I’m sitting on the couch writing this, a mug of peppermint bark tea by my side along with newly prescribed medication for bronchitis. As a person who regularly stays up until 2 a.m. to reach deadlines and writes most prolifically when she has a 50,000-word goal, I just want to push forward through the busyness and sickness and stress, to write at a mad pace until I can just hit save and call that essay, poem, memoir, or story finished.
But writing isn’t about just making it to the end.
In my first issue as Soundings editor, I’m excited to share with you an essay, an interview, and two features that remind us to slow down, stop focusing on our destination, and reflect upon where we are.
First, Kent Meyers discusses how we can find the richest material in our writing—“eternal time”—if we dig deep into the otherwise static moments of our writing. What happens if, rather than plowing ahead to keep the forward momentum, we pause in a scene, or even at a single phrase, and examine it more closely? Why did your character say that line? Why did I describe my father with those words? What images am I glossing over by not rethinking that line break? It might take us longer to get to the end, but we won’t truly understand the destination unless we pause to get to know our surroundings.
Next, Mina Mitchell talks to RWW alumna April Ayers Lawson about her experience returning to the Rainier Writing Workshop as a faculty member. In their conversation, April shares some of the wisdom she gleaned from faculty members, particularly the lesson she learned in reevaluating what she saw as failure and discovering how it could strengthen her writing.
Also in the issue, contributing writer Lisa Morin Carcia shares how she and others of the class of 2018 used their Outside Experiences to dive deeper into the physical places of their creative work. Intentional time spent researching their creative settings enriched their writing in unique ways.
Our new assistant editor, Nathaniel Youmans, also shares with us, reflecting upon Camille Dungy’s visit to the 2017 RWW residency. In his feature, Nathaniel recalls Dungy’s class, her evening reading, and her encouragement to keep writing and to continually evolve our views of language as well as the white space on a page.
Finally, we once again have the chance to celebrate the accomplishments and literary roles of our community members in the Publications, Announcements, Opportunities, and Literary Citizenship sections.
I invite you to pause. Take a seat. Have a cup of tea with me (I promise I’m not contagious). Slow down. Explore the quiet places and find their infinite possibilities.