Literacy Block vs Writers Block

As I stated a few weeks ago on I at one time thought my collegiate career could bring me to  Columbia University to pursue writing. Those were the days that the New York City Ivy league school seemed attainable. Well, almost attainable. OK, not really, but it certainly did—and still does—warrant the respect that made the dreams of attending New York’s oldest institution of higher education. Instead I went the more secure route and attended art school. It took said art school and a few mentors who would set my entire career path to realize how many books I had not read in my youth. Books I find I am still making up for lost time. Growing up in New York’s Hudson Valley I was obsessed with Ichabod Crane, Rip Van Winkle, and the life of Washington Irving, though I was caught watching adaptations of his work more often than reading them. I am not sure where I first learned about him or his life—I do remember my neighbor John walking through the woods we used to haunt trying to convince me the fence posts were those that Rip himself put in nearly two centuries ago—but as I read through Irving’s wikipedia page to confirm the shadows of memories of facts once known, I found that I am not as unfamiliar with him as I would have thought. He and his circle were the seeds that brought about the desire to attend Columbia decades ago, to become and live the life of a writer. While I have written ever since the moment I set foot in art school, I never did make it to a class uptown. Oddly enough I have been obsessed with ol’ Van Winkle over the past month and this only heightened my long lost desires of an Ivy League education as I was on the Columbia campus at the end of March. I am indebted to my wife for making the dream come true, albeit in a free day of workshops tagging along with her as we listened to some of the leading minds from Teachers College. The first of the workshops with Lucy Calkins (above) set the pace for the rest of the day and made my little circles of literature and art come to life that weekend. On a late winter Saturday I studied in the halls of one of the greatest institutions in America and was reminded why I do what I do.—Dominick

I failed to see that ironically today is Washington Irving’s 236th birthday. Hopefully he is sleeping it off somewhere in the Kaatskills.

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