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Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Most of us don’t have the luxury of doing something obviously creative every day. I wish I had time to write and edit poems, read poems and even watercolor and cook new dishes every day. Of course, there are errands to run, laundry to do and paying work to finish.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to really slow down and make time for what is not only important, but vital to living a good life. I want to *find* the time to do these things if not every day, then every week. 

Taking an extra moment to do something might even allow us all to do less creative things more creatively. You can take a new road to work and explore your neighborhood more. Look around at your surroundings more carefully. Buy different vegetables in the Farmer’s Market and try out a new recipe. Spend an extra minute writing an email so that it isn’t a list of speedy facts, but rather a thoughtful progression of words.

My husband and I enjoyed making many of our holiday gifts this year. We talked about what we wanted to do, made them and then wrapped them together. With a pile of markers, we were able to personalize what could have been a present wrapped by a store clerk who never met the receiver.

I recently bought a travel watercolor kit and watercolor postcard paper. I’m fairly certain that my work would only make a mother proud, but I’m slowly improving and I feel peaceful when I experiment with the colors and painting new shapes. It is important to find this space for ourselves.

I really believe that we will all be more productive if we take advantage of moments here and there to relax and recharge.

What will you do to be more creative in 2010?

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poster for sweetwaters reading nov 09I will be reading at Sweetwaters as a part of the Writers Reading at Sweetwaters series tonight (Tuesday, November 17th) at 7 pm. The room is a bit small, so please arrive early for a seat. Don’t forget to bring work to share at the open mike.

The reading is hosted by the lovely Chris Lord and Esther Hurwitz. Thank you again for the invite!

You are welcome to RSVP on the Facebook Event page (or just check it out to see the other cool people who are coming.)

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Donald Hall

I am very much looking forward to Donald Hall’s reading at the University of Michigan on Dec. 1st.

I’ve been reading his memoir Unpacking the Boxes and want to share what he wrote about teaching composition at the University of Michigan.

 

When I took the Michigan job, I made it a condition that I teach no creative writing. Every term the department gave me a section of freshman composition. It is the hardest class to teach. Twenty students are twenty different sets of difficulty and the difficulty is only partly with writing. My freshmen were away from home for the first time – few came from boarding schools – and struggled with loneliness and liberty. In their essays they expressed or evaded their confusions. Language explains us to ourselves and conceals us from ourselves. Teaching prose style became exploration of the psyche, and I went home from conferences and office hours vibrating with the discomfort and distress of my composition students. (There were contrary elations. When a boy from a northern town suddenly brightens up and understands, or a girl from a high school in suburban Detroit takes first, the hard class becomes satisfying.) Eventually debilitated by teaching composition, I volunteered to teach creative writing. To my surprise I liked it – one class a year, ten or twelve people. I could choose the students after checking out their work, and take only those with some facility.

 

Thanks, Donald Hall. I’ll try to remember these lines the next time someone says, “Oh, you just teach composition?”

 

 

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