Tuesday, July 28, 2015

joy in human beings

 A student just wrote to ask if I'd work with her privately on her writing. She concluded:
I would very much love to work with you as I admire not just your teaching ability but how you savour life and find joy in human beings. 

How nice is that? Speaking of savouring life - on this boiling hot day, I'm meeting dear friends Jean-Marc and Richard to cycle down to the ferry terminal and take the ferry over to the island beach for an evening picnic and a swim. Mmmm.

Another student sent me a blog post about writing, that I think expresses beautifully what we're trying to do in our work:
No doubt you’ve all heard the expression, often attributed to Hemingway:“Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”
The first time I read this quotation it resonated with me, but I didn’t realize that what I’ve been talking about – translating both the happiest and most painful experiences in life into one’s work – is how we bleed. At least, that’s my take on it. 

This kind of writing – writing with a kind of brutal emotional honesty – is uncomfortable because we feel a bit like we’re undressing in public. It’s a bit like living out one of those stress dreams we’ve all had where we walk into a crowded room, stark naked.
But, in a way, that’s what we’re doing. We’re revealing our essence, exposing our soul.

Yes, yes we are. I sent the manuscript of my exposed soul, aka the current draft of my new memoir - a mere 49,000 words - to two readers yesterday. Writing a book, for me, is like climbing a mountain; periodically I need to stop on a plateau, rest and take in the view, which means getting some feedback, assessing where I am before continuing the climb. So we'll see what they say and what I decide about the next draft.

In the meantime - it's majorly summer. Time for a swim. 

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