oh such a (bad) writer I was: three talks this week

Monday, May 9, 2016

This week I'll be giving three different talks on three very different topics. I've been in the midst of preparations.

The first, this Tuesday evening, is a keynote on behalf of Historic RittenhouseTown, birthplace of paper in British North America and home to David Rittenhouse, a polymath of such considerable renown that Philadelphia's largest square bears his name. I'll be talking about my recent visit to this historic site (the topic of my Sunday Inquirer story, a link to which is here). But I'll begin by reflecting on my own relationship to paper. Which necessarily involves my reflections on my life as a writer. Which means that I must confess what a poor writer I was.


I may have been an angsty adolescent, but my darkest secret involved nothing more than this: a box of watercolors, a drugstore paintbrush, a Bic pen, and a series of blank books with Naugahyde covers. I painted the pages of those books to buckling saturation. I waited, impatiently, for them to dry. Afterward, alone on my roof or in the shade of a tree, I Bic-scratched into those multitonal hues such awe-invoking grandeur as this:
A daffodil dons her yellow skirt,
Smoothes out the ruffled pleats of the hem,
Places her fringed bonnet on her tiny head
. . . and goes out for tea.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160508_Before_we_write_the_words__papermaking_is_its_own_story.html#3pMPqLCegIF7QgBX.99
On Thursday I'll be joining Leadership Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to mobilizing and connecting the talent of the private sector to serve the greater needs of the community. I'll be part of a much larger agenda, offering thoughts on home and a writing workshop to the 120 members of the current core class.

Over the weekend, I'm on a very secret mission. But I can't talk about that one yet.


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