Pumpkins and Literature

Any day that ends with the carving of pumpkins is just fine by me. I’m a little tired after this busy weekend, and I expect I’ll sleep in tomorrow, but I’m pretty happy with the way it has all turned out. The party yesterday was fun. Today I got to go to a literary conference sponsored by PEN New England and put together by one of my former mentors, and that was inspiring. And then tonight, after dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, me and a couple of friends sat down and carved pumpkins while watching the World Series.

Stef left early to head up to Maine for the day. I took off soon thereafter, heading for brunch in Cambridge. I was really early but Sara came along shortly after I did and we stood out in the cold outside Andy’s Diner in Porter Square and caught up. Shera and Jill came along shortly after that and we did the whole brunch thing and it was nice. Andy’s has pretty good French toast.

We took the T to Kendall and walked from there to the Hotel Marlowe, where the conference was to be held. Inside we got to catch up with Michael Lowenthal, one of our favorite advisors from the Lesley program, who helped put the whole conference together. And then we went off to our individual workshops. I got sent to the wrong room at first, but then I got to hear an interesting lecture on research in fiction given by Elizabeth Graver (Unravelling, The Honey Thief).

A panel discussion followed featuring Lorrie Moore, who wrote one of my favorite short story collections called Birds of America. Sara made the observation that it was the first one of these literary panels that we’ve been to that didn’t, at some point, degrade into a depressing "Why would anyone want to be a writer?" conversation. We got Lorrie Moore to sign copies of our books afterward.

Sara, Jill, Shera, and I walked next door to the Cambridgeside Galleria for dinner, picking CPK because Shera and Jill had never been before. It was good, though I wish I could just order a pepporoni pizza when I want one, instead of feeling like I have to order something special because it’s a fancier pizza joint.

Jill, Shera, and I ended up carving pumpkins over at Jill’s after that. I hadn’t carved a pumpkin in ages, Jill never had, and Shera was, like, an expert. It was really intimidating.

Okay, I’m just kidding. But, she did seem to have a knack for it that neither Jill nor I did. I carved the Little Bastad. Jill tried to carve a vampire. She’d carved out the fangs and I thought they kind of looked like nostrils and that was the cause of much laughter. We baked the seeds and ate some as well. They were tasty. I’d never done that before.

In between the seventh and eighth innings of the World Series Game 2, I had Jill drop me off at the train station so I could avoid any potential traffic coming out of Boston after the game. I said my goodbyes, still a little in shock that my friend from Missouri was all the way out here for the weekend, and then I came home.

Stef’s not back yet. I’m a little lonely. I think I’m going to watch SportsCenter to take my mind off of it. After all, the sounds of good Sox and Pats highlights should be a pretty good lullabye, right?