November 29, 2021 § 5 Comments
By Adam Patric Miller
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Wow. I stopped writing. Funny how that goes. I have something to work with in all the entries up to today, but I’m too tired and irritated to think about going in to shape it up. That will be the summer. Literary time moves so slow you might be dead before things pick up. Met Toby Wyatt at Momus Café to discuss strategy to become the English Dept. Chair—a job I don’t want. But Brad is so bad, he’s causing damage to students. And with Molly Sauereisen as language arts coordinator, she’s trying to fuck up the core books we teach. Why do I care? Should I care? I’m busy collecting agent rejections. Here’s one: “I’ve reviewed your submission with Jonathan and I’m sorry to report that we just aren’t wholeheartedly connecting with your work, despite its many charms. So, we should step aside. We truly appreciate the look, though, and we wish you nothing but the best of luck.” Here’s what I think. That book has zero charms. Scary thought: the book I’ve written is not what I think I’ve written. It is a sugary confection. It is charming and fun. At some point the dementia set in but I kept writing, like now. There have been intimations. I’ll type an email, re-read it, and see typos—I mean extreme typos I used to never make. Or I’ll be talking to class about what is due on Friday—to remind them—and they’ll all tell me, “You said Monday!” Friday, Monday, Monday, Shmunday. I wish me best of luck. Today I’m teaching the end of Mrs. Dalloway. I’ve concocted a Party Quiz—if you don’t know the book, it ends with the snob Mrs. Dalloway throwing her party and the Prime Minister shows up, but, you know, so does Death. I think I tell my students Virginia Woolf thought she heard birds singing in Greek. The hallucination one character has seems too familiar to me. Grace says, “Don’t make everything about you.” And I say, “What else do I have?” I know what she means of course. But Septimus sees his friend blown up in WWI; Dad’s buddy died at Iwo Jima. None of those things happened to me. I remember a funeral for a student. The student’s mom stared at me after I looked at her son in the coffin. She wasn’t crying. Her eyes were filled with the black ink of rage.
Adam Patric Miller is the author of A Greater Monster (2014), a collection of essays selected by Phillip Lopate to win the Autumn House Press Nonfiction Prize. He’s won a Pushcart Prize and a Notable Essay Selection in The Best American Essay Series. Miller’s work has appeared in River Styx, The Blue Earth Review, Agni Magazine, and The Florida Review. Miller writes and teaches in St. Louis, Missouri. Twitter: @patric_adam