“Be in Love with Yr Life”*: A Spring On-Line Writing Course with The Book of Mev
by Mark Chmiel
It’s a book about living and loving and losing and being human through
all of it—thank you for helping me accept more of my own humanity.
I’ve often noticed how many readers recognize themselves in Mev Puleo’s words, say, from her letters and journals. I’m reminded of the French novelist Marcel Proust, who wrote: “In reality every reader is, while she is reading, the reader of her own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable her to discern what, without this book, she could perhaps never have perceived in herself.”
In this on-line writing class, I invite you to read (or reread) and write off of stories, themes, and questions from The Book of Mev.
I hope that engagement with this particular text may give you insight and encouragement on a writing project you’re in the middle of or one you’ve long wanted to start. It could be a series of letters to someone, a blog, a long and rambling essay, a one-act play, a chapbook of poems about life in Wauwatosa. You know what is inside you calling for more attention.
We’ll explore topics like being present, community, accompaniment, faith, spirituality, the state of the world, the state of our soul, friends, mentors, teachers, creative arts (e.g., photography), travel, breakdowns, breakthroughs, solidarity, illness, celebrating, grieving, letting go, poetry, El Salvador, Palestine, Haiti, schools, gospels, letter-writing, gratitude, bearing witness, and much else.
Here are the specifics:
How Often: 8 weeks
Start and Stop: Monday 11 April-Monday 30 May
How Much: 60-75 minutes a week, more if you have the energy
- On Mondays, I will email an agenda for your consideration in the week ahead.
- Do what reading and writing you can, when you can (break up the agenda into two or three time slots over a few days, if that makes sense).
- I encourage you to share your writing or thinking with a friend face to face, if that is possible.
- I welcome you to send to the class email your own writing and/or anything that crosses your mind, such as topics, questions, and ahas.
- I will post people’s writings on my blog (holditall.wordpress.com) with your permission.
- I will connect kindred spirits to the best of my ability.
- I am happy to correspond (via USPS), text, chat, phone, or email you, as you like.
Essential book: The Book of Mev
Recommended texts: Diane di Prima, The Poetry Deal; Sebastiao Salgado, Other Americas
Recommended film: También la lluvia [Even the Rain]
Please contact me if you are interested in this class! Or pass this information on to someone who might be looking for some time and support for writing.
Present moment, wonderful moment,
*Jack Kerouac, epigraph to The Book of Mev