In his letter to his brother, John Keats spoke of Shakespere's genius as being one demonstrating "Negative Capability," the ability to "live in mystery, without irritable reaching after fact..." The creative writing teacher needs to demonstrate this quality of being a chameleon in order to listen carefully to creative voices coming from a variety of backgrounds.
I'm coaching myself here, reminding self to keep an open mind, and not to pre-judge the graduate students. They may seem sealed off, arrogant even, but more likely they are anxious and feeling that so much depends upon their doing well in this class.
I'll meditate, practice letting go of my impatience, letting the hours be on my side, as the students learn to trust me. Like any good relationship, we have to build a common language.
The Dream of a Common Language--I need to reread Adrienne Rich's volume, especially "Transcendental Etude," which always reminds me how much risk is involved in writing well, in living honestly. Negative Capability meets the feminist dream. I'll let you know how it works out!
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.