I taught at the Pleasanton Arts Festival this weekend. Dana Gioia spoke. I had only heard of him, never read his work, except for a few poems. He's a great speaker! Passionate, funny, and he didn't use notes. He told the story of Robert Frost, how he was a failure at age 37, how he'd never amounted to anything at any of his jobs. He talked about Philip Larkin, and quoted from his poem, "They fuck you up, your mum and dad..." (He said that poem was very popular with nuns. Who knew?)
When he spoke about the Poetry out Loud program which I coached for in January, and what it has meant to some of the students who came through it, he got tears in his eyes.
It was great to see his passion. Inspiring.
He was asked about his own writing process. He said when he is writing full-time for himself he spends about 3 hours at his desk feeling like the biggest loser in the world before he gets over himself and starts writing. I can relate all too well.
Yesterday I took my Little Sister to the beach--keeping out of C's hair as much as possible so he could weed-whack--and then played tennis with C and then went to see Elizabeth perform at Dance Mission in the city. (Today I was so tired I could barely crawl out of bed.)
The bodies of the young dancers were so lithe and muscular. They swung from ropes, bounced and flew across the stage. Elizabeth was a great comedienne. She danced with a little boy as her partner, tumbling him over her shoulders with ease, like a little monkey.