I’ve made one week in this discerning city, and it’s been fantastic. Before I showed up I didn’t know it was called the discerning city. In fact, am not even sure everybody knows that’s what it is, but when Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) offered me a job teaching creative writing, I emailed my buddy and mentor, Arthur Flowers, who was doing his creative time in China, and was either spending more time in the temples or other places so we couldn’t talk, but he emailed in his cool style:
“way to go alabama, a state of much discernment
im too tickled that you will be
experiencing the south, it will be a revelation”
It sure is.
the people by far
Coolest people, warm and generous. I already feel like I’ve been here for a year–in a nice way. There are many similarities with my ancestral home. Folks here are huggers, even if you’re meeting them for the first time. That’s the stuff we do back where i come from. So was really let loose when i noticed all i had to do was open my arms, and warmness and generosity flowed.
Beautiful landscape too. Didn’t expect the hills but sure they got plenty. And lots of green and parks.
Am cushioned for now, generosity of the school and creative writing teaching staff, but will eventually have to find a place for my head. No pressure, except the one that comes from within, the one I always put myself through. So this whole week been busy dealing with agents and landlords, trying to find a nice homely place to stay that fits my lifestyle–which means quiet, safe and private, and boy, it’s been such a trip! In my area of interest, I’ve come across beautiful historic houses that have been neglected, you can see their tears on the walls, crying for care. Lots of motel-like structures too, which means, there’s demand, but not my interest. The lofts downtown are really funky especially on the inside, modern truly, haven’t seen postmodern but we’re getting there. I’ve seen signs of the future, in the new tech, appliances and what not, and it’s chic. My hunt for the house goes on. Needle in a haystack it’s becoming but that’s because I’m impatient to get settled. I’ve met one conman out of ten folks, who said I should show up to view the house with cash, and told me three different names he goes by. Had to say Mr. while referring to himself: Mr. Javis, Mr.Adrian, Mr. Henry. Asked who i was coming with to view the house. I said two strong men and that made him reconsider. That warned me not to bother. It could have been worse. Generally trust thrives here.
Looking forward to beginning classes on Monday. Met a few students who are super excited and eager to get started. A good sign. Motivated. Already love them. I have permission to decorate my classroom anyway I want. Even repaint, but that’s not necessary. I like the newly painted red walls and white cubicles. But i might take the front door off and put it in another place–at the back probably–create some obvious change, you know, in the name of, eh, freeing the muse.
the city and residential neighborhoods
Unlike roads and streets that obey straight lines, Birmingham is all about circles. So you’ll come across circle this, circle that, and somehow, that’s how one is meant to function.I’m laboring to remove all the straight lines from my head while here.
Yours truly will be in touch again soon.