Last week I had the chance to jet off to Detroit where I headed over to Ypsilanti to do an event at my alma mater EMU. I haven’t been back since I graduated.
When I left EMU, I left academia for good, I believed. I’d thought to get a masters in Women’s Studies. I’d been offered the chance but ultimately I turned it down. I had a lot of ideas back then. It had taken me a good six years to get out of undergrad with a year off and I kind of knew I was done with all that. I was on the white hot heels of a (soon to be failed) romance and I was heading out to Santa Fe for a Big Adventure. When it didn’t work out, I headed to New York City. I barely had the chance to look back.
When my book published I reached out to EMU and it was ultimately Marty Schictman who invited me to come and speak on behalf of the Jewish Studies department he heads up there. If Marty invites you anywhere, go. I was treated so well, I didn’t want to come home. And that’s saying a lot when we are talking the middle of Michigan in February. We had two dinners and a lunch and I met many EMU professors and felt like a proper grown up, rather than a geeky and awkward student that I’d been. I think at one point I used the word “healing” to describe my experience, but that might have been the two glasses of prosecco I had along with half a dozen oysters in a lovely restaurant in Plymouth called The Sardine Room. But it was healing. Immensely so.
I loved the students at EMU. They were inquisitive and smart and asked good questions. One student asked me what I got out of going and talking about my book and I got a little choked up and said something like, it is an honor and a privilege to talk to people about my work. I could see myself in them. I watched one student discussing work options with Professor John Staunton whose lit class I visited. He was taking class two days a week and working full eight hour days the other three. I could relate to the hustle.
It was a cold and snowy few days and as an added bonus I watched two movies in one night at the State Theater: The Favourite and Cold War. So different. Both excellent. Perhaps not flawless but excellent. Especially Cold War.
Sometimes in fact you can go home again