Writers read essays about finding beauty amid chaos

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Courtesy of Dr. Candice Mayhill

English professor Candice Mayhill joined four other writers to read essays they published in “Deep Beauty.” The book’s theme: finding beauty even in tough times.

Ryan Oberteuffer, Reporter

It’s possible to find beauty and happiness, even during chaotic times, six writers agreed in April as they shared essays about their search for happiness during the past year.

The virtual event, hosted by Writers Reading @ AACC, featured a panel of writers who shared essays for the book “Deep Beauty: Experiencing Wonder When the World Is on Fire.”

The panelists included AACC English professor Candice Mayhill and fellow writers who penned some of the book’s 41 essays: Ann Fisher-Wirth, Kim Dana Kupperman, Catherine Lee, Rosemary Winslow, Katherine Young and Rick Black.

“Despair … has long been considered one of the greatest sins against the Holy Spirit … [which] lives far deeper than the anxiety and dread that seem to characterize many aspects of our present times,” Fisher-Wirth, who has published six books of compiled poetry, said. “For me, perhaps, another name for [the Holy Spirit] is deep beauty.”

Winslow read an essay by Black, a former New York Times reporter in Jerusalem. Winslow told the audience Black found solace in haiku—a form of poetry that originated in Japan—while writing about his experience in Israel.

Winslow read from Black’s essay: “By writing haiku … I have found a way to put aside my protest for at least a few minutes each day, and to savor life in all its mystery. Can one find beauty in a land laden with violence, a land riveted by war, yet striving for peace?”

Mayhill said losing track of time has helped her enjoy life more.

Mayhill shared bird-related trivia with the audience. “These are things I failed to notice in my constant glancing down at my watch,” Mayhill said.

Tamlyn Corr, a fourth-year creative writing student, called the readings “inspiring and optimistic.”

“I enjoyed listening to all the authors, but I found Candice Mayhill’s piece especially creative and honest,” Corr added.