Friday, June 24, 2011

John Schimmel on Soul's Road

The photograph is of the road and parade ground that runs down the middle of Washington State's Fort Worden, the west coast campus of Goddard College's low residency MFA Creative Writing program.   Behind the camera is the row of pre-WWI officers' houses students live in during the residencies.  That road was sort of the Soul's Road for me.  There was the city bus that passed by in a strange near-silence that always put me in mind of the train that ran through the water in the film SPIRITED AWAY.  A totally apt reminder since I always thought Fort Worden was probably haunted and certainly some sort of a spiritual nexus. For my second residency I had a room with a view of the Admiralty Inlet and a fireplace.  I developed a routine that lasted for the rest of my residencies:  I would get up early, make my own breakfast and bring it to my room, write for an hour, spend the day at workshops and master classes and readings and in the commune of writers in the "Servery," then come back for a cup of tea and a fire and another hour of writing.  There was something about traveling back and forth across that road and then the parade ground that had about it a Hogwarts air, like we were traversing some great divide into a magical world to learn to be wizards and draw out our own souls for examination and, on good days, healing. 



  1. Oh, man, this is making me almost weep that we're not all about to head back in July and read stories and poems and plays and hoist mugs.

  2. I'm with you, Sidney! Thank you, John, for taking us back.