Desire is not a dirty word. In fact, when it comes to making art, we absolutely must yearn. To yearn is to breathe, and when we don't breathe, we suffocate. Committing to creativity requires some pain, whether the pain of facing fears, of sacrificing time for our art, of staring down rejection, or of becoming blocked and then wresting ourselves from the jaws of paralysis. Artistry is both beautiful and cruel. Therefore, to pursue the making of art, we must want it. A lot. Desire is the relentless current in which we must willingly swim.
As for my own writing desires, I am happy to say I've just published a new essay on sleeping, waking, and the trauma of Trump over at Eckleburg. I've also got a new short story, "Softer," coming out in Penn Review's winter issue, and a profile of the artist Nooshin Hakim Javadi coming out in Minnesota Magazine. And I'm feeling hugely thankful to those of you who wrote with me at The Heat of Autumn retreat a couple of weeks ago. What a marvelous day we had at Theodore Wirth, contemplating nature, the body, and what it means to pay attention in the world and on the page. A powerful and lovely day.
As for what's next, we have two new remote workshops happening in January, The Visceral Self: Writing Through the Body, and Radical Revision. Speaking of revision, perhaps you caught the terrific George Saunders essay in the Guardian last year on what writers really do when we write (hint: revise, obsessively). It's a terrific essay on creative process in which Saunders describes his own best method for revision, which I loved and am trying to emulate as best I can.
Anyway, Sophie and I had a grand time this fall teaching our first remote workshop, Fractured: The Art of Fragmented Writing, and our students wrote some kickass fragmented work and also told us amazing things about the course, which you can read here. One writer even said it was among the best courses she has ever taken in three decades of studying writing. So, if you want to kickstart your writing life in 2018, consider jumping into one of our courses as the year turns. We would be so happy to have you!
Meanwhile, thank you for being part of the Elephant Rock community. Much love to you as we enter into this season of gratitude.