while I was here — but there was no time, so here I am, on my last night here, playing catch up, trying to capture this incredible week here in at The Key West Literary Seminar and Writers Workshop. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the theme this year was “how the light gets in: literature of the spirit.” The seminar runs from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon. Some of us who received scholarships and financial aid were asked to choose either Friday or Saturday morning to attend or skip, and I chose to skip Friday morning, visiting the Hemingway House instead.
Saturday afternoon began with a talk and reading from Mary Rose O’Reilly who quoted Gerard Manley Hopkins: “What I do is me and for that I came.” Her take on those words: “If you don’t bring your face of God into the world, that face of God doesn’t get brought into the world.” During a conversation between Robert Richardson and Coleman Barks, “What Can We Really Say About Spirit?” — the invocation of Rumi (thanks to translator Coleman Barks) and his poem, “The Guest house.”
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Both Coleman and Robert Richardson talked about the word “consider” — whose Latin roots mean “study the stars.” Words, they reminded us, are objects first. “Stick to things; words will follow.” Sound advice for writing! More to follow…