Write Words “Fresh and Unfamiliar”

I had the opportunity to offer a Write Hot! workshop for the CIPA (Colorado Independent Publishers Association) College last weekend, a stunning event despite the blizzard! 
In fact, the sun shone bright the whole weekend.

An illustrious group of participants attended,  including Eric Kampmann, President of Midpoint Trade Books and Beaufort Books. To my great surprise, as a keynote speaker on Saturday, Eric began his presentation with glorious praise of this  Write Hot! Kitchen Table Writing workshop.  Here is the entry that he wrote during our session. 

Thank you, Eric for the words of praise at CIPA College.

  Apparitions  by Eric Kampmann

I spent last weekend in Denver at an independent publisher conference. Though I was a speaker, I had an opportunity to sit in on a two hour writing seminar lead by Anne Randolph, an excellent writing coach.  Anne led us through three exercises and the first was to write for five minutes starting with the word “unfamiliar.”  Here is what I came up with:

Unfamiliar faces crowd the confined space of the stalled car. No one speaks. We are strangers,  riding toward our individual destinations. We have unexpectedly paused and the sudden silence causes unease. The faces are impenetrable masks, revealing nothing of the complicated stories lying below the surface. Eyes avoid eyes and some peer out the darkened windows toward grey, soot packed walls that encase us here. Then relief: The train jolts into action and moves forward, slowly resuming speed and carrying each one of us on our singular journey toward an assignation that will add yet another chapter to each of our fragmentary books.

Ezra Pound is the father of this short piece of writing. In college I had memorized a two line poem he had written early in the 20th Century. It goes like this: “The apparition of these faces in a crowd/pedals on a wet black bough.”

His blog: www.EricKampmann.blogspot.com

Eric M. Kampmann
Midpoint Trade Books, Inc
27 West 20th Street
New York, New York 10011


Eric Kampmann is the president of Midpoint Trade Books. Previously, he
served as Vice President and Director of Sales for Simon &
Schuster, and held similar positions at St. Martin’s Press and Viking
Press. Over the past twenty-five years, Eric has taught at several
prominent universities, including Harvard, Columbia, New York
University and Hofstra. The main focus of his teaching has been in the
areas of book publishing, but he has also taught courses in English
Literature. He has also taught and participated in innumerable bible
studies at local churches in and around Fairfield County, Connecticut.
He holds an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a graduate
degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  He is the
author of three books: The Tree of Life, The Book Publisher’s Handbook: The Seven Keys to Publishing Success with Six Case Studies, and trail thoughts.