October 28, 2020
One of our SVSU Writing Center tutors (a science major) told us recently that NASA conducted an experiment where astronauts wore watches on their wrist the entirety of their time in space; when they returned home, their watches were a few seconds behind all those on Earth. It wasn't a glitch in their watches; it was an illustration of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Apparently, we can experience "time" in a different manner dependent on our location in space.
So time is relative, based on where we are physically in the moment. But we already know this, don’t we? After all, time drags on in the doctor’s waiting room, sitting in an uncomfortable chair during a seemingly endless meeting, or driving long hours in the car across the barren fields through a cold winter night. But time also may move more quickly when we are in other locations, particularly surrounded by people we love or doing things we deeply enjoy: getting lost in a delicious new book, wandering through the woods on a bright autumn afternoon, or (of course) writing. The idea that time can expand and contract based on our surroundings, which include space, people, and tasks, is important for us to remember right now. “It’s the time you have spent on your rose that makes your rose so important,” said Antoine de Saint-Exupery in “The Little Prince.” We should all spend our time, however fleeting, on the things that matter to us most.
With that in mind, we continue to be excited by the community writing center’s current offerings for the fall. In addition to individual consultations, we’ve got a great workshop coming up next month on “Writing Your Personal Memoir,” offering tips for crafting your own personal stories. And we’ve partnered with the Marshall Fredricks Sculpture Museum to offer a writing contest based on their current exhibit by Mark Beltchenko, “S.O.S.”, a provocative collection that prompts us to think more deeply about the current political, cultural, and environmental surroundings. These initiatives are important to all of us at the CWC, because if time is relative, then we want to spend it with you, our writers, listening to your own stories and experiences. To learn more about these events, visit our webpage at www.communitywritingcenter.com.
And in the spirit of writing and read, a great fiction book we want to recommend is “Anxious People” by Fredrick Backman. It’s a clever novel, filled with pithy insights and an interesting structure for its plot. A good book on the art of writing is Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” written by one of America’s most prolific authors. And a poetry collection we’d suggest is “Thomas and Beulah,” by former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove. Its parallel sections not only remind us of the importance of perspective, but also effectively model writing poems in a series.
We’d also like to share one of our community author’s newest short story collection with you all: “Neighborhood Stories: Divisions” by Jeff Vande Zande, a professor of creative writing at Delta College. This is a fascinating collection of stories that center around one neighborhood in the Midwest, and a series of short, intriguing narratives about the people that live there. If you’re interested in a model of how to create short fiction, this is worth reading.
As always, if you send us your reading suggestions, we’ll share them with our writers. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, take care, stay safe, and keep writing!
Helen and Chris