Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Larger Story of the Universe!

I'm better! Or at least well on my way. I've been vertical for the better part of three hours already today, which is such an improvement over yesterday that I'm thinking I might even be able to take THAT DOG on a walk around the entire block, rather than just looping her back & forth across the backyard.

September is always my favorite month here in New England, and this one is extra-fun, because it includes two of my favorite things: a chance to meet new writers, and a field trip!

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm teaching a new memoir class at Grub Street on Saturday. I adore these all-day classes. It's inspiring to hear other people's stories, and when we discuss them within the context of writing (narrative arc, target audience, one-sentence pitch) the way we describe ourselves and our experiences takes on a whole new hue. It's like the stories are set free from the self-consciousness of cocktail party banter and loosed into the larger story of the universe.

(Okay, that was a dopey image. It's true...I totally think there's a larger story of the universe! Just wanted to admit that it looks a little dopey when you read it :) )

Next week, I travel to the University of Virginia (go Cavs!) to speak to a large group of students about, well...about the larger story of the universe! What I remember most about college was the feeling that if I didn't do EVERYTHING RIGHT, my life would be irrevocably messed up, forever. So I more or less did everything right for those four years, certain that it would guarantee my perfectly planned future. don't get to make a living writing memoir if THAT sort of plan worked out for you. So my fun job on this field trip is to pass along what I've learned since then, giving them a few tools to add to their "building a life" kits that they can pull out when they need them.

I'm a BIG believer in working hard, pursuing dreams, loving people with a big, open heart. When you live this way, you're going to take some hits. (And as I told a friend recently, the punch rarely comes from the direction you're facing!) The key isn't to avoid the hits. It's to get back up again, knowing that, as my friend Jon from Law School always said, Things tend to get done, and Things tend to work out. This is how I learned the third part of this little group of pithy maxims: Life is usually more interesting than we expect--pay attention!

And that, ladies & gentleman, is our theme for September!

No comments: