A Quest

The simple task of finding my college transcripts became an overwhelming quest. One of the gifts of my life is that I have an entire writing room for myself. It is also my curse. Seven very full bookcases line the walls; a portable file stand sits beside my desk; it, too, is full; two folding tables sit in front of the portable file stand, and creep across the edge of one bookcase; both are stacked with books and papers, mostly the research I’ll need to do if I ever get around to writing the Kansas Chronicles and the notebooks and files for the Mexico book if I can ever get around to writing it; a glass-topped table sits beside my matching metal and glass-topped desk, where I have the laptop and a lamp and a microphone for the times when I teach online classes, and is covered in Post-it notes, a dish with paper clips, a flashlight (and you ask why I need a flashlight if I have a lamp on my desk? good question); other piles of papers relating to who knows what, miscellaneous mostly, sit under and in front of the desk lamp.

I have too many saved words.

I found one of my college transcripts, but not the other. Why couldn’t I have stored them together? One wonders.

One of the books on the folding tables of Kansas research is named It Happened Here. Does it ever. Nominally, the very thick book is a history of Marshall County, with photos, by a woman who was, no doubt, as obsessed as I am. Marshall County is where the farm lives.

Speaking of which, the farm that is, I still need to find someone with a bobcat and a tree cutter in the front to go over the tallgrass and cut out volunteer trees so we can burn the prairie in the spring or I’ll lose the contract for conservation the farm has been in for the past forty years. Oh, yes, and do farm taxes before my sister, who lives on Maui, writes and says she is ready to take their taxes to an accountant and needs her copy of the farm taxes. Now.

I have at least six professions, if you count farm manager, which I count because it requires attention and all our widespread family is somewhere else. Along with the portable files here in the writing room, there are four file drawers in two cabinets in the “office” our name for what would be in a normal family, the baby’s room. We do not have a baby, we have file cabinets, which hold up a plywood desk top which I first sanded and varnished and set upon said file cabinets when first I moved to Santa Fe in 1992. And bookcases. There’s two in there, too.

Is it any wonder I write memoir?

I still don’t know where my graduate school transcripts are; I’ve thrown out some papers, thankfully, and tomorrow I will call St. John’s and ask them to send me a copy. You see, I miss teaching, and for some degenerate reason, I’ve decided to apply to UMKC as an adjunct in the Arts and Science department, a job whose requirement is that the applicants have some background in international peoples and countries, which I do. One of the things I do is teach pronunciation, and have, since I lived in Mexico, but if I get off on that story, well….that would require the story of Pepe Lobo (American name Joe Wolf), manager of the travel office where I worked, and who went to Mexico after the revolution when pesos were pure silver as big as…and he’d demonstrate with middle finger and thumb a circle about 2 inches in diameter, and stayed, and who said, one day, “I didn’t hire you for your typing skills; I hired you for your looks.”

But as I said, that’s an entirely other story, the Mexico book, which God willing and the creeks don’t rise, as my farm grandpa used to say, and I don’t die, I will, eventually, write.

And then maybe I can throw away some papers.

The end.


14 thoughts on “A Quest

  1. Never ever throw papers away. They will come back and haunt you.
    (Waiting for the Mexico book)
    Happy women’s day Janet.
    (Though why it should be limited to a day is beyond me)

    1. You’re very kind, Brian. Thank you. That’s what my husband said. You two would probably like each other, too. He teaches philosophy and loves to travel.
      I have scruplously gone through the paper stacks and managed to fill a paper bag half full, organizing as I go with file folders, so now I have stacked file folders. Lol. But at least reasonable. I also tossed a plenitude of scattered Post-it notes after filing them in Trello. I have been a good girl…..

      1. Attagirl!
        He teaches philosophy? Oh. We need to meet. (I’m reading Russell’s History of Western philosophy. Love it)
        Buen fin de semana, amiga.

      2. Just read The first part of Waking up in Mexico. Enticing and well-written. (Just one editing note: it’s buenAs tardes, with an A, not an O) 😉
        Happy week-end

  2. Paper paper every where … sounds familiar 🙂 Recently though I figured that – apart from personal papers/legal stuff and some really interesting articles – the other ‘stuff’ is more easily accessed online that wading through files. So I started sifting and sorting. Voila – just after Christmas I disposed of 50 kgs. of neatly bundled paper to the re-cylers The princely sum of Rs. 650 they gave me is one of the most rewarding earnings – I did it for Mother Earth 🙂 🙂
    Your post was a really ‘Goodread’ :0 fascinating snippets of JS. Not too sure tho about the Bob cat and burning for conservation? Can you write something or that or fill me in ? How does a conservation contract work ?

    Cheers to your Quest …

    1. Thanks, Rose, and congratulations on dumping so much paper. Unfortunately, so much of mine is stuff I’ve written, or researched for something I will, eventually, write (we hope!). But it is a tossing time, that’s for sure. Hope you saw the essay I posted, “On Fire and Family,” which I posted because of your prompt. Hope you like it. A bobcat, by the way, is a stubby, tough tractor that one can attach different implements to, like a shovel or in my case, a heavy-duty snipper to cut said small trees growing in tallgrass.

      1. Back on WP after some time. Will surely look up your post. You know I love to visit 🙂
        My question on the bobcat was really about what seemed a paradox – ‘burning for conservation’? Was wondering why you had to burn to keep the contract ? … and also what does the contract for conservation require you to do? Or is that in the post … going there now 🙂 .

    1. Thanks, Allan. if you could see my piles of stuff, you might agree it’s a skill I lack too! I’m more interested in tossing than filing, but alas, that seems an iffy project.

  3. You have a wealth of resources and the inspiration for making something out of them. Go for it! I have a few boxes of stuff that I want my children to have to create memories after I’m gone. As for me I’m grateful for the small things around me that I can express in seventeen syllables.

  4. I have many too may papers as well, Janet, and too much other “stuff” as well, although I am trying to pare back. I make progress, then other things have to be done and I don’t get started for some time again.


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