Yesterday’s papermaking with Susanne was great. I did almost all of it – except for a few details of operating the beater and she dried the paper for me in her paper dryer after I left. She says that she will give me a small dryer and a paper press because she is excited that I’m serious about it and wants to set me up. Woo hoo!

She’s talking about teaching me a LOT – two semesters of independent study work that includes a lot of papermaking and we both want to work through the Keith Smith series of bookbinding books. She says that my books deserve handmade paper and she’s right. She has finally convinced my inner child that she likes me and wants me around, and that is a real accomplishment in itself. I have found an art mentor and I am well pleased.

This afternoon she dropped the paper by. It is thin, strong, crisp, and beautiful.

The only fly in this ointment is that my back really hurt by the time I stopped yesterday. I’ve been doing back strengthening exercises and yoga positions every morning for several weeks but standing in one spot and leaning slightly is the worst thing for my back. I don’t think that it was just the papermaking because I’ve done a lot of standing at the kitchen sink preparing and washing and freezing stuff for the past week, but I know from experience that over an hour of papermaking does a number on my lower back. I may need to sign up for yoga again. I’d really like to find a way to push through this problem. Ibuprofen and a heating pad were my friends last night, and took care of it in a couple of hours.

Tonight I’m making tomato sauce. I didn’t have quite enough Romas and San Marzanos so I threw in a couple of Green Zebras and a bunch of cherry tomatoes. The sweet onions are from the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market and the garlic and basil are my own. The olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper were from my local co-op, Deep Roots. I tossed in a few red pepper flakes, origin probably from Harris Teeter. They’ve been on the shelf forever!

Tomorrow, the deluge of new graduate students for advising. I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to have this great job. I help people fulfill their dreams, and for those who don’t, they at least got the chance to see if it was the right direction for them. That’s the way I see my first BA in Drama. I may have sucked at it, but at least I won’t lie on my deathbed wondering if I had only tried what might have been…

Book on beside table: Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.