Monday, March 26, 2012

Chock Full o' Owls

Great book conference with Maud Newton & gang! I was at a poetry reading and heard this: "the owl hunts blood among the fir trees" and naturally I got excited. Pretty soon another owl popped up! So many owls. It was then that I knew DREAM CABINET by Ann Fisher-Wirth was my favorite thing: a book with an owl in it. Maud's friend Carrie came down from North Carolina to watch us be on an exciting panel together. Carrie is an editor at THE AWL and I fell in love with her when she pulled a big, clunky biography of Shirley Jackson (whose HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE has an owl in it) out of her handbag. I got to introduce her to my colleague Joan Hall, who wrote a book about Shirley Jackson! Once I ran into Joan Hall on campus during a book sale some organization was having. I saw a Hamlin Garland book that would set me back $1.50 but I didn't have any cash. Now, Hamlin Garland is somebody I know about because of Dr. Theresa's interest in him. She admires his regionalist stuff. But somewhere along the way I found out he was also a fan of ghosts! The book I wanted was called FORTY YEARS OF PSYCHIC RESEARCH. Wow! Joan Hall loaned me two dollars so I could buy it. She's the greatest! Everybody is the greatest. PS I had drinks at City Grocery Bar tonight with my MFA student Jimmy who has mono. He wrote a paper comparing BELOVED to THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and when he presented it, some professor in the audience (from Iowa, Jimmy thinks) asked why he had compared Toni Morrison to "trash literature"! Jimmy didn't know what to say. "I thought it was real good," he remembers as his response.