Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Camille Paglia in Chicago

I saw her last night at a book signing in the Harold Washington Library. I first read Paglia in 1993 while skiing my brains out and working as a waitor in one of the ski resorts of Winter Park, Colorado. That winter was a template for my adult life since: filling every day with intense physical and mental exercise. Work, ski, read, repeat!

You can hear Paglia speak online at NPR.

There's a lot already said about Paglia, and she's not short of words to describe herself either. So I'll just relate this personal anecdote. Seeing her on stage, she unexpectedly reminded me of someone from my past, one of my mother's best friends of 30 years, and one of my first professors in college, Dr. Joan Ferrell. A forcefully creative woman and a raucous feminist in the farm and coal towns of Southern Illinois, Joan had wit and intelligence that she matched with an outspoken demeanor - very energetic - and theatrically expressive.

I'm glad I saw Paglia last night, and I'm glad to have been reminded that I know first hand that my small town had its great people.


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