What energy! What exuberance! Experiencing other writers’ passion for words is a gift that keeps on giving: It’s inspiring. It’s motivating. It’s creatively nourishing.
That’s why it was so great to hop on a bus Sunday for an event called, “Page Meets Stage: Gregory Pardlo and Reg E. Gaines.” What could be more fun than hearing a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and a Tony Award-winner trade words on stage at Bowery Poetry with my son Alex and a lovely fellow wordsmith, Naomi?
When we leave our desks to get out and about, magic finds us. Here’s what I mean:
Serendipitous things happen: Ever since a teacher wrote the word, ”serendipitous” on a board at school, I’ve loved it. What can be more wonderful than a “happy, unexpected surprise” coming your way? For me, the surprise was this: Who should I meet riding the same bus into the evening’s event, but the evening’s star attraction: reg e. gaines! We spent the whole trip chatting about writing, a fabulous musical reg is working, inspiring teachers, and school days. Then we sat at the “Think Cafe” (love that name!) and chatted some more.
Words flow over us and into us: Hearing two gifted poet-performers share their words in person on a stage is such a shot of adrenalin! You hear how they shape experience into art, how they fashion words into sparkling necklaces of meaning. And most of all, words wash over you – you are floating in words. In a world where words are tossed out with reckless abandon, it is so encouraging to hear words chosen with loving care, with artful precision. And so uplifting!
Helpful advice and ideas come to you: As reg and I sat at the Think Cafe, I asked him for advice on reading my novel aloud during revising. He told me, “Kill the consonants” – really enunciate them as you’re reading, because this forces you to pause. He also said that vowels are “liquid air” – open and flowing. When you put the two together, you have pause and flow – rhythm. You can see where your writing has rhythm and where it falters. So helpful!
Reg gave another tip: During a Q & A, he told the audience that he keeps index cards by his bed at night. When he first wakes up, he catches the wisps of ideas and words on them and then during the day, he makes it a point to work them into his work.
What a great idea! When I woke up this morning, “What energy! What exuberance!” popped into my head – and I used these words to open this post.
Here’s to excellent adventures for all of us! Bravo, reg. Write on!