Email #123: “Distinguished Alumni”

I heard that you were at Washington and Lee University yesterday. A friend messaged me at 5:00 to say that you were in the lobby of the law school for an alumni reception with faculty and students. I considered walking over. Lewis Hall is only a five-minute walk from my house–I used to teach my son how to ride his bike on the lawn–but I didn’t want to be rude. I’m sure you were very busy.

Still, I am surprised that you didn’t take the rare opportunity of your being in Lexington to arrange a meeting with me. Yesterday was the last day of undergrad classes, so I was busy myself, but I’m sure we could have found a few minutes to finally sit down together. You are aware of my multiple meeting requests? Your staff certainly knows that I have been making requests literally every day since December, and I have been assured again and again and again that each has been passed on directly to you.

Happily, I understand that you are going to be in Lexington again next month. I saw that your name is included in the website list of distinguished alumni who RSVPed to attend the law school reunion during Washington and Lee’s Alumni Weekend in May. I assume you will be attending the Class of 1977 celebration at Jim Jones’ house that Saturday. I don’t know Jim, but a close friend of mine works with his wife. I live just off campus, so you will be passing within a block of my own house as you travel to the Jones’ residence.

I would ask you to stop by, but I think my campus office would be even more convenient. The Class of 1977 is holding a reception at 6:00 on Friday in Stemmons Plaza just behind the Colonnade. My office is in the Colonnade, on the second floor of Payne Hall. I’ll be able to see you from my window. My office is tiny—literally the smallest tenure-track faculty office at W&L—but there’s plenty of room for just the two of us to sit and talk. Though if you prefer, I could ask the Provost if we could use his office instead. I’ve known Marc since he was a grad student in the early 90s, and he might enjoy the opportunity to sit down with you too. I would be happy to ask our new president too. Or, if you would enjoy a less formal setting, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee at Hillel House and we can sit outside on the patio.

I certainly don’t want to monopolize your time during the three days of alumni festivities, but I’m sure you could find a few minutes to set aside for a long overdue conversation.

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

One thought on “Email #123: “Distinguished Alumni””

  1. I admire your persistence Chris! Keep it up. I will be anxious to see if May comes and goes and still no meet with Bob…..


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