Day 14: Rumi, Emily Finn, and Anthony Doerr

This Day 14 of my 1000-Day MFA, a DIY education project I’ve undertaken that I learned about from writer Shaunta Grimes. You can read more about how I’m engaging with it here. By the way, there often is no rhyme or reason to how I choose the poems, essays, and short stories. These three selections were made at random, but for me they share a strange, haunting coherence.

Photo by Annika Thierfeld from Pexels

Poem: How Did You Get Away

by Rumi


Essay: It Starts With Blood

by Emily Finn


Short Story: The Hunter's Wife

by Anthony Doerr



How Did You Get Away

Rumi's poems often speak in mystic riddles. This one bears sitting with, reading, rereading, sometimes aloud. Let yourself marinate in it. Let it soak in the early morning hours of your day. The line that won't leave me alone:

You went like an arrow to the target

from the bow of time and place.

The man who stays at the cemetery pointed the way,

but you didn't go.


It Starts With Blood

This was #1 of the 2018 #MeToo Essay Award Winners. It is difficult, important and timely subject matter. The writing is impeccable.


I have no idea who Emily Finn is. I googled her and found someone by that name, a young woman, with a twitter account, and her most recent post is this: :"New preprint with @layerfMRI, @djangraw and @fMRI_today: Using high-res fMRI at 7T, we find evidence for layer-specific activity in human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during different epochs of a working memory task."


Somehow I don't think this is the woman who wrote "It Starts With Blood," but the world is mysterious and just strange enough so that she might have.


No matter. Someone brave and brilliant named Emily Finn wrote this piece, and I'm grateful to her for it.


From the standpoint of a writer's craft, she clued the reader into a trauma survivor's coping mechanisms by switching from first person point of view to third person narration in the middle of the story--a compelling technique.


The Hunter's Wife

Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See, takes us with him into the deep winter, where we enter into the souls of hunted animals, into his own wolf-hunted sleep, and into his wife's gift for hunting visions from the great beyond.


When I'd finished reading, I was sure there would be melted snow to clean up, or a fire to bank. But no. I was still in my home on Long Island, reaping that rich reward--the sweet ache of Not Ready Yet when you've come to the end of a really great story. And I yearned to make any kind of contact with the hunter's wife, so I, too, could feel what she was seeing.


Please. Take a spoonful of time. Sit somewhere quiet. Or, hell, go to Starbucks and sit down at the table in the corner. Then notice how the background music, the clicks and hisses from espresso machines, the people gossiping right next to you, all dissolve as you disappear into this wonderful story.

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