As I put the snow and icicles of Goddard behind me for another semester, I was thinking about the question of whether one can teach writing. I don’t know if we taught it, or whether we simply lived it, all together, for the last eight days. I come home filled by my colleagues who have been writing in the world: Kyle Bass who put together the beautiful Cry for Peace with Ping Chong, drawing on the lives of refugees from the Congo; Susan Kim who has been collaborating on a dystopian young adult series and working with caretakers and medical staff who are supporting our veterans; Kenny Fries, poet/memoirist who wrote an opera this year; John McManus, whose novel-in-progress about gay refugees in Uganda just received a Creative Capital grant…etc., etc. fourteen times for the fourteen faculty who shared the residency with me.
I have also carried with me the work of my students, their questions, their struggles, their imagination, the high bar they set for themselves. This semester, I asked the graduates for their graduation speeches (at Goddard, every graduate give his or her own speech). These few snippets will show you why I love Goddard, and what makes it special:
They said, “This has been an incredible journey.”
They said, “This means the world to me.”
They said, “We are leaving our incredible faculty, brilliant talents themselves, who truly care about the likes of us, who utilize equal parts love and cattle prod…but we’re taking each other.”
They said, “This place is magic.”
If there was a slogan I could put in an ad for Goddard it would be this:
“This place is magic.”