I gotta be honest with you: this autumn is turning out to be a bit of a shitstorm.
I mean, it's fine and all. We're good, generally. But you've got to let me kvetch just a bit about our Midwestern autumn. It's turning out just like our Midwestern spring was this year: aggressively dreary, cold-ish, WET. Now, I live for fall. I live for autumn sunshine that is warmer than spring sunshine and autumn breezes that are crisper than spring breezes. I live for the changing colors of leaves, and the dry skittering of leaves on the road. I live for they drying out and rustling of corn, and the bright orange of pumpkins glowing in the sun. And I am getting NONE of that. Seeing as how a nice autumn season of two to three weeks of nice 65-degree weather and fall light is pretty much one of the only reasons I live in Wisconsin, this lack of a nice fall is seriously chapping my hide. (All the more so because autumn 2017 was a lot like it--wet, dreary, stupid.)
Okay. I think I have it out of my system. Thank you.
Now: to close out September? I can't say I was crazy about Leslie Jamison's The Best American Essays 2017. Too dark, even for me. But I did find one essay I liked very much, Bernard Farai Matambo's "Working the City," about how he and another friend from Harare, Zimbabwe, were accepted to universities in the United States, and then spent their time "working their city," that is, visiting every office or business or friend's house or embassy to ask for funds to help them make it to the United States. Something about it was so hopeful and so honest and so nice:
"But Cato and I have a plan. We are approaching everyone and anyone we think may have money to five our way. We have written letters of inquiry to banks, members of Parliament, government ministries, airlines, government ministers, nongovernmental organizations--both domestic and international, private and public corporations, and general citizens known for charitable works or their good economic standing, a list that includes pastors, churchgoing men and women, and the wives of army generals. Cato has even written letters to embassies all over the city...
You never know, he said. And it wasn't my destiny to stop him.
It must have been all that talk of oil wealth that gave him the nerve, that our desire to leave no stone in this city unturned. We are trying out every rock that may move." (p. 106.)
I can't describe it. But it was hopeful and scrappy and remarkably free of malice, considering the author was having to leave no stone unturned just to try and find the money to get to the country where his education was waiting. I really liked it.
But now, it is October. Is everyone ready for Wendell Berry's Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community?