Inside MAI Blog: Thoughts on global publishing
Treats from the Literary Cafe
Asked to describe Winston Churchill’s tastes in food and drink, an aide quickly replied, “He’s easily pleased with the best of everything.”
During a Literary Café on the last night of the A Rocha/MAI writer workshop in South Africa, participants shared a little of “the best of everything,” reading aloud excerpts from their work.
One by one, men and women in the various tracks-- autobiography, Biblical engagement, fiction and poetry—carried their laptops or notebooks to the front of the room. Frowns and nervous grins showed on some faces: Giving public reading to one’s work can be unnerving!
But the overall quality of their writing, produced in just a few days, impressed everyone and alternately provoked laughter, deep thinking and even tears.
I found myself wondering: How many of the finished poems, stories and books begun in this workshop would eventually find their way into the hands of South African readers?
It was hard to believe this precious time of learning and camaraderie was drawing to a close. As such, Sally Argent’s poem, “Going Home,” resonated deeply in the group:
I am taking my leave of this place of
fynbos, mountains, sea,
of whispering reeds and evening light,
the call of the nightjar at dawn.
The world I created in my sand tray
is unpacked and put away.
For a moment, I stare into the void –
the quiet when people have left,
the space that’s empty now.
Pausing, as I think of home-coming
the sap rises,
and I hear my welcome waiting from the family
and anticipate the coming joy
of unpacking my suitcase;
the notes I have made, the books I have bought,
the writing I have done,
the bag of skills I have gathered,
the memory of people, conversations,
and in this moment I know I will
lovingly find a place to put them all,
new treasures to adorn my life.
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