Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I have a soft spot for Wordworth's poem the Idiot Boy. That's where my blog ultimately finds it name. In a roundabout way to be sure. Early in my graduate school career I wrote a paper on Wordsworth's poem that I liked a lot--and it was pleasant that my professor liked it too. That paper ended up getting me into a surprising amount of trouble. I chose to read the paper at a professional conference in a Wordsworth session rather than another paper I had written on a woman writer named Ivy Compton-Burnett in a session on feminist writing. That decision was read as anti-woman by some of my graduate school peers, and that was the beginning of my own private version of culture wars. I felt my reading of Wordsworth was as critically sophisticated and as "feminist" as my reading of the woman writer. But of course that opens up a whole other story. Just another lesson in how easy it is to end up on the outside.

A good part of why the term and the poem has such deep meaning to me, why it was the sentimental favorite in my choice that fall, has to do with my own "Idiot Girl," my last daughter. She is now in her early twenties and still understands the world much as she did when she was one or two. She just came to visit me for the week--so this is in celebration of my own beloved Idiot Girl in Seattle.

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