Dave Eggers on (in) The Writing Life

Saturday, December 18, 2010

All right, so I didn't see this rocking Dave Eggers (Washington Post) essay until just now, but maybe you do, actually, find things when you need things, and at 5:08 AM this Saturday before Christmas morn, I needed this.  I needed Eggers winding through his idea of the writing life like this—urging us to fidget and beguiling us with tales of what happens when teens read something they love.  They get excited.  They say what they think.  They press the words to their hearts. They inspire us writers who spend too much of too many days inside the lonely alone of striving.  "Their reactions can be hard to predict," writes Eggers, "and they're always brutally honest, but when they love something, their enthusiasm is completely without guile, utterly without cynicism."

I love Eggers for committing so much of his time to younger writers and readers.  I love him for reporting out from this work.  I love him for expressing so well what I feel myself, for I don't think I'd have made it through the past two weeks without kids—the young poets of Baldwin, the talented yearners of Norristown High, the utterly sensational personifiers of T/E Middle School.  They save me, these kids, every time.  They shake me from my fever, they restore my faith in now, they give me a reason to keep writing toward the real and daring—to keep hoping for the real and daring—when so much of my life is not about that at all.  

Yesterday, at the close of my T/E session, a young poet named Sarah showed me the work she had done during our time together.  It was ripe and brave, it was unguarded and true, it was tangled up with knowing.  It was a conversation I could enter, the salve I desperately needed.


Lilian Nattel said...

How alive that is Beth--your description of it for yourself and for Eggers and your connection with it.

naglem said...

Beth- the idea of the writing life being a grind infused with moments of inspiration is truthful and realistic....looking to young minds for those moments is the joy of being a teacher. Thank you for sharing this article.

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