waiting for illumination

Getting up at five in the morning is not getting easier.  The idea of waiting for sunrise for 2 1/2 hours seems a little excessive.  But lately that is what I have been doing.  Dennis is working “days” this week, which means we are up and moving around at five.  There are fires to get started, coffee to make, lunches to gather, emails to be checked…not to mention checking the weather and generally making sure every thing starts out without too much drama or crisis.

So this morning I sent Dennis off to work a little after six, and then waited for the sun to rise while watching the traffic updates on the television and checking my emails.  It seemed to take forever for the sun to rise.  There was the moment when I thought the clouds would provide one of those awe inspiring glory of the morning sunrises.  Cotton batting clouds stretched across the sky, a little glimmer of light through the thinner spaces, it seemed all the conditions were right for a grand photograph worthy sunrise.  Nope.  It was just thinning clouds and gray sky turning white.

So, I started gathering information on next term’s class.  I have signed up to study the writings of Terry Tempest Williams, who is going to be the visiting writer at Hamline this spring.  The booklist for the class is long, which I expect given the instructor.  Of the twenty some books (!) I own (and have read) all but seven.  I ordered those this morning.  (Thank you Abe Books)

I am a little leary about this particular class.  I have read TTW and I have always come away from her writing with a slightly sour taste in my mind.  I can’t really say what annoys me about her writing- the opportunistic approach, the disingenuous patronization?  Could be, although, when I think about it all writers are opportunistic, especially those writing non-fiction.  How else do you get the story?  I certainly can’t fault her commitment to her causes.  Maybe it is her writing, slightly cloying, sticky sweet, gooey.  I don’t know, and so I guess this class on her and her writing will be very telling.

I am hoping to approach the class with an open mind.  I’m curious about Williams style of writing, I am interested in her topics, and I wonder whether I can appreciate a person’s writing without necessarily liking the person.  That’s a lot to consider in one class, so I am getting a jump start on it with a little research.  Actually its starting to feel like I am working on a dossier.  I am hoping I will find something that intrigues me, something that will change my mind.  I am looking for that essay, passage, thought that shines a light on Williams’ beliefs and convictions.  After all, the sun rises every day and there is always a chance for a breakthrough.