Although winter is usually time for things to slow down somewhat, with the holidays over and warm weather not yet here, I am staying busy with a variety of projects. Chief among them, I have finished the first draft of a full-length play! That novel that I had been struggling with writing, the one that was only barely coming out in tiny fits and snatches— once I scrapped the whole notion of a novel and began writing it is a play instead, the pages came surging forward, sometimes twenty in a day. At this point, it is only a first draft; there’s lots of revision to go. I’m letting it lie fallow for a few weeks before I read it again, in hopes that I’ll know then whether I’ve produce something of substance or not. After a couple of months of rewrites, I may well see if any theater companies are interested in it.
In more immediately goings-on, my Film Club students have their screening of Eating Alabama at the school on Thursday night. The evening will start with an all-Alabama food tasting and end with a post-show discussion with filmmaker Andrew Beck Grace and the director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority Don Wambles. We’ve been planning and organizing this screening since last fall, and the students and I are excited about hosting it. We’ve got a good crowd coming, but there will not be any tickets sold at the door.
This coming Tuesday night, I’m attending a legislative contact committee meeting with the Alabama Education Association and state legislators to discuss education issues. I’ve never been to a meeting like this before, so we’ll see what happens when I get there. It’s going to be good to get to sit down with the folks from the teachers union and the legislators who lead education committees, in order to experience this discussion head-on.
Next week, we’re very honored to have National Book Award-winning poet Nikki Finney coming to town. On Monday night, February 4, Finney will be reading her poem “Red Velvet” from her award-winning book Head Off & Split at the celebration of what would be Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday at the Troy University Rosa Parks Library and Museum. And then on Tuesday, February 5, she is coming to our school to conduct a workshop with my creative writing students!
In other school/teaching news, we’ve got lots of projects and field trips coming up. My seniors are going to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival to see “Macbeth” in about two weeks. Later in February, my creative writing students are going to view the Rosa Parks Museum’s exhibit of letterpress printer Amos Kennedy‘s Rosa Parks posters, and I am also taking students to hear Civil Rights attorney Fred D. Gray speak on his reflections of the years 1961-1963 at the Alabama Department of Archives & History’s ArchiTreats program. Finally, on February 28, my creative writing students are giving a reading of their ekphrastic (art-inspired) literary works at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts; each year, we spend about a week at the museum where the students choose a work of art as their inspiration for a writing project, and this reading, which is open to the public, is for sharing their work.