June 28th, 2006

Patience and Prudence

(no subject)

My new job as Arts Administrator is off to a good start.   Not a joke:  out of misplaced fear of poverty or a general tendency to do what I am asked, I have taken the job of Director of the Yale Summer Sessions Wriring Program.  Mostly the job consist of convincing well-known writers to come to campus, meet with students and give a reading.  (Also going around campus tacking up fliers, arranging for their transportation, taking them to dinner with compatible guests, reading their work before meeting them so I can introduce them, and otherwise, well, administering, or administrating.)

Last night Marilynne Robinson came -- a wonderful person.  We talked theology, of which she is an expert.  (no, Tom, I did NOT forget to issue you an invitation to meet her.  It might be abashing for a theologian to meet the New Boss.)  Her reading well attended by people of all ages.  When she asked after reading a while what her audience would like next -- more reading, questions -- someone spoke up and said "Could you read that chapter in Housekeeping where Ruth and Sylvie row out to the island to look for children?" Nice compliment. 

If you are anywhere near New Haven this summer you can come to the big readings -- Sharon Olds, Pete Hamill, Neil Gaiman -- or the smaller coffee-house readings -- Liz Hand, Paul Park, Paul diFilippo, me, former Yale students.  For a scedule go to http://www.yale.edu/summer/ and click on Summer Reading Series.
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Miscellany

Things appearing on TV in reverse (or radically different ratios) in life and on TV:

Left-handed people.  Why are so many actors left-handed?  Has anyone ever investigated this? Do left-handedness (right-brainedness) and acting go together? The ratio of left-handed to right-handed people on TV is far different from the ratio in life.  Start countimg, you'll see. 

Macs. The proportion of Mac laptops to Windows laptops is the reverse of that in our world.  Macs are common, Windows laptops rare.  probably because all the art directors have them.

African-American doctors and scientists.  I understand the reason for this and even applaud it, but sometimes it's weird.  But why should that strike me?  It's all weird as can be, and weirder the more realistic it gets.   See also:  Strikingly beautiful female police officers. even more obvious.

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Went to the Searching for Shakespeare show at the Yale Art Museum.  I got there too late to linger long, but it was still moving.  Shakespeare's will visits America.  His very signatures.  You feel a bit like genuflecting or covering the head.  Lots of quartos.  Great portrait of Edward de Vere, earl of Oxford, looking very pert and smug, as though he knew he'd one day be put forward as the Real Author, and won't mind a bit.

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Any ideas for famous and supposedly model short stories that are in fact not good, bad in instructive ways?  I need a couple for my fiction students.  We will read them with solemn attention and then destroy them.  So far I have The Necklace by de Maupassant, a ridiculous piece of arbitrary cruelty that puts the Surprise Ending in a bad odor. or ought to.