Today I lectured at UBC to a 200 Level Fiction class and it was a profound and moving experience. It was the morning of the Ghomeshi ruling and verdict, and I was struggling with ideas around the value of storytelling. When it is so difficult to tell stories of abuse, with often no discernible pay-off, why do we do it? With their personal and triumphant answers, the students saved me that day. About the experience, the instructor had this to say the next day:
“You were incredibly generous, open, intelligent in challenging and provoking the students to take a look at a difficult issue and see it in different ways. Not only was the talk timely in the wake of the Ghomeshi trial, but it was also timely for the students because at this point in the term, after learning the basics of fiction writing craft, they were given an opportunity to see the bigger picture – social issues – and how their writing might address these issues. You gave them that…And in fact, you gave them something else: a deeply important experience in their education, an unforgettable milestone.”
Feedback like this is invaluable for an artist who writes about abuse.