Getting the gift

WUTHERING HEIGHTS is – lives in – the intersection of love and loss; of desire and death. (And one outlasts the other.) Working on its nerve performance adaptation is a gift, but one I’d never imagined being given. All the best gifts are that way.

I went to the Clarion workshop, to learn about writing and about being a writer; not the same thing. I remember asking Kate Wilhelm, in our final-day, post-workshop meeting, “Should I do this? I’m going to – but should I?” And I remember her answer as off-hand, amused by the question; the pure shrug of it – of course; why would you do anything else with your life? – as, maybe, what I had come to learn in the first place.

In her book STORYTELLER: WRITING LESSONS AND MORE FROM 27 YEARS OF THE CLARION WRITERS’ WORKSHOP, I was delighted to find myself in a roster of writers she recalls – Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Eileen Gunn – and “Kathe Koja, unaware yet of the potency of her dark, sexual symbolism” – yes! That given gift of awareness took me from the workshop into all these years of my working life, through stories and books, and now, into writing for performance and leading an ensemble.

Who knows what gifts we have to give? – not even us, maybe. Until we’re told.

Thank you, Kate.

Kate Wilhelm Storyteller

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