she’s a lot of things, but she’s not gentle. i don’t know why i thought maybe she would be, but it makes sense. i imagine that toni morrison is not gentle. that margaret atwood is not gentle. evelyn lau is gentle though, and i imagine dionne brand to be gentle, but they’re poets. anyways, it was humbling to participate in a writing workshop with miz maracle, a writer that inspired me so much during my undergrad (and though i read her stuff voraciously at the time, i can’t remember very much, just the way she wrote about raising her kids to let them do whatever kids do-daughters tearing up a couch is a vivid image). i think if i was who i was then and met who she is now, it would’ve wrecked me. but because i am who i am now, and she probably isn’t who she was, i’m ok because of it. i say that because she will have absolutely no idea who i am beyond this point. we did a brief exercise on writing short story (my first mistake, since it’s not my medium) and, because i missed my workshop this week (to perform in officially the most awkward event of my career), i volunteered for slaughter. i read what i wrote, and she told me, “you’re waxing philosophical. you have no story. nothing happened. that’s about getting old. you know how you write that? look in the mirror. age yourself. look at your mother.” and ironically, i was trying to write my mother, but i haven’t seen her for 26.5 years, so it’s absolutely apt that i have no story. she did redeem me though, at the end, when she pointed out that the four people who did the exercise were the writers in the room. the rest just wanted to be. she reminded us not to write everyday conversation because our lives are really not that interesting. she “plays god” with books that contain that kind of dialogue, because it’s a sign that there is all kinds of other useless information, which pretty much confirms my recent executive decision not to follow through with sistah souljah’s novel (sorry, homegirl. i will check your non-fiction though) she had a lot of punchliney things to say (which i will tweet promptly) and was shameless in asking for her honorarium, so it’s not like i didn’t learn anything. she also reminded us that every child born is born out of love, because we know very well by now how to kill children before they get here. again, not gentle, but hey-squeaky wheels get the grease, right?