by Amy Turn Sharp Last month, Amanda and I went back to Athens, Ohio. A pilgrimage of sorts. We had not been back to the deep woods together for over a decade. We went to the Ohio University Literary Festival. We were going to meet Terrance Hayes (one of my favorite poets). As soon as we walked into the auditorium, we spotted our old professor. Mark Halliday. The poet. Another favorite of mine. He was the same. Interestingly eccentric,. Nervous, yet commanding. Weird socks. Fidgety.
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I remember storming into his office one day with Amanda. I dragged her like a rag doll toward his big wooden desk.
I beat on his desk and told him about the Young Woman's Rebellion Bible. I was nearly reenacting scenes from Dead Poets Society with my passion. I almost jumped on his desk. I told him how I freaked out when I heard Amanda tell me her ideas about this project we could work on together. I told him everything. I moved about the office like a dancer. I was so young. Amanda giggled and nodded her head. There was music from an old radio in the corner. I think it was Joan Armatrading. Or perhaps I made that up years later. It was a calm office made insane by us. We were often bringing high intensity to calm situations. It was our best practice. He smiled and encouraged us, but it looked like he was also afraid. And looking back, perhaps he was afraid it would not happen. It would loose steam and fall flat. It would make other work suffer. Or he was just amazed by us. I think I was amazed by us.
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We listened to the magic Terrance Hayes read to us. It was amazing and his words purred at us and we all sat on the edge of our seats, poets scribbled in tiny notebooks. We all wished for language mastery. It was perfect. And when we left, I was kinda sad that I did not run up to Halliday and hug him tightly, tell him we are doing it again. That it just took us a long time. To become us. I had daydreams of us ditching our car and heading to our old tavern. But I knew things had changed. I knew there were new rebellions all over the place. I raised my hand and waved at him like a cool kid, and blew him a kiss. All the way home I thought about the fire in my belly that made me dance when I talked about writing. I knew it was back. I could feel my feet moving in the floorboards of Amanda's SUV.
We're curious: Has there been a time when you've amazed yourself?