Stories we tell.
“There’s the story, then there’s the real story, then there’s the story of how the story came to be told. Then there’s what you leave out of the story. Which is part of the story too.”
~Margaret Atwood. “MaddAddam.”
Busy, would not begin to accurately describe the days of 2017. I think many people find that word derogatory, or at least prefer things to be otherwise. I've come to love the busy state of things over this past year and am continuing to find it quite pleasant. It is synonymous with accomplishing the things I want to achieve. Over the first two weeks of this year, I have done a lot of dissertation writing and am nearly finished re-reading through Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy. Simultaneously, I've finished up grading students' short stories and am getting ready for the completion of the semester. Last but in no way least, I'm prepping to teach a unit on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and to re-read through Gregory Maguire's Wicked Years series. Fit in along the edges of available time are myriad articles, Kalpana Rahita Sheshadri's HumAnimal: Race, Law, Language and revisiting the work of Carol J. Adams. Some might see a cacophony, but I find a tapestry.
An exploration of the dark edges of what it means to be a human are found in the work of the most accomplished and fledgling authors alike. And, there's always an indeterminacy haunting any rigorous response. I heard some kids talking about how there's always two sides to every story, and the passage from Atwood left to mind with a peculiar force. It made me wonder if good writing wasn't always a totalitarian endeavor; while great writing is that unconditional hospitality which gives welcome even up to the demise of its own original intentions.