It’s an early spring, and I have a few events planned to continue the celebration of Underwater Panther. Tomorrow, March 8, takes me to the ArkaText Literary Festival, hosted by the University of Central Arkansas Department of Writing, with a craft talk from 11-11:50 a.m. and a reading from 1:40-2:30 p.m.
These past months have been the hardest in my life. To say that my father is dying sounds too simple for what is happening. What makes it harder to explain is that while this time is painful, it has also been rich, when the simplest acts of kindness are realized as the gifts that they have always been, and the love of friends and family evolves and deepens.
To share Underwater Panther in this hard time sometimes makes me feel upset. It isn’t fair that I don’t get to enjoy my dream coming true. Instead I’m mourning that my father doesn’t know me anymore, just when I thought I’d finally figured it all out. Nothing makes much sense anymore, and a book really doesn’t seem to matter. But as I look back through the book, I remember what the underwater panther means: change and disorder, a junction between one world and another. Of course that threshold is a hard one.
To be able to be part of a festival that celebrates the heart and art of writing is a wonderful gift, and I appreciate my friend Sandy Longhorn and everyone at UCA for welcoming me there.