They’ve gone. They’ve packed their laptops, narratives and memories of a week together on the Amalfi Coast. Here, they read and critiqued (with love) each other’s work. They laughed and cried and hugged and, when parting, swore to stay in touch. We all ate meals so irresistible it seemed we could raise funds for the Praiano Writers program by selling elastic pants.
You’ll be hearing from these people. They write fiction and memoir because they have no choice but to do so. They have carried for too long the ideas and the memories in their heads, and so the books are coming. We thought this all week, but particularly on Thursday night.
It seemed by then that we couldn’t top Wednesday evening’s show. Wally Lamb, one of our three faculty members, read his piece about a book tour appearance at a Costco in Illinois. As he unfolded the tale, I looked around the room and thought that an EMT might be required — someone who knows how to resuscitate people who are dying of laughter.
But on Thursday night the students demonstrated that they, too, could craft stories that provoke strong reaction. One by one they read what they had written about love and loss and life and lunacy. One of them sang to us. Another read a powerful essay that, putting the lessons of the week to use, she’d written within the last 24 hours. Her classmates were thrilled for her, and, in a way, for themselves because they had encouraged and helped her, and so became a part of her triumph.
And now they’ve gone. On to California and Virginia and Connecticut and Illinois and their writing lives. We wish them all many happy endings.