News for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

Last thoughts on Goddard

As I put the snow and icicles of Goddard behind me for another semester, I was thinking about the question of whether one can teach writing. I don’t know if we taught it, or whether we simply lived it, all together, for the last eight days. I come home filled by my colleagues who have been writing in the world: Kyle Bass who put together the beautiful Cry for Peace with Ping Chong, drawing on the lives of refugees from the Congo; Susan Kim who has been collaborating on a dystopian young adult series and working with caretakers and medical staff who are supporting our veterans; Kenny Fries, poet/memoirist who wrote an opera this year; John McManus, whose novel-in-progress about gay refugees in Uganda just received a Creative Capital grant…etc., etc. fourteen times for the fourteen faculty who shared the residency with me.

I have also carried with me the work of my students, their questions, their struggles, their imagination, the high bar they set for themselves.  This semester, I asked the graduates for their graduation speeches (at Goddard, every graduate give his or her own speech).  These few snippets will show you why I love Goddard and what makes it special:

They said,       “This has been an incredible journey.”

They said,       “This means the world to me.”

They said,       “We are leaving our incredible faculty, brilliant talents themselves, who truly care about the likes of us, who utilize equal parts love and cattle prod…but we’re taking each other.”

They said,       “This place is magic.”

If there was a slogan I could put in an ad for Goddard it would be this:

“This place is magic.”

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Seeing

We walked in the woods at Goddard, looking for a cliff to look out over, and we found different way to see – through Bhanu’s cracked, taped phone.  What she says, on her own blog (click the picture), is this:

I know that it is important to veer, and keep veering, until you reach an interior that does not correspond to the imagination.

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Posted: January 11th, 2013
Categories: Goddard, Random Thoughts, The Writing Life
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The daily icicle

From Goddard, where today Susan Kim, Kyle Bass and I will be talking about the writer in the world, then I will be moving on to a session on emotional structure.

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Posted: January 8th, 2013
Categories: Goddard, Random Thoughts, The Writing Life
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Good morning from Goddard

Where we are talking about death and time and the body and trauma and love and witness and healing…and writing, always writing.

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Posted: January 6th, 2013
Categories: Goddard, Random Thoughts, The Writing Life
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Why we write

Last week, at a conference on young adult literature, key note speaker Beth Kephart (multi-award winning writer of fourteen books and more on the way), argued for the “radical significance” of stories in our new, “Sandy-Irene-Katrina world…of fiscal cliffs and residual recessions.”  She asked:

“We are a globe on the verge, I’m saying, and because we are, mere entertainment for mere entertainment’s sake — for mere (forgive me) profit — strikes me as an increasingly unviable platform. Literature as easy distraction, literature as untempered horror, literature as gossip, literature as desolation, literature as isolation, literature as sensationalism, literature that leaves us stooped, numb, incinerated, angry, distracted, glassy-eyed, New Jersey Shored (and I am referring the show), and emotionally paralyzed: Do we honestly have time for this now?”

What do we have time for, and how will we spend that time so we might find a better future, not yet written?  This is an essential question, not just for young people but for all people whether we are writing stories or writing our lives.

For Beth’s entire speech, Lamp Lighters and Seed Sowers: Tomorrow’s YA, click on the link.

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Posted: December 3rd, 2012
Categories: Random Thoughts, The Writing Life
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GO: A Community Curated Open Studio Project

 

Come to Sunset Park!

On September 8 & 9, the New York Art Residency & Studios (NARS) Foundation is teaming up with the Brooklyn Museum’s GO Project, a community-curated open studio weekend event taking place in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn. There are over 50 artist studios to visit at NARS. Come check out one of Brooklyn’s most vibrant art scenes and VOTE for your favorite artists! Visit the GO website for more information: www.gobrooklynart.org

On Saturday, September 8th from 2- 4 PM, we will be celebrating the Go Project with an afternoon of special events.  Join us for readers Ed Lin, Anelise Chen and Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, as well as a spoken word performance by Buendia, a local grassroots Sunset Park artists collective.

Visitors can also enjoy drinks from a set of exhibited ceramic clay vessels by Ming Yuen-Schat, and participate in a clay workshop for children and families with Veronica Frenning – both artists whose work appears in our newest exhibition, Interpreting Rituals: The Butterfly Effect.  This exhibit, part of the five-borough Locating the Sacred Festival organized by the Asian American Arts Alliance, is an exploration of what is sacred in our contemporary society.


For further information,
please contact  info@narsfoundation.org or 718-768-2765.

NARS Foundation

(To get to NARS by subway take the D, N, R to 36th St and walk one block west.)
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Posted: August 26th, 2012
Categories: Random Thoughts
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To write or to have written?

In truth, I skim uplifting forwards in my email, and only if I have time.  But today, one of the messages resonated and I want to share a piece of advice:

Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

I so love the idea that the past we are longing for was ignored when it was the present!

I am finishing up my semester with my Goddard students.  As we look back on what we have written, and face a future of ripping that apart and rewriting, it can be exhausting and scary to think of the work ahead; how much easier it would be to be able to rest on what is already done!  This takes the form of what I call page conservation, and editing (moving those blocks of text you like around with your handy computer!) instead of re-envisioning. I have a book now that needs re-envisioning, even though I have re-envisioned it several times.  Yes, it would be lovely if my readers could just see it the way I would like it to be seen now.  But since they cannot read my mind, only my pages, the reality is this:  If I don’t rewrite, if I am not writing, then what am I?  Not a writer. Just a woman who is putting her books in a box and taking them out again.

 

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Posted: May 18th, 2012
Categories: Random Thoughts, The Writing Life
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Happy Mothers’ Day

It’s been so long since I wrote on this blog that I forgot my password.

I have been moving – renovating, painting, packing, buying light fixtures and crown mouldings.  But in the midst of this all, a beautiful bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers and a lovely walk in the park that is now two blocks from the house with my two young men who brought the flowers (tropical!) and the chocolate.

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Posted: May 13th, 2012
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Free in the New Year

What if there was no penalty for being who you are, and no prize either? If you didn’t have to worry about being judged, shunned, made fun of…what would you allow yourself to do? How would you act? What choices could you make? And what if there was no pressure to do the correct thing either: that you must write the bestseller, win the race, get the promotion, wear the most fashionable shoes? No approval, no praise.

Then everything you do every day, every choice you make, would be want you want to do at that moment, what you feel is right. You would be free to take risks. You would be free to play, and to find joy. You would be free to set your own priorities.

You would be free, free, free.

Happy 2012. Have a brilliant new year.

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Posted: January 1st, 2012
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Love is the Revolution

“You have such gifts, that are important…For a long time our minds have told us that maybe we are imagining things, that it’s crazy to live according to what you want to give…This isn’t crazy…This is how to live.”

This video is perfect. Check out the website, occupylove.org for more.

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Posted: November 21st, 2011
Categories: Random Thoughts
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