The End of Anonymity
I’ve lived and worked in enough communities to understand that my first night on campus was also likely to be my last night as an anonymous individual. Show up in the middle of winter in the middle of nowhere with a glass lobster claw on your car and people are bound to notice. Likewise, at a school with 400 extraordinarily bright (child prodigy) students, it’s damn near impossible for a new face to appear without raising questions.
I took the opportunity of anonymity to eat in the cafeteria alongside the students, not saying much but soaking up every single word. Later, I went to that evening’s performance of the jazz band with guest musician Kevin Eubanks (trombone). I sat in the back rows imbedded between the students. There was gossip about the “cute euphonium player” from last summer and “the new Love Calculator on Google.” Girls ogled the saxophone soloist between songs and cheered especially loud for the jazz pianist (I was cheering too—the kid was simply uh-maze-ing).
I’m here to model the life of a working writer, as per my job description as Writer-in-Residence. To that end, I have a small teaching load: one class with 8 students and one class with 9 students for a total of 8 classroom hours per week. While I’ve always found my students noteworthy and full of stories, I do not intend to write about them in this blog, nor can I or will I detail the inner workings of the school as I slowly become a part of it. I may share what I am teaching or anecdotes of particularly moving experiences, but all names will be withheld and identifying features changed for obvious reasons.
Suffice it to say I had my first department meeting today and drinks with the faculty and I observed that the way they talk about their students is similar to other schools I have taught in. I’m humbled to be here and eager to see what unfolds.
Meantime, a most important discovery has been made: The shape of Michigan resembles the shape of “the claw” on my roof rack, as seen below.