Today I met with my Creative Writing class for a final send-off. We met at the English Department conference center for a breakfast consisting of strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, muffins, coffee, orange juice, and sliced cheese. In effect, Gary was holding a salon, in the old sense of the word, a gathering place for artists, wherein we read pieces from our work to fellow writers. We applauded each piece by thumping our hands on the table, a tradition, Gary informed us, that started in Britain in the early 1800s. It was brought over to the Americas during the time of the Continental Congress as a means of agreement in the gathered company.
Gary told us we should never pass up an opportunity to touch a writer's desk. He himself has laid hands on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Robert Frost's desks, among others. This, of course, was a mistake to tell us--there was a sudden and violent outcry that we march into Gary's office immediately and manhandle his desk. He will now find students at all odd hours of the day resting their hands on his desk to absorb by wonderful osmosis the powers of this Newbery winner.
To my fellow crewmembers of the class, I salute you for a job well done.
May your sails be always filled.
May fair weather guide you kindly to exotic shores.
May you ride the high-crested waves of greater seas and warmer waters yet.