Jack Finney is best known for such such science fiction/fantasy classics as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Time and Again. But my favorite Finney work is "I Love Galesburg in the Springtime," a short story in a collection of the same name. Finney was an alumnus of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, which has produced a number of notable writers. (Carl Sandburg, Galesburg's most famous writer, went to Lombard College, which later was absorbed into Knox). And I'm convinced that a new Knox alumna will join the ranks of those notable writers.
I'll be going to Galesburg with my family this weekend to attend my daughter Sarah's graduation. Bill Clinton will give the commencement address, so I don't expect to be bored. The ceremony will take place outside Old Main, where Lincoln and Douglas debated in 1858.
Sarah plans to combine poetry and fiction with environmental activism. Many of her poems are about endangered species. Here's an example:
Perhaps, to be seen, you never wanted.
World’s rarest rabbit,
Remote mountain mammal,
News of you came only from dry fossils
And fragments of bone extracted
From owl pellets. Proof you were out there
And being eaten.
Only twice in eighty-two years
Have we seen you.
Your striped black fur the right disguise to blend in
With cool wet roots
By night only you forage the forest floor
By day you are invisible.
The local people say
They do not know you.
Perhaps your secret is theirs too,
And they pass you a knowing glance
As the scientists walk away.
-Sarah Jane Wylder
Sarah will be going to the University of Maryland later this summer to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.