Archive for June 19, 2011

Festival Wrap Up

I just got back from the 8th Annual Writers’ Festival at Chautauqua, and I have to say that this year’s festival was one of the best! I workshopped under Denise Duhamel and had a very lively group.  I got to meet a lot of writers and teachers of creative writing (that was a plus — I don’t get to talk to a lot of people about the teaching of creative writing, and I was able to hold conversations which revolved around such issues and questions as “Do You Have a No-Vampire Clause in your creative writing syllabus”?)

As always, the festival activities gave me a lot to think about — both in my own writing and my own teaching.  But one thought is really sticking with me.  George Looney, poet and co-director of the festival, told us, “Remember, you are all on the fringe.”  (I may be paraphrasing his speech a bit).  His words certainly rang true throughout the festival — I mean, where else (except with a group of writers) will you have engaging conversations about semicolons and commas?  About abstract nouns and concrete nouns?  About the shifts in point of view in a poem?  About the use of verb tense? 

And I suppose, with the state of the world, that these discussions may not seem that important.  Still, it’s nice to take time out of everyday life affairs to focus on these small details in writing — and make choices as if these “small” choices could change the world.