There is the campus green, the way the towering evergreens sag with wisdom, their boughs broader than a house, their sap like the amber tears of ancient storytellers, and the many pairs of feet that have passed beneath them.
There’s Joe’s light-socket hair and hazel-eyed gaze, his been-there-and-came-out-the-other-side smile that glimmers when you ask him about the greats – Yeats, Pound, Williams. The way he tosses his neck when he laughs, lets it belt out because, why not?
There’s Claire’s seductive intelligence, her passion at the podium, her I-dare-you-to-live intonation. When she looks at me, I can feel the extent of her faith in the writer’s life reaching for me, the way she fills me with confidence and winks as I walk through the door. That woman is all heart, all bones, and all words; a hearty triplicate. “What is the habit of writing,” she says, “but availing yourself, opening yourself to the graces? Find in your imagination the thing you didn’t know was there…What if you could live your life deeply? Imagine…Now imagine it more deeply.”
There’s Marvin, too. They way he’ll talk himself into song and fold into himself when he laughs, shoulders cupping his bearded face, a Pacific University ball cap positioned just so atop his head. “If you focus on something long enough,” he says, “something else will happen and you have to be willing to write it down, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. Are we crazy? Yes. Are we different? Yes.”
To think that each of these brilliant pieces adds up to make one day is enough to make me feel rich for a lifetime. There is a pageant of jewels here, so much light to absorb, so much love beaming back at me from fellow peers and the faculty. With every breath I grow wealthier in spirit.
We do what we do because we cannot imagine doing otherwise. There are things in this world to mark, moments presenting themselves at every turn, just waiting to be snatched up, articulated, and made more real as they come to fruition on the page. Art is imperative to society’s evolution and by making ourselves available, by genuinely engaging with the world, we are doing the work that needs to be done.[Today’s link: The Pacific University MFA link to interviews with a few of the faculty members. Short videos on the craft and images of the writers and students in our program. Click here to view.]