Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rivers and Story and Dreams and Self

I did go to John Daniel's writing workshop this morning. And I did not sleep first. Nor have a slept since. So I've been up since before noon Monday. I would love to go into detail of my eventful day which included a brief conversation with John Daniel after class and then being escorted by a student across campus and across the street to the public library where I spent and hour browsing for books and checking out some sixteen on my sister's card before calling her to come pick me up.

Last night Daniel read from one of his essays in which he likened a river to a story. It was an involved and elaborate extended metaphor. Today as guest speaker in a creative writing professor's class which welcomed the attendance of any John Q. Public, he reversed the extended metaphor, likening a story to a river. And then as he dwelled on the specifics of memoir writing, he asked us to imagine our selves and our lives as rivers before zeroing in on one event to begin writing about.
Later, towards the end, while answering a question from a student about writer's block, he discussed how sometimes what gets labeled writer's block is really that the thing to be written is not ready yet as there is still much work the psyche needs to do in the non-conscious realm before releasing the flow of words. Then he told of how his memoir of the years he cared for his aging, Alzheimer's stricken mother took many years of incubation before it was ready to tell. He spoke of how unnerving it had been to find himself the caregiver of his own mother, the one in authority over her. It was because of this that I got up the nerve to approach him in the hall afterwards in order to thank him and tell him I could so relate as I and my sister have been going through a similar experience right now.

I so hope the Southern Oregon Library System has a copy of Looking After because it is now the one I most want to read.

One thing I learned about myself today is that I love being in a classroom as much as I ever did. I think it is second only to libraries and bookstores as a place I could be in bliss--in my element like a fish in a river.

0 tell me a story:

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