a community of writers

Yesterday was the very last session of the creative writing workshop I had been dreading and fearing and regretting ever signing up for, and of course I am very sad and blue and wish it had never, ever ended because every Tuesday nights, it was it was raining unicorn flower puppies made of peace and self-esteem. I had a good time, in other words. In case I had not made myself totally and completely clear.

There was the roomful of writers, most of whom were a little nuts and whose talent veered wildly up and down the spectrum, but all of whom were wonderful because they were there as writers, people who love making shit up and writing it down and telling stories and more stories and all the stories that are in their heads. This is what made me fall in love with each of them–they were readers who loved books, and writers who loved to talk about character and scene and point of view and what happens next, and next, and next. I think that is what I like best, about people who write: that they are always thinking about why something happened, and they are always thinking, “Okay, now what next?”

The instructor remained so cool and enthusiastic and smart, and J. (who took the class with me) and I are still arguing over who gets to be her best friend; then, another instructor came in to field the session on plotting, and I found that I wanted to have two best friends, and go out for group picnics and ride a bicycle made for three and bowl and eat cheese sandwiches and laugh and laugh and laugh, for that is what we will do, when we are all three of us best friends in the world. He was smart, and cool, and enthusiastic and articulate and I think he might be teaching the next workshop J. and I are taking, which is about writing flash fiction. I was overcome with relief, when I realized that this was our last class, but the flash fiction class starts next week.

I have to tell you the truth: it was also a pleasure to get the hell
out of the house. To see people besides E. and the boys, to have
something to look forward to, besides work, to have
practically-a-social-engagement, to meet people, to talk to people who
don’t know anything about me and might even form favorable opinions
about me and never learn of any of my terrible flaws. This is something
I have been needing for a long time, to start branching out and
beginning my own life and settling in. As I start settling into my
apartment, I need to start settling into my life.

That is why I went to the writing center’s web page and filled out a
volunteer application–I have indicated that I could absolutely be a
writing mentor or a writing coach, or just help around the office,
filing or something. My mouse hovered over the “workshop facilitator”
checkbox for a moment, and then I remembered that the idea of being a
mentor or coach, one-on-one, already scared the pants right off me and
made it somewhat uncertain whether I’d pick up the phone when they call–the idea of meeting people, being responsible, doing something
important and being relied upon. All things I want, all things that are
tough and therefore terrifying. Suggesting that I could lead a workshop
would make me actually expire and die when I recognized the number.

But I want to keep doing things that scare the hell out of me. I want
to keep pushing my comfortable boundaries, which have gotten too
comfortable, and which have started to become too binding. I want to
not only keep that good feeling, of Tuesday nights and people I like
very much who might become friends, but also I am filled with the
completely unironic feeling that this writing center performs an
important community service and that I want to be a part of that
community. And service it. But in a much more noble way than I did in
college. I am going to pick up the phone when they call and confess
that I am scared as hell and then suggest that we all go out for a
picnic and fly kites and have toast.

2 Replies to “a community of writers”

  1. Funny, the way you feel about your instructors is the way I feel about you, a person I’ve never met and yet look forward to hearing from each and every day. The writing workshop will be lucky to have you.

  2. Everything that Audrey said… they’ll be so lucky to have you as part of their community.
    And maybe me and you and Audrey can be BFFs and bike ride to a cheese-sandwich picnic?

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