I'm writing an essay on Raymond Carver and the recovering male figure in his mid-career stories, as opposed to the reckless drunks of his earlier fiction. The other night I gave a presentation on my research and analyses so far, and my prof, who is a gorgeous Oregonian (wanted to put those words together suddenly) said she wants me to present at this Working Class Fiction Conference this spring. I haven't even read my fiction publicly, which I've had a little success and good fortune with publishing. I told her I didn't think the essay was all that earth shaking and she crooked her head to the side and said, "Oh no, I think you should present it. It's strong and intelligent." Her hair keeps swaying as she tells me this. Of course I find myself mesmerised, crooking my head in the same way she is and saying, "Ok, yeah, um sure, that--that sounds great," and feel the same butterflies she called up in me when I was twenty years old instead of twenty-seven, and she first walked into my Intro to Literary Theory class with those black knee-length boots and a short skirt on. Ouch. Help me. She and my freshman writing intructor (also a knee length boot wearer--ladies, take notice) totally rearranged my world when I got to college. My freshman writing instructor wrote stories and poetry and read them at a seedy little bohemian bar (Cedars! Yay!) on Friday nights. I curled up like a cat for her when she invited me to the place when I was still only 18.
She got me into the bar. She let me share her wine. Obviously you can imagine the fantasies a small town boy began having at this point. Knee length black boots, bars, poetry, wine. I had a friend with me who was still in high school who totally thought she was hot too, and when she asked him if he wrote, he said, "Yes, poetry." She said, "Oh what do you write about?" He said, "Really deep stuff". And I burst out laughing uncontrollably. He was mad at me for days, but eventually laughed a little (just a little) at himself too.
We argued a little about which one of us she liked better. I had the piece of evidence that made this absolutely unarguable. She had shared her wine with me. Not him. So there.
Nostalgia is a terrible thing to waste.