Day 3: Making Meaning
During our aspirations on the first day of class, one participant said it best when she said she aspired to go “deeper than memory.” I told my students I hoped they’d all break a rule they didn’t know they had. Together, I think these two ideas go after the best of what memoir can offer beginning writers–that is, when our own process for creating teaches us a little something about living, too.
Time bends at a writing workshop. Like light reflecting across the rippled surface of Green Lake, there’s depth here beneath the dazzle. There’s territory yet unseen.
Wednesday feels like a Friday. Eleven a.m. feels like mid-afternoon. We sit in the classroom and write. We read. We partner up, readying for critiques. Pens scratch across the page. Fingers peck at the keyboard of memory.
It is in these moments–surrounded by the good, hard work of writers angling for something beneath the surface–that the human capacity for striving almost splits my heart in two. Here we are, our flawed bodies and moody minds, just trying to bring something to life. Just trying to tell a good story. Just trying to make meaning of it all. We are beautiful in our striving. I’m humbled in the presence of my students: their efforts, their hard thinking, their brave words.
As I walked from Maddy Cottage to DeRoy Commons to give my public reading tonight, I took a moment to visit Kresge Auditorium in daylight. Here I saw Lucinda Williams and The Decemberists, among others. But in the quiet of early evening, with sunlight shining off Green Lake in the background, the empty space of Kresge offered something different. No rock star melodies. No flashing lights and cheering crowds. Just the lovely, backlit reminder of dedication to the arts. Thank you.