I hear it a lot in varying forms.
“I have a great idea for an essay but I just haven’t found the time to sit down and write it.”
“I’ve started an essay but I can’t find the end.”
“I’ve written an essay, in fact I’ve written several, but I just can’t bring myself to send them out for publication.”
Plans that never quite got there. Ideas that remain in the head, essays that remain under construction, pieces that never fully hatched.
So it’s something special to witness plans that pan out. Especially to have observed it at close range as I have with two students.
Trudi Goodman registered for my very first workshop at New Trier Extension in the summer of 2010. Up until then, her creative energies had gone to abstract painting. But she warmed to the work, never missing a class in almost five years. She kept at it and when we’d urge her to read her work aloud, she had us in stitches. Turns out we had a humorist in our midst, with an authentic and honest voice. She’s also sneaky. She didn’t tell anyone when she sent her essay “Who’s Looking Anyway?” for review at WomensMemoirs.com and that essay is now part of an anthology of women’s essays titled Seasons of Our Lives: Spring, edited by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett. You can read more about it, and order it, here.
And then there’s Judy Panko Reis. I’ve worked with Judy privately, and she was also a student in my New Trier Extension workshop last year. Her ultimate goal was to get her essay published in Shambhala Sun. We worked together a bit, and then she workshopped the piece in our class and I can’t tell you how delighted I am to offer a link to a PDF of her essay, “Under the Volcano,” which will appear in the March 2014 issue of Shambhala Sun. Judy’s story is unforgettable, and she writes it with poetry and insight. Proof positive that plans for publication can indeed find their way to the page.
Way to go, Trudi and Judy!
This month marks the one-year anniversary of this blog in revised form and I feel like there are so many reasons to celebrate! I’m a cheerleader for the creative process, which we all know can be slow, lonely, surprising and magnificent — often at the same time. My mission is to inspire you to open your window and urge us both to the page. Feel free to click back to past blog posts for inspiration on the writing process, writing prompts and tools to bring your stories into the light. The best part is how we all ignite one another.
And if you are curious to see what I’ve been writing lately, here are links to some of my recent essays. Perhaps they will set you in search of paper and pen or get your fingers tapping. Or maybe you’ll come join us on February 12 for the start of my 10-week workshop at New Trier Extension, “Writing the Personal Essay.”
Go to page 52 of the catalogue or email me at email@example.com for details.
Tablet, January 2014
“The Power of a Circle: Standing Hand-in-Hand to Overcome Discrimination”
Literary Mama, November 2012
To a year filled with more than just plans for writing!