Friday, January 28, 2011

A Promise Kept--so far

In my next-to-last post, which was ages ago, I promised to make a habit of visiting libraries. More than a few friends rolled their eyes at that, thinking that I had slipped irrevocably into Dullsville. Well, fear not. Today my friend Marcia and I made the first of twelve visits to Colorado libraries. We didn't go far, mainly because it has been a spectacular day--warm, sunny, perfect for local exploring. So we went to Boulder, teased and pleased by the view of the snow covered Rockies with the bare "low altitude" Front Range for contrast. And miracle of miracles, found parking along Boulder Creek about a block from the Boulder Public Library.

The foyer through which we entered was amazing: a display of small sculptures greeted us and held our attention for a long time. I was particularly taken by wall-mounted "Lightning Bugs" in blown glass and cast aluminum by Caitlin Whitten. Then I stood a long time trying to figure out how Tiffany Lee had managed to cast highly detailed bronzes in the shape of draped fabric, complete with seams, buttons and button holes. Jaw dropping! Once we could bear to part with these wonders, we found art on every available wall in the meandering way to the main library area. The whole building was a feast--live fish in the aquarium near the children's area, live children in the area listening to stories, a water fountain, colorful displays of the books featured for book clubs, and a pleasant, helpful clerk at the front desk who gave us souvenir library cards. And for you doubters, he said they get a lot of people like us who just like to look at libraries.

To round out our bookish morning we visited a new POETRY bookstore, Innisfree, recently opened on 13th Street, just off Broadway. Already about to expand into the adjoining space, this shop is a tidy, welcoming feast for poets and readers. We had sandwiches, left a few of my books for the consignment shelf and chatted with Kevin, the owner, and another customer. What a great way to keep a New Year's resolution. Next month, another library, another adventure. I love books.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Getting Down to Business

Whew! My Imac is back from the digital doctor and that's a good thing, because the loaner PC did not have all my stuff and could not read the saved files on the USB thumb from the Mac word processor. I have a lot of projects going right now--a stack of submissions to get out, many with tight deadlines, and putting the polish to the teaching projects, the first of which begins at Front Range Community College at the end of January, and--oops--it's January already.

Getting back into the classroom feels right. Especially in this instance where the students will not be fighting for grades, will be there out of choice, not the demands of a degree program. They will be learning for fun--the best kind of education. The course is called Begin at Home, the ABC's of Living Local. I had tried this idea as a second blog, but it was frustrating to get a readership and difficult to put any focus into the thing. With a "bully pulpit" in the classroom I hope to do a better job of inspiring people to take a close look at their own municipalities and to their relationships to whatever places they currently call home. We will do some reflective writing, compile resource guides tailored to each individual's interests and read books and articles that may stimulate an ongoing love affair with home. And we all know that love affairs are dynamic, heavenly and hellish by turns. But the energy of the students will lighten, deepen, broaden and stimulate the class sessions and carry over when folks drive away from the student parking lot.