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Memoir Class San Francisco

Sun, 09/06/2009 - 6:51am

Many exciting things. First, be on the lookout for my new website. It's coming soon!

I'm back to school at SFSU (see picture above), and we're already cookin' in Craft of Fiction. Also, Fourteen Hills has been on a poetry -success-run, with selections from the most-recent issue on Daily Verse as well as in Best New Poets 2009. Congratulations to the incredible editors and writers! 

A former student/Teaching Assistant, RA Martin, was on the cover of the NYT book review recently, for an anthology he edited and contributed to. In it, there are pieces from SFSU's Kirk Read and a former Labber and SFSU student Lorelei Lee, who is now off at NYU pursuing her MFA. 

In my own writing life, I'm in the thick of it. I suspected this day would come. The day when the excitement of  finishing a big project would wane and the anxiety of waiting to see what, if anything, the world will do with it would wax.

Standford University has set up this page for their faculty and staff to address "Writing Productivity Problems." It's pretty intense, going well beyond the expected list of symptoms that these Stanford doctors say  can result from writer's block/deadline pressures. 

I want to know. Where is the medical advice page for those who've finished a project and are waiting?  

It has been recorded that William Faulkner would go on major drinking binges between his projects, ending up at Wright's Sanitarium, a Mississippi Nursing Home. Virginia Woolf's husband Leonard described the time between his wife's sending off the proofs ofher biography of Roger Fry to the printers on 13th May, 1940, and hersuicide on 28th March, 1941 as "319 days of headlong and yet slow-moving catastrophe."

Oh Good Lord. What have I done with this update? 

Please know that this is not a personal cry for help. Nor is it meant to minimize Virginia Woolf's lifelong struggle with depression or mental illness. I am not being glib. In fact, I spend a lot of teaching time reminding students (and myself) of the brilliant AND healthy living artists who take care of their bodies, treat their illnesses, and find ways to feed their souls so they can continue to contribute their art to the world.

I'm just sayin' I can understand how easy it might be to get derailed.

I'm also so utterly grateful that school started again. That The Lab is starting again. That work with Performing Arts Workshop is resuming. Because—the waiting—the waiting to hear yes or no, the waiting to hear good or bad—It's a real challenge. One that I'm very happy to have the luxury of trying to live with. 

The only thing that works is to keep writing and/or to nourish the imagination of the writer. So. That's what I'll do.  I'll keep going out and finding art that makes me want to create something. And this Fall at Douglass Street, I'll be doing all of the same writing prompts as the pupils in The Douglass Street Lab. Meanwhile, keep your fingers crossed for me. And I'll keep mine crossed for you.