“Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.” ~ Albert Einstein
This is as fine a group of writers as I’ve ever had the privilege of sharing space with. Each is unique with their own voice, their own sense of style, and courage. They are, left to right, Gurney Norman, Megan Henson, Amy Copelin, Sarah Abbott, Jordyn Rhorer, Sean Madden, Sean Corbin, Ben Honea, John Duncan, Robin Rahija, and Joy Bowman. These folks gave me a multitude of gifts over the semester, among them the gift to step outside my comfort zone. It wasn’t always easy for me, and I got more than I bargained for, but I mean that in a good way. I’m the only one who isn’t enrolled in the MFA program, so I was feeling unworthy most of the semester. Yet, several of my classmates encouraged me to change that tonight, even seemed disappointed that I’m not taking another course next semester. I was genuinely touched, and speechless. It was a complement of the highest order.
But wait, there’s more! In 2012, Gurney published a compelling book called Ancient Creek. It was a long time coming. The book includes three essays written in response to the story. Gurney very graciously gave each of us a signed copy tonight. He talked at length about how it came into being. Though it was penned in 1975, and originally made available on June Appal Records, I found the story even more relevant today (I read it when it came out in 2012, so I already know the story) what with mountaintop removal and the other environmental and socio-economic changes we’ve endured. This really was a special class full of great writers lead by a wonderful, wonderful mentor. I’m so glad they let me hang out with them.