I attended the Lighthouse Writers Workshop facilitated book discussion group on Friday, April 18, along with a number of LAC members and other participants interested in literature. The book being discussed was Marilynne Robinson's "Housekeeping". A National Endowment of the Arts grant to the Lighthouse Writers Workshop allowed for distribution of free copies to organizations such as the LAC, which participated in the "Big Read". Books were available at the gallery in February, and takers were encouraged to sign up for the book discussion event.
Dan Manzanares, Creative Curator and staff member of the LWW, and educated in the literary arts, led a "generative" session for our book discussion which delved into the meaning, mechanics and mental images of the novel. This generative approach was achieved by four different prompts, asking us to respond by sketching our reaction, or writing a brief response.
In prompt #2, we examined a mysterious section of the book which made us question reality and how it is experienced by Ruthie and Sylvie, the two main characters.
Water was an all-encompassing theme in this book, in all its forms: ice, snow, flood, rain, lakewater. As a metaphor for consciousness, we again examined a section of the book and visually or literally recorded our response to it. And lastly, speculations were shared: the author's methods, mechanics, our thoughts on how the book fit into the events of the time period. Although consensus was that it presented a dreary overtone, with a lack of plot, her writing was lyrical and enjoyable to experience and the discussion session was beneficial in not only understanding the book itself, but made us examine our own reactions to it.