Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Inner Game--a Tribute to Ken Macrorie

Ken Macrorie
Teacher, writer, friend, tennis player

When I arrived at Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont in the summer of 1981, I was cold, wet, and in culture shock. I had traveled there from the hot, high, dry desert plains of New Mexico where I was a new writing teacher at a high school in a reservation community.

On my first day in class, I met Ken Macrorie who got up to dance, doing his best interpretation of a Pueblo Indian ceremonial step, and said, “Back where I come from in New Mexico, this is how the Pueblo Indians focus their energies and minds. Watch. This is what writers need to do with their minds, too.” I decided at the moment to stay and learn something from this man.

Our text book was “The Inner Game of Tennis.” It was all about finding that other place in ourselves that knows instinctively how to hit the good shots, write the good piece, be a better person. This was Ken’s gift to me—work hard, be aware, and then let go with the intention of doing it right. Treat the other players/writers/students and their work with respect. Find your voice, tell the truth. Do the right thing.

I have learned that this works with tennis, writing, and now golf. In fact, it works with just about everything.

Thank you, Ken. Godspeed.

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