After several mornings of get-up-and-go it seems I can't sleep past six, so I am here in bed on a Sunday morning listening to the airplanes overhead. I'll head back to Antioch in a few hours, missing the day's graduate presentations but in time for the Meet the Mentors panel. Despite my later start time today, with the core faculty's first night advice to honor our body/mind/spirit needs, last night I begged out early. Yesterday I had arrived on campus shortly before 8 a.m. for a long day of back-to-back Presentations, Lectures, Orientations, Readings, and Info sessions, and by the time I got my first ten minute break it was already 4 p.m. After the final class of library system orientation (aside: This national inter-library system will deliver books/dissertations/essays to my door. It's like Netflix for books. Brilliant!), I could feel my eyes rolling sleepily in their sockets and my blood sugar was on the floor. I skipped the night's Reading* and called Darby on the ride home to keep me awake at the wheel. It was only 5:30 p.m. but I was ravenous and ready to drop from fatigue.
(*Reading: to distinguish a live performance from a solo sit-down with a book, I'll capitalize the former.)
As I lay here this morning listening to Darby still sleeping beside me and the planes occasionally passing above, I've been thinking about my new community of Antioch writers. When I imagine what the general public might picture writers to be, I conjure a group of milquetoast individuals, quietly reading their books and bickering about grammar. The truth is, I am in mouth-gaping awe of these people. I am floored by the unwillingness to be swayed by anything short of Truth. They argue and question and write, write, write until they get past the false fronts. I am inspired by the unwavering quest to dig beyond the easy, past the cliche, despite the pleading of their family or the mask of social history. I don't know if there is a more courageous set than writers. Writers are true warriors who look at the world closely, behind the curtain, under the bed, out the window, always with eyes wide open to the external world, questioning their interior experience, self aware and willing to dismantle social conventions, unravel invisible passions, dig into sometimes painful and particular personal events in order to connect and uncover universal truths. Is there anything more innocent than a page? And yet on that innocuous slate, writers stab, cut, carve, and bleed, fighting with every word for the essence of Honesty and Truth.