With the Calvert County (MD) public library, New Bay Books publisher Sandra Olivetti Martin has been leading writing workshops focused on Ross Gay's "The Book of Delights," a bestseller. In October, two ZOOM workshops were held and a third Online & In-Person session is scheduled for Nov. 1. You can register here.
The Book of Delights was selected by Maryland Humanities as the title for 2021, aimed at bringing together diverse readers statewide through the shared experience of the same book. The book features Gay's short essays, written most days in a year's time with the goal of finding delights in everyday existence. Writers in the Calvert library workshop are producing their own delights by practicing Gay's approach and discipline. Here are some we're proud of. We invite yours.
Janice Lynch Schuster
The sky is autumn pink
But the trees are summer full
I cannot catch the light
With my camera
To show you
So let these few words remind you
How we woke in cold October
To the sky on fire with sun
Norma Allen Lesser
In the morning I move from the bedroom to the room with morning music and light. The tree outside the window is still bright green and protects me from the view outside. I remember when that tree was a mere skinny stick in the ground. After a few seasons there was young fragile baby green leaves, then strong bold teenaged leaves. Now I think my tree has stopped growing tall, the leaves are robust but in a few weeks they will turn yellow, then brown and be gone. In a few weeks, human time, in universe time merely a nano second. And through the thin brown branches, my view will return.
Not all princesses need rescuing. Holly had spent her formative years in a boarding school where she had gained few practical skills. I had grown up in a household where women cooked, cleaned and mostly, complained. Yet there we were: me with a screwdriver in hand and her reading aloud from the owner's manual of a 2010 Ford Escape. Within minutes, we had changed the light bulb and in doing so, fixed the blinker. We were free to make left turns safely. At night, we raised our Chardonnay-filled tumblers and congratulated each other for exceeding our girlhood expectations.
In Georgetown Hospital’s cold holding area, I was waiting to be called for my MRI test, when a kindly orderly came by and offered me a toasty, snuggable blanket, straight out of a warming cabinet. What a sensual delight! We got to talking and when I learned that he was from Liberia, I mentioned my trip to Africa. It opened up a door to an excellent conversation in which we shared our awe and excitement about the wonders of Egypt. Emmanual then started telling me about some of his adventures in the Middle East, when the radiologist showed up to escort me to the Imaging room. WelI, I was quite put-out at the interruption, sorry our chat had to end! What started out as a long, boring wait in a chilly, uncomfortable space, turned out to be a delight!
Janice Lynch Schuster
Early morning at the pool, swimming laps and kicking with the board, watching how others enter the water. I enter like a seal or a walrus, sliding down the edge of the wall feet first and completely, no dawdling for me lest the water be cold and take my breath away. Each swimmer has her own approach--some dip a toe in, then dive into the deep end. Those in the shallow water (like me) often swing their arms once or twice and jump. Others dip a toe, sense the cold, and wait a few moments, standing on the edge and surveying the twenty or so lanes of other swimmers, moving quietly along. Sooner or later, everyone must go all in. No one turns around once they have come this far.