Time warp

I’m not sure what’s going on with the cosmos, but lately I’ve been caught in some kind of odd time warp. I mentioned that a couple recently recognized me from my old column in the newspaper – one that was abruptly cancelled 9 1/2 years ago but that they thought they’d just read recently.

Turns out that was just the first of five or six times in about 10 days that someone recognized me and said they’d been seeing my work – or that they missed it.

Then at ArtWalk, I ran into a reader who became an acquaintance many years ago after introducing himself to me at Barnes & Noble (as he reminded me).  We ran into each other constantly for years, but I hadn’t seen him in maybe five years until Friday night – and the first thing he said was, “I was just thinking about you,” which was odd enough.

“I was reading the paper the other day and thinking, ‘It’s just not right,'” he went on.


Sunday I pulled out what I thought was an empty manila envelope because I needed something to hold some documents, and it contained clips of a few articles I’d written – very yellowed with time and an absolute surprise.

Not sure what’s up with all that.

For much of my adult life, when I wasn’t working at the statewide newspaper, I taught high school, journalism, desktop publishing, newspaper staff, creative writing and, briefly in the mid-1980s, English. (And I served as girls soccer coach for three years, which was a blast.)

I loved my students, even most of the ones I could hardly stand.

But I always had a special bond with my creative writing students. So that made Sunday even more special.

My current writing gigs are for The Bernice Garden, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival and Esse Purse Museum, all extremely fun things to be involved with and right in our neighborhood.

I’d thought maybe I knew one of our 2013 sculpture contest winners at the garden this year (for the community project sculpture to be named “Wish Locks”) – the name Erika Droke was so familiar that I expected to recognize her when I got to the garden to talk to her and husband John Van Horn and take pictures of people painting locks Sunday during The Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market.

The very cool sculpture

The very cool sculpture “Wish Locks” will be decorated with locks painted by members of the community.

But I didn’t expect her to be one of my creative writing students from the early ’90s, though we recognized each other instantly! Crazy.What an excellent surprise.

John Van Horn and my former student Erika Droke came up with the creative

John Van Horn and my former student Erika Droke came up with the creative “Wish Locks” idea. Yes, I’m very proud!

We had a brief catch-up session and plan to do more. I’m going to take Jude to paint locks one Sunday – he’s quite the artist and we’ll each do one.

Speaking of Jude, in other time weirdness, I was putting something on a high shelf this weekend when I came across a little “Yellow Submarine” Beatles figures set I’d gotten him for Christmas and hidden too well, evidently.

When I mentioned that to Liz yesterday, she said, “Oh, yeah, I was just thinking about that. I wondered what happened to it.” That would be a flash of clairvoyance, according to Judith Orloff, who wrote Second Sight.

This was a perfect time to find it, though, because he started a summer art class at Arkansas Extended Learning Center (owned and run by my friend, Dana Venhaus, unbeknownst to Liz, in another small synchronistic touch) and was feeling shy. I told him I had a surprise for him if he went with an open mind and was brave

He did, he was, and the Yellow Submarine set was his reward.

One last “coincidence (?)” – the other day I had a missed call from a friend I haven’t talked to in ages. Since I’m not a big phone talker, I don’t call back if people don’t leave messages, assuming missed calls are pocket calls. (Unless it’s my kids/son-in-law or my mother.) So I didn’t call back. But I did run into her yesterday at Target.

It was indeed a pocket call, but we had a quick and fun catch up visit in the aisle, and now she wants to read Second Sight, too. Synchronicity at work or coincidence?


Well, I lied. One last last thing. As I was leaving Lakewood in North Little Rock tonight, I had a flashback to the early ’90s when Liz and I were in a guitar shop on JFK Boulevard. She was in junior high and dabbling with guitar, and I was teaching at NLRHS. A young woman who worked at the shop came smiling up to us with her arms extended.

“You was my English teacher!” she said, introducing herself, though I remembered her pretty well. (I still know her first name, which I’ll withhold.)

“Nice work, Mom,” Liz leaned into my ear and said. I had to stifle a laugh.

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