Last night was Brenda Miller's reading. She read some great stuff, two pieces from her first collection (one of which appears on brevity, it's called "Split"). I felt very inspired to write more after her reading which, for me, is a sign of great work. It's inspirational. She and I also had some great discussion (earlier, when we were shopping instead of hiking) about making the classroom a more contemplative/reflective space. I think all the teaching of argument I've done in the past seven years has worn me down. Brenda is attending a workshop at Smith about meditation and education, so I look forward to hearing more about it from her. After our discussions I decided in the next creative writing class I teach I'm going to bring "objects" and require students to write about them: a loaf of bread, a flower, a photograph, an orange. The best essays, in my mind, are those that range broadly and freely, and usually begin from stopping and looking deeply at something, even for just a moment. So my time with Brenda has really helped me to start thinking about teaching in a different way, and ways teachers can set up or influence the space/feeling of the classroom.
After Brenda's reading, the board and faculty went to an amazing house in Federal Heights for a dinner. It was great. The view was fantastic, the company/conversation was fun, the woman who hosted us was gracious. Her husband is retired and has taken up photography so there were amazing huge photographs of flowers all over the house. Truly wonderful. And the dessert! Let's just say I love chocolate and I love layer cake, so there you have it.
I stayed up too late, but managed to make my consultation this morning. Carol was a generous reader and gave me many good suggestions for improving my story. Actually, after the consultation I felt a little down. Not because of her comments, but because I don't really want to work on the story. I'm not sure if it's because I'm lazy or if I've just moved beyond that story. She did like the characters and encouraged me to revise it. I think I'm just exhausted. Maybe next week I'll feel like working on it.
Tonight is the booksigning at The King's English, followed by readings by John Vernon and Richard Frost. Then my friend and I are going out to dinner with the agent. More tomorrow.