I am feeling much more relaxed now that my lecture is over. I was a little worried being the 2pm slot, because it was after lunch, and the sun had just come out after a morning of icky rain. But there was a pretty good turnout. I'd given this kind of lecture to medical audiences in the past (medical students, residents, other doctors and allied heath care providers) but never to an audience of writers, and I was pleased by how well it was received. It also always helps to start with jokes: this one cracked them up totally:
Doctor: I have some bad news, and some very bad news.
Patient: OK. Give me the bad news first.
Doctor: Your lab tests are back, and you have only 24 hours to live.
Patient: That's terrible! What could possibly be worse?
Doctor: I've been trying to reach you since yesterday.
But, seriously, I think they enjoyed the ideas about poetry, medicine, and narrative competence. The idea of using poetry to express as well as to contain intense emotions and experiences. And I got to sneak in reading more than a few poems. (During the Q & A I even got a request to read "the C-section poem.")
My students are great. I'm really enjoying working with them. And it's been fun to hang out a little with some of the other presenters: Paisley Rekdal, Lesley Hazelton, Rebecca Brown are all just a hoot.
And there has been some incredible readings: particularly Debra Magpie Earling's reading of this devastating scene from her new book, about the ambush of a medicine woman by three men from another tribe. Brutal and beautfil and poetic. The image of them cutting her heart in two still haunts me.