A well crafted, well executed writing workshop is a beautiful thing.
I was introduced to my first workshop opportunity by a friend and mentor Peggy who acted with me in the production of Our Town a couple months ago. As she explained it, a writing workshop is facilitated by an instructor for a group of people with the sole purpose of writing, freely and without distractions. A room full of writers writing. Nurturing creativity. It sounded wonderful.
So I e-mailed Carol, one of Peggy’s close friends and writing facilitator, to gain access to this magical writing world of workshops. I learned that both Carol and her husband Robin led sessions three times a week from their home in Northampton. Each workshop begins with a meal: breakfast on Monday mornings and dinner on Wednesday and Thursday. After food, the participants retire to the living room for the reading of short prompts and the sounding of a small gong.
The collection of writers assembled on this particular Wednesday evening, curled up in arm chairs or resting on the sofas, paralleled the similarities of a box of 50 flavor jelly beans. No age, writing style or method of delivery was the same. But the group was familiar with each other, friendships had formed, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear that this was the 10th or 12th year at Carol and Robin’s home. Even as a newcomer, I felt connected by our mutual love of writing and the conscious effort to spend an uninterrupted three and a half hours to listen to good writing or sit alone, writing ourselves.
During the writing portion, I took my notepad upstairs and found a small table near the fireplace. This was my time to write anything I wanted, knowing my only obligation that night was to my creative self. Sentences bubbled forth, frothing and foaming into funny phrases and broken thoughts. No need to follow the rubric or stay within the lines. And please…leave all disclaimers and self-doubt at the door.
“The woman sitting next to me on the subway lets out a sigh. Its weight drops like dense iron balls ont the floor and rolls in all directions around the car. A younger woman with red lips picks up her feet as one of the balls rolls past. These heels cost $200 a piece and Ill’ll be damned if they get scuffed by the sighs of that maid. The heels return to the grooved metal floor of the subway car and turn away from the thick black sneakers. The young woman’s breathing is shallow and tight. She keeps her audible exhales in check-they are not suitable for public consumption.”
Apparently Katelyn writes fiction now too.