Post-election letter from Goddard MFA Director Elena Georgiou

 

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Elena Georgiou is the author of Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants and mercy mercy me, which won a Lambda Literary Award for poetry and was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Award. Georgiou has won an Astraea Emerging Writers Award, a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, and was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Georgiou is originally from London, England, where she spent the first twenty-seven years of her life. Since then, she has lived in the US — first in Brooklyn, now in Vermont.

We are huge fans both of Elena Georgiou and Goddard College, and Elena’s letter to students today, published at Goddard’s MFA-CW blog, The Writer in the World, is worth repeating for the benefit of all writers.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dear MFAW people,

I’m guessing that, for the majority of you, your first desire to write was a way to express an emotion that you were having difficulty feeling or understanding. Or it might have been an early attempt to document, to explore the world in which you lived. But then you grow up and reality kicks in big time, and reality can be an obstacle to working with your imagination.  It can mess with your mind. If you’re not careful it can catch you with your guard down and say things like: Oh please, you think your little poem is going to change the plight of people living as refugees? You think your little novel is going to make people think about a compassionate society that cares for its citizens?

In response to this voice, we can choose to focus on the value of the conversation that our writing will prompt with our audience. Because, as writers, we are not only recorders of history and memory, we are also striving to be forward-thinkers and visionaries.  Our job is to promote thought, to witness, to explore, to dream, and above all, to create connection.

I know that many of us are having a difficult time with the outcome of the election.  Remember that we are a community: a community of writers, whose role in our society is to attempt to witness, document, invent, and imagine a different kind of future.  Imagination is our strength. Faith is our call to action….

Read the entire post at The Writer in the World.