An open letter to the parents of “The Oregon Boys”

Dear parents of “the Oregon boys”,

You should be extremely proud of the young men that you have raised. As a father of 2 children of my own (29 and 26), I can say that you have exceeded any hopes you might have had for how they might turn out.

These young men are respectful, polite, bright and engaged, inquisitive, and well behaved. They quickly became the darlings of Ebertfest, impressing many people of all ages. They asked insightful and penetrating questions during the Q&As after each film and engaged in in depth conversations with true film lovers, holding their own in every case.

I quickly lost count of all the people—particularly people in the 50-75 year old demographic—who wanted to talk with them, hear their story, congratulate them and their parents (this post is written on behalf of many people and not just myself), hug them and wish them safely home with the express hopes of seeing them again next year.

I know that they have been offered a place to stay next year. If I were you I would not worry; she is a good person. Someone is willing to open their home to four young men that they just recently met for the several days of Ebertfest. People took them out to dinner; more would have if there had been time.

I could go on and on. I truly hope that you are proud of these young men that you helped get to this point. I well remember those days at the end of high school for my boy and I know how tough parent-child relationships at that point can be. But I am here to tell you that you ought be proud of them. I know that I am and that I am proud to call them friends.

Sincerely,

Mark

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Ebertfest was last week and on the 1st day we met 4 young men from Coos Bay, OR standing in line right behind us. Mike, Tyler, Bret and Dana had somehow managed to convince their parents to let them come all the way from the Oregon coast to central Illinois. They had saved their own money and paid for the trip themselves. $750 each just for airfare, plus several days in the Hampton Inn, meals, etc. Wow! They truly wanted to be here for Ebertfest!

We got to know them pretty well over the course of the 5 day film festival. Basically high school students/graduates, in love with film, wanting to be an actor and directors. They know film. They are bright and articulate, respectful, charming, and Sara and I are pleased that we got to know them. Hopefully we, too, will make it back for Ebertfest and run into them. And if not, then when they are famous at least we can say we knew them when and took them out to dinner the 1st time they came to Ebertfest.

::hugs:: and best wishes to “the Oregon boys.”

house spouse

a little “mouse”
grew up; became
a new house spouse.

wrote a little ditty
because he is moving
to Iowa; Sioux City.

I posted that little ditty to facebook and twitter several days ago to announce that I will soon be moving.

In the comments on facebook, I also wrote:

I’m going to Sioux City to be a househusband, scholar [write my CAS paper / defend], poet, part-time student perhaps, enjoying other parts of the country (and, I must admit, the Midwest), photographer of late 19th-century brick industrial buildings and ghost signs and real wildflowers and prairie and ….

I get my soul back.

… But I get my soul back. And maybe, eventually, some of my mind.

My lovely partner, and soon-to-be spouse, has accepted a job as the Reference and Instruction Librarian at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. We will be moving in early July probably; after our wedding and my daughter’s wedding and ALA and ….

We are really looking forward to it. And, yes, I did go with her for her campus visit so I have seen Sioux City. Yes, we will miss many, many wonderful and some taken for granted things here: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Krannert Art Museum and all of the wonderful, often free, programs put on at both, being able to walk (or easily bus, for free) to pretty much everywhere except major shopping, Crane Alley and other favorite eating/drinking haunts, the Arboretum and Japan House, and on and on. Even moreso, we will miss all of the wonderful people.

What I will not miss is alluded to above. As important as the work is that I have been doing the last couple of years, my job has been killing me. My spirit is completely gone and my soul is being forcibly ripped from my body.

Maybe it is the size of the institution (Library, specifically); maybe it is the myriad and serious problems facing the Library (many of which are not financial).

I really do not want to get into any details because that, as I am told, is unprofessional. Kind of ironic since that is the judgement I make of many here. Do not misunderstand me, please. There are many dedicated professionals in our libraries; professionals at all levels of staffing. Some of the issues derive from our massive size and/or decentralized structure, but by no means all of them do.

I do not intend to look for a job any time soon. But I am also not leaving the profession. There is the important task of writing and defending my CAS paper before May 2011. And I fully intend to do so. That task and being a proper house spouse providing all of the support that I can for Sara to succeed in her new job will be my main occupation.

Other than that, I look forward to writing some articles and conference presentations. I hope to re-engage on my blog; perhaps return to friendfeed. Also high on my list are writing some poetry inspired by the change of scenery, perhaps taking a poetry class [poetry prof was on the search committee and sat next to me at dinner]; learning to photograph the lovely late 19th-century industrial brick buildings that are all over Sioux City, along with the plentiful ghost signs, and real prairie flowers.

By going with Sara on her interview I added 3 states to my visited list; Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. I am looking forward to visiting Omaha, Sioux Falls, Ames and Iowa City and many other towns, from the small to the large.

Being so near to the Missouri River valley and bottom lands makes me feel very much at home. I grew up in the north suburbs of St. Louis near the confluence of the Mighty Mo and the Mississippi. In the summers we’d bike out to Missouri Bottom Road (named literally), especially when it was flooded. We also lived about a mile from a park on a big bluff along the Missouri.

It is a big adventure and we’ll be taking a massive pay cut to go on it. Sara is getting a small increase but it still means losing the vast majority of my salary. Thankfully I get a small bit for my Army retirement; wouldn’t be doable otherwise.

Looking forward to this with all of my heart. I truly am.

Pinks




Pinks 0046.JPG

Originally uploaded by broken thoughts

Urbana is ablaze in tulips, and many other flowers, in the ground, in the bushes, and on the trees, right now. They are humbling, gorgeous, vibrant, and call to something deep and primal in me.

Sara and I went for a walk this morning and I took a bunch of pictures and then put 69 of them on Flickr.

Poems, the prior

In honor of National Poetry Month I have been reading books of poetry and books about writing/reading poetry. I have yet to write any poems this month, but then I haven’t written a poem in a while.

One can find a lot of poems & poetry-related information at Poets.org (from the Academy of American Poets). Three resources that seem immediately relevant to me are:

I need to check out more of their information on writing and reading poems, too.

Since I haven’t written anything lately, I thought I might (re)share the poems I have previously posted here. I think this might be a complete list but would not be surprised to find out I missed 1 or 2.

Chronologically, oldest to most recent: