The second week in July, I attended the Antioch Writer’s Workshop. What an exhausting and exhilarating week. The benefits continue to accrue. Here’s my first installment.
Andre DuBus III
Andre Dubus III gave the keynote address on Saturday evening and then taught the Master Class on Sunday morning. What a ball of energy he is. I would love to take writing classes from him.
Here are some of the gems he shared with us:
“It ain’t talent! It’s curiosity, wonder, mulling and musing about humans. Someone, somewhere, writes better than you. So what? Protect your creativity. Contend with jealousy in your head but don’t let it into your heart.”
Questions storytellers ask: “What’s it like to be in this thing that happened?”
“Listen to the little voice inside you. Work from the inside out. There’s a lot of mystery involved. Make your writing an intimate experience for your readers. Go inside and transfer feelings from one heart to another…empathy and truth.”
“Do that that makes you feel more like yourself than at any other time.”
“Self-consciousness is death to creativity.”
“I never wanted to be a writer. I just loved writing.”
When Andre relayed his process for writing the book he’s best known for, House of Sand and Fog, the whole room was mesmerized.
When he signed his book, Dirty Love, for me, I told him, “I loved your memoir, Townie,especially at the end, the way you wrote about your transformation.”
His eyes sparkled and he leaned toward me with a delighted grin. “You know, I knew I’d changed. But I didn’t know I’d transformed until I wrote it.”
I really get what he meant. As I delve more deeply into my own character and make increasingly deeper connections with my past, I find myself silently exclaiming, “Oh, that’s why that was so important to me,” or “That’s why I acted the way I did,” or “That makes so much sense now.”
After asking what I was writing and if my memoir had a name, he turned to another page and signed,
Here’s to you &
A Long Awakening to Grace.
That moment of connection with Andre was thrilling for me. His sharing so personably, being interested in me and what I’m doing, his willingness to go the extra mile by signing two pages, the second with a personal inscription won my heart. He’s a real pro. Thank you, Andre, for getting AWW off to a great start for me.