I spent the last four days at the IWWG Summer Conference in Litchfield, Connecticut. So many people, so much talent – raw and polished gems of every color, design, and cut. There were workshops on plot, dialogue, how to read your work aloud, writing toward the whole, collaging motherhood – the list goes on.
People dazzled. They were humble, friendly, willing to mentor, smart. Some of the presenter’s were in their 80’s, sharp as tacks, with life experiences and perspectives that many of us can hope to follow in the footsteps of….
The environment makes you want to give, perhaps because you are being offered so much that it feels right, or because you feel so nourished that you aren’t coming from scarcity, or because it feels fulfilling and substantial. The environment produces a magic that builds on itself. It is a mighty equation when writer’s gather and share their stories.
We sliced through years of pleasant conversation. By reading and writing poems, essays, books, we plopped ourselves into the middle of our existences with individuals – some encountered for the first time – that felt safe. There’s an awe-inspiring quality about the chemistry.
I want my children to remember that all people are not bad. Our rooms had wide open doors, no locks, in which sat our pocketbooks, wallets, computers and jewelry. I must admit I was skeptical. I asked the roommate I drove up with: “Is it okay to just leave our stuff out like this?” “Yeah” she said. “Hmmm,” I murmured under my breath. But I trusted her, and her stuff was in the same vulnerable position as mine.
Here’s the kicker. Nothing was stolen. I, a New Yorker, am floored. These people are (mostly, for me anyway) strangers, how can I be sure that not one amongst them is dishonest? Well, no one was – at least I can say no one stole a thing from our room – door swung wide, open all day long.
My point is that it is our responsibility to find our place in the world. Our love, juice, passion. Or keep looking – and like love, when we find it, we will know.