Tin House ended last night with bleary-eyed writers smoking, drinking, dancing, nursing wounds, swapping email addresses, and planning cab rides to the airport. A DJ played soul music. One tired dancer swayed just fast enough to keep her hula hoop aloft, giving the impression of some sad Saturn gradually surrendering to entropy. After an intense week of readings, workshops, lectures, Q and A sessions, networking, interviews with agents, singalongs, meal tickets, and lack of sleep, the hula hoop dance was a metaphor. It mirrored our exhaustion and refusal to surrender. We would leave without a magic bullet, without an amulet, armed only with the knowledge that others like us were scattered across this weatherbeaten planet practicing the exacting art of storytelling. By midnight it was vague and blurry--something about truth and memory--but even when I said my goodbyes and staggered to my car fishing for my keys I could have told you one thing: there was work to do. Not right then, thank God. But soon, and forever. Fuckin' A!
Colson Whitehead guided our workshop of twelve writers. He is bright, clever, shy, direct, a good writer and teacher. Here he is, sans dreadlocks, on the second half of this Charlie Rose show. Read his opinion piece in the New York Times here.