Afterglow (or is it sleep deprivation?)

Well, the 21st Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium has come and gone. Each author’s reading was great, and my only regret was that I couldn’t be two people: one listening calmly and hanging on every word and another who could run after batteries for the failing sound system (we did get it replaced, thanks to Mack who came in on the weekend to rescue us!), pick up the picnic lunch (we had a beautiful day for this and a great time with a group of alumnae who stopped by), take credit card receipts to the comptroller, deliver the Dilettanti/Ephemera/Oh Lady! Retrospective, and take care of all the other little details that invariably come up during an event like this.

Now it’s time to get back to reality and catch up on sleep and grading. Yesterday I counted the cash from the book table; this morning, I’ll go in and count the books. There’s always plenty to do after the fact. But a little of the magic remains in the memories of the weekend and the comments people send.

My favorite times, besides the moments during the readings when I wasn’t thinking about the next thing that had to be done, were the meals — not just because of the food, but because they gave me a chance to relax a little and converse. Taking Becky Gould Gibson to the Kountry Kitchen was great, and we both enjoyed and want to replicate the squash dressing we had. Lunch at the Back Door was great as always, and we had a relaxing hour at Dr. Limbert’s house before going to a really excellent series of one act plays put on by MUW’s Theatre department (which will be in full production this weekend — don’t miss it, if you’re in the Columbus area). The picnic was grand, and would have been more relaxing if the local TV news hadn’t shown up and wanted to interview me — for which I am grateful!

Saturday night was really the best for us, since we could finally relax. Dinner at Profitt’s Porch with Becky Gould Gibson, Ken Wells, Jack Riggs, and Tony Earley was lots of fun — great food and a quiet setting. We even saw deer, a fox, and an armadillo on the way to and from the restaurant out in the woods. And then the party back at our house with the authors and a few students and recent alums all gathered around the fire pit on our patio. The weather was just right for a fire and we had a great time.

Now that it’s all over and I can soon start planning for next year (and the Southern Literary Festival this spring), I can also get back to the regular subjects of this blog — poetry, nature, food, travel, etc. — normal life in other words. It will be great to have life get back to normal, but I wouldn’t miss a weekend like this for the world.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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