How to Attend a Writing Workshop in New England in the Summer:

Come unprepared,
because nothing that you could write
before you get there will make
you ready for what you’ll learn,
and nothing you can
imagine will tell you
what it will be like,
but for God’s sake,
bring a sweater.

Don’t imagine for a second
that you’re going to have
a decent shower,
so if a decent shower
is something you need
to be a writer,
(or a decent human being)
for God’s sake,
rent a hotel room.

You’ve got to be willing;
to eat brown food,
to trust that the strangers
on day one will be
respected peers
on day six, and
thank God,
that you aren’t
nearly as sucky
a writer
as you think you are.

Don’t ever
make it about the money
you paid,
or the hassle
of the train schedule,
or the brown food.
If you come at it right,
you’ll see that you
would have gotten a bargain
at twice the price,
that you got where you needed
to be in the end,
and that salad
thank God,
was always an option.

Open up.
Let go of the fact
that you think you always
write about,
dear God,
dead people
and ruined relationships.
That you write at all
is what really matters;
the rest, as they say,
is fussy details.

for the love of God,
keep at it.
Do whatever you’ve got
to do,
call whoever you’ve got
to call,
run in the woods
or walk on the beach,
or hide in the library
or sit in your car,
just keep writing.



Filed under about writing, colleagues, Learning, Mrs. Chili as Student, Poetry, writing

4 responses to “Reflection

  1. Organic Mama

    Thank you for creating a lovely glimpse of the texture, the subtext (and brown food text), and the joy you experienced. It looks like this was a great inspiration for you, and that’s fantastic!!

  2. chili,

    It took me ten years. I figure I might have made a penny an hour so far, but I’d do it all again, and will do so with a another book.

    It was worth it for what I learned. I always knew myself, but I dug as deep as I could to be be sure I understood all of me.

    I was a Charlie Brown kinda guy, except lucky enough to marry the red-haired girl years ago. After all the exploration, I liked the guy I found. He’s not a hero, but he’ll do, and that is more than enough.

    Dr. B

  3. Nice poem, funny and profound, nice combo. Hope you raise the cash you need.

  4. Hey Chili, did you know that you inspired me? I started a writing blog! And I am plugging away at this writing thing. Even though it’s a pain. And I don’t like it. Mostly. It is GOOD for me! It will make me a better teacher! Il faut souffrir pour etre douee! (Yeah, I know the accents are missing; dunno how to do that in html & I’m too lazy to look it up!)

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