Saturday, October 02, 2004

Workshop Worked

Jody, Jim and I put on a workshop today at the Port Moody Library. We planned and promoted it to people who are "closet writers," ready to take the first step and dare to call themselves writers and do it in public. We kept it simple: introductions, a 5 minute free-write, round table discussion of why we write, some writing exercises and a book talk by the librarian. We don't see ourselves as experts. Our objective was to share some of our enjoyment of writing and perhaps attract some new members to our writing group.

What a wonderful, amazing time we had. Thirteen people came, 11 women and 2 men. Most told similar stories: I've been writing since I was little. I stopped writing because life got busy. Now I've started again, and it was frightening for me to come here, but I just have to find a way to get going with this thing I have to do. For a moment I felt way out of my depth, like I was unexpectedly presiding at some 12-step meeting, only nobody told me the steps or something. (Lucky thing Jim's a counsellor!) Then I remembered myself just 8 years ago, scared silly walking into my first meeting with the Shoreline Writers. I remember that I felt like such an idiot presuming that anyone might be interested in my poems and stories. But I was brave, I brought and read a story called Dinosaur Mom that I made up to convince the kids to eat their broccoli. Everyone at Shoreline was friendly and encouraging and told me I had to keep going with my writing. When I listened to the other writers there that day, I knew that I could learn from them and that I did belong there. I was worthy of this.

Witnessing some of the women going through this experience today was an unexpected joy and very special privilege. They came in tight as the buds on November rhododendron bushes, then began opening. Only they popped open like popcorn. Something like magic happened. They were laughing and reading out loud and saying things like, "I really want to be with other writers. Listen to me...other writers! I've never said that before." We did some writing exercises and they shared some of their spontaneous work, which was very very good. By the end of the three hours the room was filled with such a good feeling. For Jody, Jim and me, it was like some surge of wonderful power. Who knew it would be so awe-inspiring? But it was.

Now Jim wants to plan a series of workshops. I wonder if the Library would accommodate us? What fun it would be to watch this garden grow!

Question: Have you been waiting to do something?

mompoet - lucky, lucky, lucky

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