Updates on writerly and teacherly stuff

As spring is coming on, I’m grading papers like mad since the nine-weeks ends on Friday. Spring break is still more than two weeks away, and my students have their Sketch Comedy show to put on before we get to that short vacation. They’ve finished the script and are rehearsing now. I also just finished new student auditions, and we’re about to send our literary magazine, Graphophobia, to press. Next week, I’m taking five students to a collaborative meeting at Equal Justice Initiative, along with our school’s Law magnet and a group of students from Chicago Latin School, for a program called Combating Hate. I’m looking forward to that.

As for writing, I’m letting the second draft of my three-act play rest a little bit before I start back for a third draft. I’ve given it the tentative title, “Deepest July,” and it is set in an unnamed Alabama small town wedged between Selma and Tuscaloosa, so basically in the Black Belt. I’ll probably dive back into it in a month or two, which will be enough distance to cast a better critical eye on its flaws.

I’m kind of glad that I’m so busy right now too, but I’m about to go out my gourd waiting on this Guggenheim Fellowship answer. The announcement is in April, which means that individual responses ought to be coming soon. (What I have found with fellowships and awards is that the recipients don’t find out with the release to the general public; they get word sooner.) Of course, I’m cautiously optimistic, since they reportedly choose 220 out of 2,000 to 3,000 applicants, which leaves a 90% chance of the answer being no. But those odds also allow for 10% chance of a yes!

Finally, I’m gearing up for the Alabama Book Festival on April 20, a little more than six weeks from now. This year, I’ve got my students’ display table in the exhibitors’ area and the Student Readers Group, with Sonny Brewer presenting The Poet of Tolstoy Park, at 9 AM. So it’ll be a busy day, but I’m sure a good one!

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