Thursday, January 04, 2024

Slow Learner launch

Today was a long day at work, made a bit longer by checking in with people who are attending the MLA. But I got home at a reasonable hour, and after feeding my pack their dinner, I was so happy and honored to attend the book launch for Jan Shoemaker's new book of essays, Slow Learner. 

First, I picked up L--who had introduced me to Jan--and then we picked up the copies I'd preordered, and found a place to sit. The space was jam-packed and they ended up having to add more seating. Jan, who used to teach English at a local high school, read a pandemic piece titled "Caper." It was characteristically hilarious and suspenseful and I can't wait to read the rest.

The following is from an old essay I found on the internet called "Where the Water Is". It gives some idea of how Jan uses wit in ways that are sharp and searching.

"One of the uncomfortable things about living with a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s is that it makes you confront your own character flaws. Just when you thought it more or less clear from all the times you’ve sent money to public radio and boycotted Wal-Mart that you were the incarnation of Albert Schweitzer, or Gandhi, or both, you find out you’re really just a slightly bitchier version of Martha Stewart. Your well of compassion and patience, which was never very deep to begin with, is now just an empty cistern."

Pic: Jan at the lectern at the Slow Learner launch today.  


Sarah said...

I put this book on hold when you first mentioned it— can’t wait!

Nance said...

Oh, I can absolutely relate to that excerpt! I feel that so deeply when caring for my mother, age 93, Alzheimer's. I have her a week every month, and by the third day...aaarrrggghhh. Rick says it takes me three days to come back to myself.

Thanks for the link. I'm headed there now.

Gillian said...


NGS said...

Wow! A packed book reading. I've never been to such a thing!

maya said...

Sarah--I hope you like it!
Nance--That is so, so difficult. Hugs.
Gillian--Thank you.
NGS--My experience is quite the opposite--how can this be?

Nicole said...

I have to put that book on hold! That quote alone is enough for me.

last day/first day

And that's a wrap on classes until August. There are exams and meetings next week and task forces that will meet through the summer and ...