I thought I'd pull your gender leg.


Tonight's title is tangentially related to my day's biggest event; it's something funny my father said to me as a follow-up to his asking me whether it's proper for me (as a woman) to be called a Fellow, now that (drumroll) I've just found out that I won a fellowship about which I didn't expect to hear anything for a fairly good while. I love that my father knows that, as a literary critic, I have a gender leg. There's much more to say, and a big foundation that I will thank for the rest of my career, but the Cabinet isn't really the venue for it.

For now, look again at my trees' weirdness. These pictures are from last night's monster batch, and they are unretouched:


It's not often that I pose questions to you, but here's one: if you could go anywhere for a year's work, where would it be? I'm not pulling your leg (gender or otherwise) in asking. My life's not a democracy, but I'm gathering ideas.


And now, I tell you, the real maelstrom can start.