Nin Andrews and I are just back from a visit to Shawnee State where we answered smart and engaging questions in Neil Carpathios's class, and read to a full room of attentive listeners. It's really great to look out and see everyone is with you.
Criss-crossing Ohio was especially pleasing on a clear sky day in April, the whole state blooming with dogwood and redbud. Coming from Youngstown, I expected Portsmouth's economic suffering to be closer to the surface, but we saw lovely neighborhoods, including the street where my parents lived when I was born, and thriving business districts. This is not to say that less visible suffering is somehow better - people mentioned homelessness, demolitions and the Oxycontin addictions we've been reading about. But as a whole, the small city looks like it's holding on, and the painted murals along the floodwall and gorgeous bridge, all wire and tension, the wooded hills, houses with their wide porches, flowers everywhere, walkway along the river, (the river skinnier there than I expected), it's all quite beautiful and alive.
Since my friend who taught me to use chopsticks moved away, I have apparently gotten rusty, and after the second rice-lap event I gave up. Nin and I were there with Neil and two inspiring professors from the Women's Center, whose issue of the journal Tapestries we were there to help release.
It was a most excellent trip, and a heartfelt thanks to Nin, Neil, Shawnee State and Tapestries for including me.