when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Bursts of sunlight through the grey of a winter that has lasted a mad long time. Today was a good day.

This afternoon I went to a lecture on what to do with a BA in English. (Cue the Avenue Q.) Not because I particularly need to know — I’m sure I went to the same lecture ten years ago. But the professor giving the talk was the one who most inspired me back when I was a questing child in search of narrative. I wanted to thank him for the things I learned in his classes, the things I have carried with me ever since.

Hearing him talk was like stepping back in time. His teacup, and his handkerchief, and the way he laughs when he tells stories. I remember that his desktop wallpaper was a picture of Baghdad: the home from which he had been exiled. He would tell us about the doves he kept as pets, and about the time he was interviewed regarding Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. I took a year’s worth of Post-Colonial Literature just because he was teaching it.

And I remember now why I chose an English degree.

At some point, that spark dulled to an ember, and I scratched dead ashes over the memory. There are always paths we don’t follow, potentials we don’t pursue. This is normal, I think. We are a million possible selves; but in order to cohere, we need to choose a road and follow it.

And yet, all the other things I learned in the seven years that I took to do other things brought me back to this place. I built walls, and I hid behind them. I locked myself out of pieces of my own heart. “Follow your heart,” he said today. “Do what your heart tells you to do.” Of course. How could I have forgotten?

I went because I wanted to thank him for what he gave me ten years ago. Today he gave me another precious thing. Story is our attempt to put into words the heart’s response to the world. Now I remember.

Today was a good day.

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~ by windigowinter on March 24, 2011.

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