Well, I broke down and turned on the furnace this morning . . . though broke down is the wrong term because what I really did was sigh and flip the switch. No weeping necessary. It feels weak to admit to needing oil heat, but then again I live in Maine and we're on the downslide toward November, so the only surprise is that I didn't turn it on sooner.
Still, we haven't had a frost yet, which is weird. Yesterday I was out in the garden picking peppers and marigolds. The zinnias and dahlias are blooming bravely. I'm ripening tomatoes in the house, and picking honey mushrooms in the backyard. My basement baskets are full of potatoes and onions, and the freezer is packed with sauce and produce. Alcott House as cornucopia.
Today, after my exercise class, I'm going to shift straight into class planning for my Friday high schoolers. I'll be running back-to-back hour-and-a-half sessions with two sets of students; the ones I'm not teaching at the moment will be drawing with Alan Bray. I think I'm going to focus on stealing words--from ourselves, from each other, from what we read--and using that theft to create new work. Kids always like to steal stuff, and everyone always tells them they can't, so I think they should enjoy the novelty. This is the poem I'm going to use: Matthew Olzmann's "Letter to the Person Who, During the Q&A Session after the Reading, Asked for Career Advice." My friend Zanne shared this with me the other day, and as she said, "Pretty perfect for high school students, huh?"
Eventually this morning I'll get back to editing, and I'd like to do some Iliad reading too, but we'll see how my brain holds up. There's nothing I'd rather do than word work, but it does knock the stuffing out of me after a while, and then firewood hauling and floor washing start to seem like the best jobs on earth.