It was great to see you again today! I was so elated at finding myself in one of your English classes again that I became quite shy in your presence. Instead of spearing the air with words, my tongue glued itself to my teeth. All I could do was smile. It was an honor that you remembered me since it has been over two years since we met.
Yes! You did have an influence on the change I made to my major. I can still see the blank look on your face in the fall of 2002, as all of us adult students sat in a circle around you in your "Finding a Sense of Place" class. When I introduced myself as an accounting major, you were flummoxed; but rightly so, because we had just read our first work aloud in class and mine had nothing to do with numbers or columns or Excel software.
It made no sense to you that I simultaneously "sensed" that my place was mystically cored in the land I live in, and surrealistically connected to accounting. Yet, I was in the financial world for years, so you cannot fault me for assuming I could be a corporate success. I have been in places I don't intend to return to, but every old work experience--from sending sympathy cards to clients whose daughter (later revealed to be a canine daughter) died, to wrestling motorcycles away from loan-defaulted drug dealers--has enriched my life. Thank you for accepting me then, when I was "young," and now, when the knowledge of what I want has ripened in a season of growth.
Now, you will take me on another adventure, this time into the world of Latin American literature. We are going to hear from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sandra Cisnernos, Isabel Allende, Neruda! and selected works from "The Vintage Book of Latin American Stories." Our documentary video about Magical Realism, narrated by Marquez, stabbed me with its poignancy and pain: Macondo, the sweetly pure mystical society destroyed by colonialism, and the contaminating, non-magical reminder that humans are often really cruel idiots.
I hated for our seminar today to end. During an online guided study course, it's the personal interaction with my instructor and other students that I miss. I'm so glad that you have assigned us correlating films to watch and have established your own moodle site as a vehicle for us to communicate on. I'm also glad to meet Allen, a fellow A&H student, because we each knew what the other meant when he said, "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up," and I said, "I'm doing what I want to do now--for the rest of my life."
I will need your guidance with Neruda. Thank you for reading aloud to us from The Essential Neruda and teaching us the flow and nuances of his rhythm. I will be able to hear your voice in my head as I read. I confess I'm poetry-deficient, and need a field guide for understanding why and how poetry does what it does, but I can already hear Neruda's voice, too.
Bringing all of these different literary voices together in one study is going to give us an amazing compendium of Latin myth and its evolution through real and mystical characters.