Friday, February 18, 2011

My letter to the students who asked why, if I’m a writer, I’m wasting my time teaching them:

First, I probably learn more from you than you will ever learn from me. You have not yet had the joy of words beaten out of you and this is a gift to everyone you encounter. When I hear your poems about libraries and drumbeats and cheese and Chilè and stalkers and the sea, I am glad.

Second, I get to do the exercises with you which is great practice for any writer.

Third, most writers, no matter how well-published or successful, also have jobs. I’d much rather be here helping you guys write a play about two lovers who stop by Red Lobster after jumping through a painting of the White House in a Walmart onto a rooftop in the Valley of the End than waiting tables (which I’ve done) or writing ad copy (which I do).

Every week I look forward to our time together. I don’t necessarily relish re-entering the halls of a middle school, but I do love the time I get to spend with a group of people who are original, brave, creative and as of yet not boxed in or squashed up by what they think writing should be.

I hope that one day, you are each lucky enough to get to do this too.



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