Last month, I facilitated my first writing workshop, one that included an atypical group of writers. Those who sat around the table weren’t budding undergraduates or emerging writers in an MFA program. They weren’t even a group of Moms on the run, searching for tips on finding time to write (my imagined first audience). The people I led in workshop were of an older generation, men and women from a retirement community, who came together simply because they love to write. And, they needed a guide.
I’m a good forty years younger than most of the folks at the table, and on that first day I wondered what I might have to share, really. How I might relate. Sure, I write daily, have a few stories out there, but my stories – and my style – must be so different from theirs.
During our hour together, they read their stories and then we talked about creative fiction versus non. I got all fired up: stood up and started waving my arms and talking too loud. It was a necessary display in some ways, because one person was having trouble hearing. Still, I might have waved my arms regardless.
Once I saw that they were eager to come back, I gave them an assignment for the next time we meet.
And, as something different here (and to keep me on my toes there), I’ll be posting our monthly writing prompt. This assignment is yours, too, if you want it.
Last month, Sarah Baughman wrote a post about moving to a new place, and about nostalgia, and she explained for me, in just a few sentences, why I return again and again to a certain time or place in my past:
I’ve lived on four continents in my adult life, more than I ever thought I’d even see. It has been my good fortune but also my heartache. A character in one of John Cheever’s many strange and wonderful stories says, “When you’re in one place and long to be in another, it isn’t as simple as taking a boat. You don’t really long for another country. You long for something in yourself that you don’t have, or haven’t been able to find.” The statement rung partly true but also puzzled me until today, when I realized that in my case, the things in myself I always look for are, in fact, the pieces of myself which have surprisingly grown and taken hold in all the different places I’ve lived, and which will never leave me.
Think about a time or a memory that you return to again and again. Write about that event/experience/person you left behind. If you’d like to write this as fiction, consider embellishing the story or creating a new character in place of yourself.
If nothing else, go read Sarah’s post.
You can’t help but be inspired.
* Photo credits: kakisky and cohdra on morguefile.com and Zaprittsky on flickr.com
Pass it on.