Monday, March 03, 2008

We had such an interesting Personal Essay class last night. Among other topics, we talked about redemption. Some of the students look for redemption when they read, or go to the movies. Many of my friends feel the same way. A bleak movie, like Leaving Las Vegas, leaves them feeling depleted and angry because after all that suffering, there's no redemption in the end.

I argued that perhaps the redemption takes place off the page, or after the credits have rolled. Maybe the redemption is in the discussion we are having now, I suggested; maybe it happens later, in the consciousness of the audinece, who know, at least, that no matter how dark or horrifying their circumstances, someone has been there before and written about it.

Afterwards I regretted not having asked this question: given the inevitability of the story this essayist has to tell (it was Cheryl Strayed's essay "The Love of My life," about how her grief for her mother led to a long binge of self-destructive behavior,)-given that this is the story the essaysit has to tell, how could she have worded it so that you felt closer to the experience and more satisfied at the end?

I find this essay to get mixed reactions: some people passionately love it; others react strongly against it. That's fine by me: it's provocative. What I'm interested in is how the style of the storytelling either works or doesn't work to make the essay alive and memorable.

I came home very high and excited. Those experiences of an engaged group discussion are beautiful to me;lots of different minds exploring an idea from all angles, coming up with a richness and diversity of response impossible alone. It's such a smart, engaged group of students!

I didn't blog here about how Thursday night and Friday night I performed with Wing It! Thursday evening was just the women--we performed at a women's health conference. Had fun dancing and doing spoken word about mammograms and pap smears. Megan did a mesmerizing poignant piece about swimming.

Then Friday night I read some of my poems at Interplayce. I read Half-Remembered Fragments of Song Lyrics, and Letter from Southern Africa and Sustain. It all worked out well, except I definitely need reading glasses now, even with 12 point type. C and I went to Target Saturday and picked up a pair for me. Now I just have to remember to bring them along.

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