October 31, 2020:
I'm told by third parties that the Dean of Students rates my story in this month's Forum the best undergraduate fiction he's ever seen.
I'm... Well I mean... That's nice of him.
He's a kind man, very bright, young enough to try-but-fail to communicate with students on their level. The disconnect is less age than culture. He's Mormon, monogamous, abstemious; we're exploring our world and each other and the meaning of it all, and most especially the locations of the various boundaries society wants to impose. So while he's monogamous and abstemious the students are sleeping with everyone in sight, including half the faculty. They're frequently stoned, quite often drunk, and I've got an underage townie girlfriend who sleeps with me in the dorm. Different worlds.
I like him though, and because my friend has a crush on his beautiful wife we invite the two of them to dinner one evening at the San Gregorio Lodge, at the time one of the best restaurants within driving. Our treat. I pay my half with profits from illegal amphetamine sales but the Mormon Dean of Students doesn't need to know that. We do ask him to drive. Neither of us undergrads has a car.
So he thinks my story is the best ever. Huh.
I dunno. I mean... you know. I think it's okay. I mean, I published it and everything. But the hyperbole seems out of place. Truthfully I feel it's an ordinary Modernist bit of subjective narrator, and, while it's only my first year and I don't yet have that Modernism concept stockpiled in my theoretical lockbox, I feel my self-judgment is reasonable. I mean... seriously. The best... ever... by anyone... anywhere?
I conclude it's not worth puzzling over. I'm either much better than I think I am, or I have absurdly high self-standards, or the Dean of Students hasn't previously encountered that much undergraduate fiction. Could be any of those.