I found my way to Alaska again. This time I am working with the creative writing faculty for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Curious turn of events (networking and chance) how I ended up with this gig: it turns out writers (some of 'em, anyway) are interested in more than writing. I am interested in the embodied nature of writing, in trying to understand it not only as a cerebral craft but as something that involves our entire being.
So, that makes me the exercise and "invention" guy. I'm the one (but not the only one) who will get participants out of their chairs and moving about and then reflecting on movement as something that also happens on a page.
Sitting in the auditorium at the openning kick-off of the festival, I am struck by the richness of the arts in this far north little town. The breadth of programs in this 30 year-old festival includes lots of music (classical, jazz, world, celtic, opera, etc), a little drama, visual arts (painting and photography), healing arts, some dance, some film, and creative writing. But I also struggle a bit with identity "crisis" -- where do I fit in this mix? I, a cartoonist, solo-performer, poet, blogger, social media artist, seem to ride the cusp and cracks of so many of these "fine" arts.
And so I land in the creative writing program, but this is unlike many creative writing programs. Here we not only practice poetry and essays in writing circles, we also make handmade books and (thanks to me) explore stage pictures and dynamic movement and improvisational sound production. And I'm pretty sure the participants are eager for the opportunity. Here, on the frontier, there circulates a rich community of folks eager to create and to combine, to explore in new ways, to abandon rules and conventions, and to set out into new and uncharted territories. God love 'em!
But so, how will it go? Well, time permitting, I'll check in with my perspective. But if you are curious, you might follow one of our "students" (an accomplished science fiction novelist) at her blog where she will be (I believe) filing daily reports of what she learns with us. I hope we don't let her down; I'd hate to become the model for a vile alien parasite in a future novel. A writer's revenge is never something to be taken lightly!