2010 Australian Open: The first time I saw Roger Federer in person.

Talk about your stories and your books — it’s an old fashioned Merry Christmas here in Carter Library.  This morning, Lyra pointed me towards a David Foster Wallace essay on Roger Federer.  I believe her instructions were, “you must stop what you’re doing and read it right now.”  I did.  She was right.  Check out this little blurb:

“Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.  The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.”

Reading it also made me miss DFW.  What a loss.  I could never get going with his fiction, but his essays were (are) a treat.  His collection, CONSIDER THE LOBSTER, remains my favorite book of essays (anybody’s essays).

Then the mail came with its usual bills and junk, but also –finally — with Alexandra Styron’s READING MY FATHER.  I’ve been watching the mailbox like a school kid for 5 days wondering where is it.  I have a friend coming into town this afternoon and she’s staying with us through Thursday, so I doubt I’ll get much reading done, but I’ll be looking forward to the few pages I can sneak in each night before sleep zaps me.

And if that wasn’t enough, the special mail delivery flung a big brown box onto the steps with some first editions we’d ordered, including gifts for a few of my favorite professors.  I can’t wait to drop those off next week at the university, the best thank you’s I could think of for those few who made my grad school experience fun.  The fact remains:  there’s nothing quite like having teachers who love to teach.  Thank you Sam, Bob, and John — I already miss you and your classes.

Merry Christmas everybody …

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