July 23, 2014

From Gerald R. Lucas
A rainbow over the university.

I haven’t been very good at keeping up my blog throughout my time as a practicing Norman Mailer Fellow. Posting each day didn’t strike me to be that ambitious, but daily life here in Salt Lake City has me bustling like an undergraduate on his first day of class.

I have been truly inspired by the people I’ve met here, especially those in my non-fiction workshop. I feel humbled to read such talented work, even in the draft stages that I see. It makes me feel as if I should be doing much more creative work, yet, I always seem to be thinking and writing like an academic. My project is creative in its own way, but it’s an idea rather than the writing that I emphasize. The art of simple storytelling makes my colleagues’ work so great. The beauty of the prose is what their work is all about.

Not only are these folks creative, but they have each experienced life in their own unique ways. One witnessed and lived through the Gujarat riots of 2002; one worked as a journalist in Moscow and travelled to central Asia’s disappearing Aral sea; and one left the US with her family to live and work in a remote village in Equador for several years. And they all have the talents to write about their experiences. My project seems insignificant next to these. I’m honored to have heard their stories and to have met unique people.

I have received some excellent feedback for my project — a project I’ll be more forthcoming about soon. With a bit more work, I should have a solid final document to present to the Mailer Society this fall. Then, the real work begins. I have a lot to learn before I can actually begin what I propose.

Today is the half-way mark. I have enjoyed Salt Lake, especially the university’s proximity to mountain trails. It takes a Herculean effort not to put the running shoes on every morning and climb up a cliff. My left heel has been giving me issues as it is. Couple my extra running with all of the walking, and I should be in even better shape by the time I return to Georgia.

Finally, and most importantly, being away from Autumn reminds me of the central role she plays in my life. Her love, support, and encouragement are what make experiences like this possible for me. And while I wish she were here to share Utah with me, the very fact that she is not testifies to her love and solidifies my devotion to her. I’m a lucky guy, as my friends and family all remind me. Often.

This lengthy post should make up for the days I’ve missed. If nothing else, I have been keeping up with my Instagram posts. There’s still more to do.