Wordstock – a writing conference in workshop format – was held at Portland’s beautiful convention center on Martin Luther King Boulevard. The first day, Friday, was planned with teachers in mind, offering small group sessions aimed specifically at teaching writing in the classroom setting. Sponsored by Borders Books and Starbucks Coffee, presenting workshops on everything – from Writer’s Block to Catalogue Poetry to Evaluating Student Writing – by great writers, teachers and poets. What’s not to like?
Soon the proceedings started. The speaker offered a “valuable prize” for anyone who could tell what “Starbucks” was named after. My hand shot into the air, and when called upon, I bellowed “Starbucks was the first mate in Melville’s Moby Dick!“ Applause surrounded me as the speaker’s eyes lit up, “You have won FIVE Starbucks gift cards – worth $25.00. Come up here, please!” On my way to the podium, I was congratulated by dozens of people, who pleaded, “You can give me ONE of those gift cards!”
And, in every workshop session I attended, when we did the practice part? I wrote about a world where there is a tea shop in every neighborhood. Comfortable places where one is given access to not only great tea, but also a vessel that heats pure, cold water to the perfect temperature, depending on the tea. Beautiful as well as functional teapot and cups are available in cozy little dens of near privacy where one can be alone or not.