Oct 10

Back to School Musings


Dear friends,

I don’t know about you, but here September whizzed past!  I enjoyed a quick trip back to Minnesota over Labor Day for a reading from Passings at Magers & Quinn, where I was serendipitously paired up with BJ Hollars, author of Flock Together: My Love Affair with Extinct Birds, which is due out this winter. While in Minneapolis, I had coffee with Eric Lorberer, the editor of Rain Taxi, who handed me the hot-off-the press fall issue with a fine interview about Passings by poet Mike Dillon. The Fall 2016 issue should still be on the newsstand—check it out!

raintaxiout        mqbooksign

Then home for a few chilly late summer swims, a few brisk hikes as leaves began to drift down, and the ritual of getting classes ready for fall quarter and my LAST quarter of classroom teaching. Of course I’ll keep teaching online and at conferences and workshops, but will phase out of teaching at the community college after close to 30 years so I can spend more time writing and teaching writing/mindfulness workshops. Let me know if you know of a good place to offer one!

So I’ve been reflecting, once again, on teaching, and teachers. Brenda and I have both written about teachers that have shaped our writing lives, so I was delighted to read fellow poet/writer Priscilla Long’s moving piece in The American Scholar on her first poetry teacher, Harold Bond and wanted to share it with you: “Becoming a Poet”

Speaking of Priscilla, it’s also worth noting—for those of you in the Seattle-area—that Priscilla’s celebrating the launch of TWO new books: Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators and Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?  on Saturday Oct. 15 at 7 pm at Elliot Bay Book Company.  I hope to see you there…

In the meantime, whether you’re back in school this fall, or just remembering the ritual of returning to school, the pleasures of shopping for that spiral notebook and a box of #2 Ticonderoga pencils, take a few minutes this week to reflect on a teacher that made a difference in your life. Or just have fun writing about those pencils—and that queasy mash-up of anticipation and dread that comes with returning to school each fall…

Yours, back at the chalkboard/whiteboard/media screen yet again,