I’m recently back from teaching in beautiful and warm Squaw Valley. I was lucky to be invited to participate in the Community of Writers where I led workshops, listened to terrific and insightful panels and talks, learned and laughed with a lot of talented smarties. My students put up manuscripts with stakes, heart, humor and pain. Yup. Pain at the center. Pain, the common denominator. Pain, the unifier. They read each other’s pages with generosity and careful intensity. There’s a beautiful alchemy that occurs when twelve people sit around a table, talking about writing, sharing their inner lives. Everyone has the right to be a little nervous. Everyone has the right to wonder. Everyone has the right to be heard. Everyone has the right to use their voice, their humor, details from their world that crack open the doors to all our resilient hearts.
A value add from being with so many writers? A new to be read list:
Some quotes from the week:
“Laughter is a carbonated form of holiness.” –Anne Lamott
“Make them laugh and break their fucking hearts.” –Matt Sumell
“Reading is experiential. The writing shouldn’t have to write toward a point.” –Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
“Where is the juice? How much pressure did you put on the character to illicit vitality and emotion?” –Elizabeth Tallent
“Perfection sucks.” –Elizabeth Tallent
“Weather is not a decoration. Your story must earn the weather.” –Ron Carlson
“Write towards the moment you can no longer touch bottom.” –Ron Carlson
I’m grateful to have participated and happy that it’s nearly autumn and I’ll be sitting around more tables with more writers.
happy writing, happy reading!