16 May 2010


Visited a high-school classmate who was staying at the Atlantic Center for the Arts this past week, located on the East Coast of Florida at Smyrna Beach.  Hadn't seen him in about 27 years, when we were both at Indiana University, which was a long way from Idaho for both of us.  We had lost touch of one another about a year after graduating from high school, and I went to I.U. for my MFA.  My second year there, I moved into a quad-plex, and my friend was living in another apartment in the same building.  So that was a pretty big coincidence.  But again, I lost touch with him after I moved out, and he graduated from I.U. and moved west to California.

So we shared stories about our lives, talked a little about our own ambivalences growing up in Boise, politics, and writers.  In his room in the closet were signatures of past residents, including Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Carolyn Forche, Anthony Hecht, Quincy Troupe, Mary Jo Salter (those were just some of the poets). 

Anyway, the ACA campus is wonderful, with smartly designed studios and workshops, all in a very familiar (at least to me) estuary/hammock setting, meaning sabal palms, saw palmetto, slash pine, live oak, mahagony trees, lots of Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers.  And Smyrna Beach, about a five minute drive away, as little of it I did see, is one of those charming, slightly run-down Florida beach towns--yes, always, pockmarked with high-rise condos, but not overrun, at least from a visitor's perspective. 

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