Dear Creative Writing Community,
I'm writing to check in with you during this heart wrenching time. I really appreciated President McBride's personal and powerful statement about the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath, and I was very glad to finally have someone like him in his position at The New School, writing about systemic and institutionalized racism, acknowledging that anger is an appropriate response to being terrorized.
This next year is not going to be "normal," in any way, but in spite of, or because of everything going on, I feel a kind of urgent hope. In this moment of pain, there's also clarity, with brutal reminders all around us that as bell hooks writes, we live in a "imperialist white supremicist capitalist patriarchy." The old normal hasn't worked. We've all been hurt by this system. We don't need to rush back to the old ways of doing things. We have a chance to write and teach and live in ways that make real change possible. What we do in the coming months can be better--more equitable, more full of love--than what we did before.
My dad recently retired after a very long career as a labor and civil rights lawyer. He's also deeply religious, and so I was kind of shocked when he told me that after all he'd seen, he didn't think that it was possible to change anyone else's mind. "If you want people to change their behavior, get a consent decree," he said, a much more cynical view than I imagined he had. But what he also meant is that the only person you can really change is yourself. We're not lawyers, not most of us anyway, and consent decrees may be out of our reach, but we do know how to work hyper-locally, on the page and in our hearts and heads. This is not to discount the political work that so many of you are engaged with.
I'm glad that we'll be working together over this next year to build an even better program, a stronger community.
Strength and Courage,
Director, Creative Writing Program