A different window today: one in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, and one that affords very little green and few birds, except for the canaries in the conservatory bar’s aviary. I did hear something singing as I walked back to my hotel this evening after the day’s scoring of Advanced Placement essays, but I couldn’t see what it was—no doubt some sort of LBB. This is not my usual sort of environment, but I am having a great time and encountering a different sort of diversity, that involving humans.
Imagine, if you will, over a thousand college and high school English faculty from all over the United States, all in the same two hotels for eight days to read over a million Advanced Placement essays in language and literature. It’s a wild scene, with an inordinate number of faculty who look to me like high school students along with a fair number of grizzled veterans, in probably every possible human shape and color. Any time you sit down with anyone, a wide-ranging and energizing conversation is likely to result. I’ve met a California retiree inspired to visit the mountains of West Virginia after running across a copy of a Denise Giardina novel in a rented cabin, a Minnesota high school teacher who invited our table to visit her cabin at Leech Lake some February for the annual International Eelpout Festival (which seems to involve a lot of drunken icefishing), a smalltown North Carolina teacher doing work in modernism with her rural students, and (in the elevator) my dissertation director, whom I’d not seen in more than a decade. Yes, the variety of homo sapiens facultus is quite something.
Visiting AP faculty are of course not the only Louisvillians. Taking a walk along the riverfront this evening, I struck up a conversation with one of a group of elderly gentlemen fishing from the wharf. Asked, “What are you catching?” he responded, “The blues.”
Sometimes ya gotta love people.