June 5th, 2006


(no subject)

I guess it's not really possible to go off-topic on my very own journal.  I have reason to go back to libraries, and will, but I thought meantime I would allude to a thing I did last December in Indiana.  I was asked by a couple of teachers at IU to come and talk to their students, because one was teaching a history class about alternative histories and the uses of same, and another was teaching a lit course with a book of mine in it; then it sort of escalated and I got issued the invitation from the Indiana University Institute for Advanced Studies, and had to give a speech, or "address", as well as visit classes.  So I wrote one.  Here is the link to it:  http://www.indiana.edu/~ias/ 

The picture is cute, no?  Once I described a character in a book as looking like "the young Santa Claus"; it was kind of a self portrait; here I am as the Middle-Aged Santa Claus.

The speech has also been published in the new issue of the Bard literary magazine Conjunctions, #46, along with much else wise and weird. 

The visit was strange and moving, because I actually went to Indiana University, and sort of graduated in 1964.  I hadn't been back since.  I walked the place in a sort of Proustian hallucination.  Much of course had changed, and my memory had changed much over the course of decades, and the three places (the present place, the actual historical place, and the memory place) had to be fitted together.  I am someone who has no sense of direction, and this made it doubly hard.  Once with great emotion I came on a house where I was sure I had lived, and where I had lain with a girl, or woman, who would be intensely and terribly important.  (This was a long tome ago.) It was unchanged, only greatly older.  I seemed even to remember the hideous curtains in the windows.  It seems that the University buys up such places, once student apartments, and keeps them until needed.  When I got home again I looked up some old letters I've kept, and no, wrong house number.  All that emotion expended on the wrong place.  It was somewhere down the street...

The speech was delivered on my birthday.

That speech

Looking over it again after finding the link,I see that the speech contains much that the Friends of this site already know a lot about, in some cases more than me; and a lot of things I've already said elsewhere -- but my store of anecdotes and apercus isn't bottomless, and we all recycle.  So don't read those parts.