After a day of editing and errands, I went for a long saunter through the neighborhood and into the cemetery. Everywhere, puddles: the wet scent of melt: handprints of sunlight on headstones: sloppy streaks of sun along the sidewalks: a burst of snowdrops in a shaggy garden.
I'd just gotten an email offering me a miracle job. Would I create a year-long writing residency for high school students at a new arts center in central Maine? The plan is that I would lead bimonthly day-long sessions for a cadre of kids from the homeland . . . and get paid very well to do so.
When I lived in Harmony, I couldn't give away my services for free. For the most part English departments were suspicious, defensive, indifferent. Now I will be getting real money to create a class for young writers, who will be bused to the arts center twice a month to work with me. There will be a parallel program for visual-arts students.
I can barely keep myself from crying. Here I am in Portland, finally able to do work in the homeland. That's ironic, but also deeply emotional. To get a note from an artistic director that closes with "I think you'd be the perfect person . . . " All those years of driving kids back and forth from school, listening to their hopes and dreams and foolishness and half-baked plans and tears and laughter. All those years of being a mother in the backwoods. It turned out to be job training, I guess.
Anyway, a new page. A new experiment.