The Fox at Dawn

Hindman: The Appalachian Writer’s Workshop
July 29, 2019, 8:45 am
Filed under: Art of the Day, Writing | Tags: ,
Drawn with graphite and clippings from the new mowed grass on the hillside.

Hindman. All of us are mourning the end of the week, all of us are facing the return home. So it seems from the social media posts and the sudden rush of friend and follow requests I’ve gotten. We are sorry to leave with good reason. It is a holy place, a place where one feels whole. So many people have passed through there or have settled and made lives there, and all of them have had one ambition- to become better. To learn. To teach. To grow. Teachers, students, artists, musicians, writers, historians, activists- a hundred and seventeen years of people finding their voice and losing their fear to make it heard. The old cabins, the new buildings, the paths, the hills, the trees, the beloved footbridge over Troublesome Creek – the place is soaked in spirit and we are thirsty for it.

But it is also us. I am using the plural pronoun because when I go to Hindman I become part of we. We come to know each other quickly, outside of the context of the roles we play in our families, outside of where we live, how we live, the jobs we do in the world. We know each other through our writing, our soul’s desire to come to terms with life, made manifest on the page. We share meals (never underestimate the power of three well-cooked meals served punctually in the life of a writer), we share sleeping quarters, we walk to class together, discuss our work there, listen to readings of other people’s work, we sing, stay up all hours swapping stories and do it again the next day. We find that for at least one glorious week, our work matters. And that is what we want to hold fast to, that is what I want to defend from the demands of my workaday life. We are all sorry to leave that place, but grateful, oh so grateful to know it is there.

On Friday night, Dorothy Allison (oh my god, oh my god in heaven, Dorothy Allison) sent us off with this benediction: “Now get the fuck out of here and go shout!”

Imagined landscape drawn with leaves and flowers from the Hindman gardens while listening in on Robert Gipe’s class.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thank you.

Comment by E. Gail Chandler

Well and truly said.

Comment by Lonormi Manuel

Love reading your observations and celebration of your time at Hindman. So glad you had this respite and renewal.

Comment by Anne Stanley Hoffman

So glad you had a wonderful week.

Comment by Florence Lee Wescott

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