Letters, in particular, force us to think about who, what, when and why, before, during, and after we write. Letters cannot be “wrong” as a result; sure they can lack clarity or be hurtful, for example, but in most instances the purpose is fulfilled. In a letter to his nephew, James Baldwin wrote, “I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times.” He wants his reader to know that this was a hard thing to do. Personal.
In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, “Son… I write you in your fifteenth year. I am writing you because this was the year you saw Eric Garner choked to death for selling cigarettes…you must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.” Coates wants his son to remember this point. To breathe it in.
What happens when the answers to who, what, when, and where questions aren’t so clear? Join us for a two week workshop in which you will have the opportunity to engage an unknown recipient in a letter with a purpose of your choice in mind. In an increasingly globalized world, what do we want to communicate to someone we might not ever meet?
Workshop Facilitator: Alicia Richardson, Associate Professor in the Division of Liberal Arts at SUNY Schenectady
Tuesdays at 5:00 pm
SUNY Schenectady County Community College
March 5 & 12