Beginning Something New


Tonight I had the privilege of sitting in Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY and witness the beginnings of something good. You could feel it in the air -- the nerves, the excitement, a creative spark -- beginning to crackle, getting ready to ignite. Six of us gathered with writer Jon Katz and his dog Lenore to begin a writers' workshop, telling stories of rural life. "It's scary," I admitted. I'm a writer and teacher by trade, but it's been a long time since I've told my own stories or been on the other side of the desk, but I said, "it's going to be fun."

And, I can tell it will be. People already have some incredible ideas -- ways to incorporate visuals and sound. I'm already getting ideas to try out on my own students. For a long time, I've been wanting them to share their memoirs in some other way than traditional text form (in fact that's their excitement for the week), but had never thought of incorporating sound (not music) but people's voices (acting out the character's tales) as one of the writing group members suggested tonight.
We got a lot of advice and insight into the writing process and the book industry from Jon and we saw his own excitement about the adventure ahead. Some people are generous of spirit. He is one. I am struck again, how the same messages seem to come to you from all over once you are attune to them. At the conference on creativity and spirituality, I attended in Laguna Beach , we were told to ask when we told a story or prepared a sermon to ask "What is the good news here?" Tonight, Jon said to make sure when we approached a story to ask, "Why should anyone give a shit?" Different words, same advice.