Jan 03

Am I Blue? 1.1

Blue tennis shoes against a brick sidewalk
“Blue shoes” Image by author.

I’m teaching a new class. It’s on blue, as in the color. This idea was born in a Canadian taxi on the way to the airport one very early morning in June 2018. I’m not entirely clear where it came from–I guess you might say it’s a bolt from the blue? It started with Maggie Nelson’s incandescent Bluets, a book that took and continues to take my breath away. From there it spiraled outward: Toni Morrison and James Baldwin; Wallace Stevens and Pablo Picasso; W. B. Yeats and Philip Larkin. Krzysztof Kieslowski. Hannah Gadsby. . . .

When I got to the airport, it was still stupid o’clock early. So early that the security lines were not open yet, so I did what any academic with an idea knocking around her brain would do: I pulled out my book and started to write it down and brainstorm. I don’t always yield to the impulse, but I’m glad that I did this time around because otherwise, the idea might have slipped back into the ether from which it came. . . instead it stayed with me.

A few weeks later, I started pitching. I’d been looking for a new course for our January intercession, and this blue idea might just work. The first version of this was a bit hesitant: “This is either really great idea or a really bad idea . . .” and to be completely honest, I’m still not entirely sure. . . but here we are six months later.

A funny thing has happened over the interim: blue things have started coming out of the woodwork.

Today's snippet:               In this dynamic, I'm surrounded.
                                             The rushing juice is subsided by my observations
                                                        of matching socks.
                                             You got blue shoes.
                                             I got blue shoes. . .
                                             You don't really want this.
            
                                            You chase excitement, but it doesn't mean that much
                                            And in eliminating some regrets, you create others.

                                                     "F. A. B. (The Flattery of A. Brockton)"


That’s a song lyric from a band out of Nashville called Love Circle Logic. I did some low level promotions for them in the mid-1990s in grad school. I sometimes wonder what happened to those guys. They were crazy talented but also really nice. I was just some girl who hung up their posters and came to the shows at one of the bars in town. It was a time when I was kind of lost. In eliminating some regrets, you create others. In any case, this song has stayed with me. You got blue shoes. I got blue shoes. We are all birds.

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