So first, I have to bring up some seriously neglected election information – on Saturday, Guam held is Presidential Caucus, and no one has even talked about it. This seems to me indicative of something larger that happens with small places – we are neglected – an irony that the small-homed among us don’t seem to understand. We think we’re large and in charge – huge like the rest of you in New York or San Francisco or even the bustling metropolis of Peoria, Indiana. No matter how small we are, we are large in our minds. . . and so this is my shout-out to Guam, where Barack barely took the majority (50.1% to Hillary’s 49.9%) – and where we know that your four delegates are the center of your world. Here’s to Guam!

Weekly Geeks
I’m really enjoying this week’s Weekly Geeks challenge. I’m getting lots of visits from new folks, which is then giving me more to read, which is great but probably not for my students who wish I could grade faster. I’m enjoying seeing who else has reviewed what I’ve reviewed (a strikingly small lot you are – my odd taste doesn’t match up with your odd tastes all that often it seems.) Plus, I’m playing a lot with technology, which again is fun but really should wait until May 15th when my grades are posted. So thanks, Dewey, for this opportunity.

And just to add to the fodder, here’s another review, in brief. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok is a book that I really should list in my favorites, but I always seem to forget it, maybe because I read it some years ago. The story is of an Orthodox teenager who discovers his love for art and his talent for it. To follow this vocation, however, he must leave, both literally and metaphorically, his Orthodox roots and be an outcast from his family and community. It is the story of a man who in seizing who he really is must learn how to recast his former self for his new one.

This is the book that let me know I was an artist (and I use that term with a little “a,” lest you think I’m comparing myself to Picasso or something – Picasso was an Artist.) The longing that Asher feels for his painting is that pinprick of tenacity I feel in my spirit about writing, when I let myself feel it and don’t deaden it with my own or other people’s expectations of me. Asher’s life is every artist’s life, and this book gave me the courage to live my own life.

After I read Asher Lev and it’s sequel, The Gift of Asher Lev, I then read every single thing by Chaim Potok except The Wanderings, which I own but in a copy that is barely holding together. The Asher Lev books are, in my opinion, the best books he wrote, but the others are all good as well, especially if you’re a person of faith coming to understand that in deep, devout but original ways.
Cover of Potok's My Name is Asher Lev

Finally, if you’re in or near northeastern Maryland (we’re located an hour north from Baltimore and an hour south of Philly on 95), please come out and see my students and colleagues at “Original Words: A Student and Faculty Creative Writing Reading.” The students are reading their own work – poetry, fiction, and nonfiction – and it promises to be a great evening. The reading starts at 5:30 at Cecil College (directions available on the website). If you come, join us at my house for dinner afterwords and get to talk to the writers. . . If you’re too far away or busy, I”m sorry you’ll miss it, but I”ll give you an update later in the week. I’m so proud of these guys for stepping out and sharing their words. They remind me of the power of fresh eyes when it comes to writing.

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