Note to readers: My friend Katie Rose Guest Pryal (who is also a talented novelist) and I are writing letters to each other and cross-posting on each other’s blog. Check out her site here, and see our previous letter in my archives. 


Dear Lauren,

We’ve been writing about how we met 14 years ago at a writer’s workshop, and I was just thinking: Now we’re both teaching workshops. I’m teaching narrative writing through a university here in my town, and you teach book arts at the very same retreat in the mountains where we first met.

The students are now the teachers. That’s a trip.

I wrote a blog post recently about how amazing my creative writing students are. How brave and bold and kind and full of spirit. I think you have to be brave to sign up for a writing (or any arts) workshop. In the end, what are you doing in a workshop but saying—to what are probably total strangers—“Here, here is the work of my soul. Do your worst.”

Most people, probably, would rather jump off a cliff.

So I adore my students. From your instagram feed, I can tell that you adore your students, too. Your students’ creations are incredible. I don’t have to be in the room to know you are a great teacher.

Today, at the end of class, my students clapped. They actually clapped. It’s not even the last class. I called my husband and told him, and he asked, “Did you blush?”


And you know me. I blush for no one. But I didn’t mind. These courageous, kind, bold, brave students can make me blush all day long.

I’ve been bringing them books as presents, too. I’m going to run out of books if I keep doing this, but you’ve seen my house—I’m overrun by books. So today I brought in books to give out as gifts, books that might inspire, or help lead a new writer down a new path. It felt good to give away books that had once inspired me.

It felt good to become the teacher.

Talk soon,