while I read (at length!) two linked, still pretty rough early sections--which included dialogue, a forward-moving timeline, and yes, action--I'd never read publicly from my novel in progress, Palimpsests.
Reading new work always terrifies me, but this time my nerves were settled by the time I took the mic. Afterwards I joined writer friend Rone Shavers, who's also taught in the program (and caught the Dessalines reference, which I did not throw in to keep him on his toes, though I was glad he got it), and some former (Michael, Kayte, Adrienne, Andrea!) and current students on a little bar crawl, then skedaddled back north shortly after the (be)witching hour. The word for the evening, despite my exhaustion, was FUN. In fact, I didn't realize till I got home how drained I really was.