Springing into Spring
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded a full scholarship to attend a week-long writing residency to study the personal essay with author Scott Russell Sanders at the Wrangell Mountains Center in McCarthy, Alaska, August 2009.
As quoted on their website:
“The 12th Annual Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop is pleased to host nationally acclaimed writer Scott Russell Sanders. Born in Tennessee and reared in Ohio, Scott Russell Sanders studied in Rhode Island and Cambridge, England, before going on to become a Distinguished Professor of English at Indiana University. Among his more than twenty books are novels, collections of stories, and works of personal nonfiction, including Staying Put (1993), Writing from the Center (1995), and Hunting for Hope (1998). His latest book, a memoir called A Private History of Awe (2006), was nominated by the publisher for a PulitzerPrize. His writing has won the AWP Creative Nonfiction Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, and the Lannan Literary Award, as well as fellowships from the Lilly Endowment, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. A Conservationist Manifesto, his vision of a shift to a sustainable society, will be published in 2009. And he was recently named the 2009 winner of the Mark Twain Award, in recognition of his lifetime contribution to Midwestern literature. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington in the hardwood hill country of Indiana’s White River Valley. Find out more at www.scottrussellsanders.com.”
As quoted by the program director, who called me last night at 11:15pm:
“We’re really excited to have you. We are all anticipating your stay. Get ready for the time of your life!”
And tonight I will tell you this:
There is a thin line of life running along the horizon behind my house, where the summit of Fork and Roan Mountains cuts across the sky and the Appalachian Trail along with it. I hiked another 7 miles on the trail today just to be close to that fantastic, foolish, daring energy of the through hikers. They’re around mile 350 once they get to my neck of the woods, and have been hiking for about a month since their departure at Springer Mountain. Every year, 2,000-3,000 attempt the entire AT and about 300-500 actually complete it.
In this week of waiting for letters, completing applications, follow-up calls, and wondering what’s next, the through hikers on the AT have been an inspiration. They’re all going somewhere, getting there however they can. In my writing life, I am attempting to do the same. Being on the trail with them for even a few miles here and there throughout the week has filled my well. I don’t have to be a slave to my mailbox, waiting for the next big thing. The next big thing is right here, right now, and I’m living it every breath I take just like those hikers are living it with each lift and stomp of their boots.