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September 30th 2010 - Scott Garson

This year, both of our babies are going to school, third-grade and kindergarten. We’re up early, packing lunches and such, trying to keep to our schedule. If I drive—let’s say that I do—I pull to the curb across the street from the school, which is quicker than having to wait in the idling line in the circular drive. But there is a downside: my kids have to cross with the guard, then move through the crowds of grown-ups and kids and find their way into the school. It’s not hard. Everybody’s going to school. But I watch them—my daughter, Naomi, holding the hand of our five-year old, Levin. I lean and try to keep them in sight until they have passed through the doors.

Then I drive home.

I’m not in the classroom today. I’m grading first versions of essays.

Remember that night you were already in bed

Said fuck it, got up to drink with me instead

—Japandroids, “Younger Us” 7-inch

(released on July 7th)

We’re new at our university. New in this state, new in this life. By objective measures, we’re doing all right. My limited-edition collection of fictions, American Gymnopédies, came out in May; B’s full-length ethnography, Removing Mountains, came out a month ago. We’re, like, productive. Still, we’re never relaxed. We feel not calm or efficient enough, not smooth, not gathered. Not something.

We try not to give ourselves too hard a time for taking a loan and buying a hot tub and sneaking out there sometimes, even on school nights, with glasses of wine.

We’re not joking, just joking, we are joking, just joking, we’re not joking

—Das Racist, “hahahaha jk?”

(released on September 14th)

At 3:28, I get a message from a fellow editor. The journal I edit, Wigleaf, is holding an off-site reading at the Associated Writing Programs conference in Washington D.C. in February. The fellow editor writes that we should be listed on the bookfair page soon, and a third editor responds, “Cool, man.”

My relationship with these guys, though we haven’t yet met, is stronger, by far, than my relationship with anyone at work, in the English Department. That’s because I’m new, and because I’m non-tenure-track. I teach four sections of Composition in five hours, with a break in between for lunch. Usually, I go to McDonalds, which in that year has a location on campus, a crowded place where I will call out two older white women for racist birther talk before the 2012 election, and which I will stop frequenting soon after, when I realize how unfit I’ve become since leaving California.

What is it that you want to see?

I gotta go

It’s in a trillion pie-ces

—No Age, “Fever Dreaming”

(released two days ago, September 28th)

We drove when we left the west coast for Missouri. I didn’t say, to B. or anyone else, some things I think I was thinking: how this was a border. This was a border crossing. We would be full-on adults in the Midwest. We would be doing real life.

And were we?

Did adults ponder Lady Gaga’s appearance at the VMA’s in a meat dress a couple of weeks ago? Did adults spend time gathering new releases from mp3 blogs?

Kids just let go

I don’t know what I’m saying

Don’t know what I’m saying

Don’t know what I’m saying

Don’t know what I’m saying

—Blair, “Hello Halo”

(released on January 26th)

There is so much we don’t know. We don’t know if B. will get tenure. We don’t know that my brother has heart disease. We don’t know who our kids will be, or what’s flying their way from the future.

One thing we do know, or sense, anyway: we’re in a not bad part of life. We’ve got these two kids. And they’re—I mean, wonderful. We read with them, hold them, talk with them. Maybe we fail in all sorts of ways, but we are okay enough to be wide, to be there for the routine joys.


Scott Garson is the author of IS THAT YOU, JOHN WAYNE?—a collection of stories. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.

He encourages you to check out College Bound out of St. Louis, Missouri.


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