Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Visionary Dreams in a Time of Exile

--Early Easter Sunday morning, I dreamed that I was teaching again.  It was a new position, and in my dream, I remember talking about how happy I was to be teaching again and how I didn't expect to like returning to the classroom so much.  Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

--Of course, in my dream, I was teaching a course in Russian film, something that I know nothing--nothing--about in my waking life.  In my dream I was also excited that I wasn't teaching Composition, and that I had a 2 course load.

--That's how I should have known it was a dream:  I was only teaching 2 classes, and they were both upper level. 

--I find myself fascinated with the escapades of the Miami Marlins' manager Ozzie Guillen, who may have ruined his latest dream job with his comment where he said he admired Fidel Castro.  Does he not know where he's living?  You can't say anything that's even remotely pro-Castro down here in Miami and expect people not to notice.  Or was he trying to be provocative?

--Either way, he's now suspended, and he's on everyone's radar screen.  I predict he won't last long.

--I'm happy to see that Dorothy Allison has lasted long and appears to be doing well.  Today is her birthday.

--Most people are most familiar with her book Bastard Out of Carolina.  I found that book a tough read, but well done.

--"Gritty" is a descriptive tag that was created for books like Bastard Out of Carolina.  "Powerful" is another one.

--My favorite Dorothy Allison book is an earlier collection of short stories, Trash.  I read that book over 20 years ago, but I still remember one detail:  a character buys several bags of frozen kale, which she can't usually find in her San Francisco location, and she keeps them in the freezer as both a comfort food and a comfort to know that she has them in reserve.  It's a food that reminds her of her childhood home in the U.S. South, and the matriarchs who cooked them, and her lesbian partner can't understand the appeal of these strange, boiled greens.

--That story made me think about the issue of exile, and how even citizens of a country can feel like they're in exile in their own home country.  It's not only Cuban refugees.

--All roads lead back to Flannery O'Connor, who told us that we can't go home again.

--What would it be like to teach a course on Southern Lit of the U.S. that includes both O'Connor and Allison?  Now that would be a dream job.

--My definition of Southern Lit has expanded because of living down here in South Florida.  What I would want to do in a Southern Lit class would take at least 2 semesters and would include some Caribbean Lit too.

--If that dream job ever comes, I hope it also includes a dream salary so that I can afford to take it.

--Is a dream that occurs on Easter more prophetic, more drenched with meaning, more significant?  In my tradition, we expect visionary dreams on Pentecost, not Easter.  But I'll take visionary dreams whenever they come.

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