Lining up

I’ve been on hiatus from the blog for some time. A new semester has just begun, and the carousel has barely slowed down.

Last weekend, I spent time in Seattle with other folks from UAB’s English department interviewing potential candidates for a position opening. Actually, we’re advertising three positions this year, which is pretty awesome considering the economy. One by one, candidates met with our committee in a hotel suite to talk about their research interests, thoughts on teaching, etc. Times like these make me thankful for the years I spent in social settings with my extended family. We Irish Catholics know a thing or two about conversing. More than one of my relatives never met a stranger.

Today, I experienced another kind of turn-taking. After several weeks of memorizing and practicing rows and rows of words (many of which I must admit I’ve neither seen nor spoken), Helena took the stage for the Vestavia Hills Elementary Central Spelling Bee. After an hour and a half, she was one of around 14 kids still standing. The competition will pick up again next Tuesday. Translate: it will be a long holiday weekend of more lists, more attempts to recall the “i’s” before “e’s” and the “f’s” and “ph’s” in preparation for the final competition.

Lining up and trying your best can be thrilling and intimidating, both at the same time.


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