Yesterday, at the College of the Ouachitas in Malvern, I visited with a creative writing class and then read from Underwater Panther outside in the Atrium. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day, in terms of place or people. My old friend and colleague Jason Hancock and new friend and fellow artist Tricia Baar and the COTO library helped me feel at home, and the students were engaging and open. To read by climbing roses in April in Arkansas while a phoebe repeats its name–it doesn’t get any better than that.
What is your passion? I asked each student in the class. They seemed comfortable in their skin in a way that enabled them consider this question better than I could when I started in the same class back in the day. The box that the world and I took turns putting me in (be a good girl, be seen not heard, know your place) is something that I still see. But art breaks down walls, and I’m thankful.
With appreciation to COTO for celebrating the power of words to move us in a good way.