Day Eight

Already it is difficult to explain. Has it been ten days? Two months? Did I make mistakes? Miss opportunities? Sleep through anything?

The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2006 commences without a hitch and I watch fourteen graduates file across the stage in time to bagpipe music and the natural cadences of their own walks. PS is the graduation speaker and he hoists nearly ten books of poetry to the podium with him, faculty tassels flopping in front of his face. His speech is genius; pure humor mixed with insight, sincerity, intellectualism. It is the finest gift he could give the graduates.

Later, we all drink champagne and eat cake. There are families and photos and everyone wearing their Sunday bests. But I leave early. The struggle for chat overwhelms me, replaced by the desire for a calm, reflective afternoon. I hole up in my dorm room and write my semester study plan (due June 20), including a book list measured at a fast clip of one book per week until Thanksgiving.

“Don’t worry about a problem before it presents itself,” my faculty advisor for the semester says. He is trying to help me write without censoring, to blur the lines between nonfiction and fiction, to experiment without concern so I can get down to the real meat and bones on the plate. I say all of this in my study plan and then some. It is important to be honest.


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