My new Knoxville living room is still a vast wasteland of half-unpacked
cartons, bookcases that need to be reconstructed, and cardboard
boxes that need to be deconstructed.
At least it is a relatively vast living room compared to the last one, so
keeping the boxes open and shelving things little by little may help get me
organized for the first time in 10 years. Wish me luck!
This weekend I'm putting the finishing touches on my syllabus for JEM 200, an Introduction to News Writing, along with finding my way around a new city and a new chunk of cyberspace -- but I'm also overdue writing a Tennessee-based entry in this weblog instead of letting someone else do it for me. So here it is.
(Speaking of taking time off, I'm glad to see that John Perry Barlow
returned to his blog last month after a long break. His "time off" does live up to his headline:
"Too Alive to Be Virtual." )
I don't know if I'll put something here more often than once a week (perhaps as
"class notes"), but I'm making some style changes while I'm at it. First,
I've decided to relax and write this blog in the first person --
relatively unpolished and unjournalistic, but more "bloglike."
I also may slip a few personal stories
and snapshots between the course notes, rather than e-mail them to
family and friends. Here's an example:
Driving that 15-foot yellow rental truck from Massachusetts to
Tennessee was fun. The movers I hired to help load the 120 boxes of
books, LPs and files packed things so tightly that they said the truck
might be technically overweight. They cautioned me to be careful
it and to watch out for weigh stations. Other drivers along the road said "household" movers probably aren't
required to use the scales, but I took the "all trucks exit here" signs literally
and drove through the three "open" weigh stations I came to. No "dodged all the scales" for me.
Maybe that hint of weigh station anxiety is what put Dave Dudley's "Six Days on the Road" into my head for most of the 950-mile drive: "I'm a little overweight and my logbook's way behind..." (I found another online source
of the lyrics that transcribes that line as "my law books way
behind..." Probably another ABD grad student with trucker fantasies.)
something about driving a truck, even an itty bitty yellow truck,
spending nights on the road and drinking a lot of truck-stop coffee
that probably makes any Penske/U-Haul customer feel like he's sharing
the life of a professional long-haul truck driver. (I vaguely remember
a minivan or SUV ad on a similar theme.) Despite some tense moments in
late-night thunder storms, I came about as close to the "trucker"
experience as my truck did to filling the semi-sized parking spaces in
took another photo to celebrate the joy of napping in the driver's seat
and waking up to an Appalachian dawn. Unfortunately, my eye and hands
didn't wake up as steady as the picture deserved... but that's why I'm
teaching writing, not photography. Nice colors, though...
-30- for now