When the body fails us, we are forced to focus on it. How could we not? Yet how many times have you heard this: “For heaven’s sake, other people’s ailments are boring. No one wants to hear about me.” Fortunately, Chinese writer Lu Hsun, who provides the title for this workshop, would beg to differ. Along with many other writers—Joan Didion, Jorge Luis Borges, Richard Selzer, M.F.K. Fisher—Lu Hsun explored illness and health in personal, poignant essays.
During this weekend retreat, we will read some published work. Most of our time, however, will focus on your own memories—as patients, as caregivers, as health professionals—as we write from class exercises and read them aloud. No earlier experience or previous writing is required, but feel free to bring work-in-progress (1-2 pages) for a brief workshop Sunday afternoon.
Cecile Goding (M.F.A., University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop; M.F.A., University of Iowa Program in Nonfiction Writing) comes from Florence, South Carolina where, in her late thirties, she took creative writing courses at her local university. She has worked for adult literacy nonprofits, libraries, polyester mills, computer companies, neighborhood centers, and a Saudi Arabian prince. Her poems, essays, and short fiction have appeared in newspapers, in literary journals, and around town. She encourages everyone to find one serious (but not too serious) writing partner and to buy from independent bookstores.