Once again rain is washing Saturday morning away across the dreamy streets of suburbia. Thousands of tiny droplets whirl with the wind filling the air with heavy scent of wet grass and moist leaves. Spring dance.
Interlacing fingers around the hot cup of coffee, I am thinking of the week that it was. And it was a week of some worries and some surprises, some laughter and some tears … just like life itself -:)!
Hurricane Sandy caused havoc in some parts of the Caribbean and the USA. Watching the news during the week caused no end of worry. Seeing the trail of devastation; thousands of destroyed homes, millions of people left without power, heat, services, at least dozen dead, disturbed and worried me. For all those affected, and for people I got to know in the USA through the Lantern. Checking their blogs helped to know they are safe.
New Zealand news followed the events very closely and reported over twenty states affected by the hurricane in some way, and billions of dollars in damage. While such huge costs are certainly unwelcome news even for the USA economy, what really matters are human lives and effects on those who lost their loved ones, and their homes. As always, and after any disaster, recovery is the hardest for those who have to put together pieces made not from bricks and mortar, but from human hearts, pieces interwoven together with the tread of love and belonging. May the humanity of those nearby be of aid and comfort to you all.
In the time of upheavals and crisis humans extend helping hand to each other’s in a way not otherwise encountered. Whenever there is a force at work that causes collective sufferings, and against which humans are powerless, we reach to and for each other’s. Amongst pictures of destructions that dominated the news, there was a snapshot showing a hand-written note pinned to the fence in front of the house with words; ‘we have power, charge your cell phones here’ on it! There were stories of people’s bravery and stories of selflessness. The resilience, heroism and humanity of every day folk remain astonishing and humbling. The latest news is that legendary New York marathon has been canceled, although in the last moment.
While the global news coverage focused primarily on the USA, the same hurricane pounded Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba, leaving massive destruction in its wake. Although some 200,000 homes were damaged by the hurricane in Cuba, in the Bahamas the total cost of damage is estimated at $300m,(higher than damage caused by hurricane Irene), and Haitian’s third largest city has been flooded causing exacerbation of a Cholera epidemic, precious little has been reported. It sadness me to note lack of stories in the main stream media about resilience, courage and humanity of Caribbean people, or how they will restore their economies. Let us hope the international community will be there to help them recover.
On the home front; between juggling my work, helping my all-grown-up daughter to organize her upcoming transfer from high school to University, and always searching for some additional hours in each day … a surprise has found me! And since it is such a pleasant surprise, I can’t help myself but share it with everyone on the Lantern!
Wellington’s Victoria University is home to the International Institute of Modern Letters. The Institute promotes and foster contemporary imaginative writing and its graduates are among New Zealand’s leading contemporary writers. The Institute offers range of specialised undergraduate workshops, Master of Arts in creative writing and since 2008 PhD programme in creative writing, and has growing international presence.
During January/February of next year the Institute offers a special workshop taught by outstanding Creative Writing graduates from the University of Iowa. Over the summer of 2012/13 two graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop will convene prose and poetry workshop. The Iowa Writer’s Worship is America’s oldest and most prestigious creative writing programme, and numbers among its graduates a dozen winners of the Pulitzer Prize.
The enrolment is limited to only 12 students and is based on quality of written work submitted as a part of application.
When I first read about the Iowa Workshop, my first thought was; ‘it would be nice to be there’, followed by the usual If … If I do not have to work, If life is not so busy, If my writing is good enough … over the years I have developed rather extensive lists of ‘ifs’ and ‘whens’.
However, this time a thought stayed with me. Thanks to several factors, notably a push from a friend, and a glow from the Lantern, I did submit samples of my writing. That was some weeks ago. I received an email notifying me of acceptance this week. Here is the excerpt from that email:
‘ …on behalf of …, has advised me that you have been accepted for this course. Congratulations on gaining a place. We do have a waiting list so please reply to this email as soon as possible to advise whether or not you are able to take up the place …’
I could not quite believe what I was reading. So I phoned them, and still they confirmed it!
I am still in a state of disbelief … only now with the additional worries about how to organize my work around it.
And what is more … the samples of work I sent are the short stories and poetry published here on the Lantern!
Could you believe this?
Let me know your thoughts … I really do need them!
- Writers: graduating by the bushel, but can they find readers? (theglobeandmail.com)
- More than a Big Ponzi Scheme? (lrb.co.uk)
- The Best Creative Writing Courses (joannegphillips.wordpress.com)