I'm back! I have not been able to carve in time during my days to write a blog. I also have not had much to say. But today I finally got to catch up on cleaning my room (like changing my sheets for the first time in five weeks--oh gross! Hope I will have time to keep up with important things like that in the future.) So I spent most of the day doing laundry and picking up my room, while watching "Twilight." My DVD has skips in it, I can't figure out why. (ha ha)
At 4:00pm I left to go to a writing group. A co-worker of mine invited me to a group that her mother attends. I was a little nervous. I have been around writers and they are very protective of their writing groups; the number is limited to a small amount of members and they won't let just anyone come along. So I was hoping it would be okay with the woman whose home it was if someone she doesn't know joins the group. I planned on testing the waters today and going from there as to whether I would join the group. The woman's house is located off Main Street downtown. It took me a little over a half hour to get there. There was a line of cars down the street and I had to park around the corner. I thought, wow I guess I was wrong about writers groups limiting the number of members. It started at 4:30pm and I was about ten minutes late. I was nervous still as I walked up to the old two story brick house, wondering how many people were there. Would I fit in? I rang the doorbell, thinking why did I do that, I hate when people ring the doorbell at my work.
The door opened and a petite, salt and peppered haired woman with a bewildered look stood in the doorway. I smiled brightly (bravely) and said "Hi! I'm Victoria. Polly's friend." She looked at me. I continued, "Is there a writing group going on here?" Recognition hit her eyes and she said, "There can be. You're the first one to arrive. Come on in." I burst out, "Oh no! I am so embarrassed!" I was the only one there.
I followed her inside her beautiful home to a cherry wood dining table with stool chairs, where I set down my purse and notebook. I realized I should put my unopened, drizzled on umbrella on the floor. She told me that Polly's mom had called and said she couldn't make it because Polly's brother was in town, visiting from New York. So I figured that meant my friend Polly wasn't going to be there either. I gulped. The woman was clearing the table, she had been working on something and it was spread out over half the table. I asked her how many were in the group. She said, "Three." She was not expecting a writing group tonight. I felt strange talking to her in her dining room, starting an impromptu writing session and I didn't even know her name. I asked, "What's your name?" She told me, "Diane." She smiled a warm and welcoming smile. I felt a little better then.
She put in some classical music, offered me water, and brought out crayons and construction paper. We each drew a mandala for ten minutes. It was an exercise to loosen up our creative mind. Then she handed me Natalie Goldberg's book Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir, and asked me to open to any page and we would do the exercise it suggested. I opened to a bunch of introductory writing and then skipped to the back where exercises were more likely to be housed. "Apples." Okay. So we set the timer for ten minutes and began rapid flowing writing - any and every thought that came to mind, on apples, plums, tangerines and the past two summers.
Next Diane opened the book to "Cannot." Things that never should be said. We had to write down either things we should never say, or our thoughts on things we never should say. I wrote, "Things that should never be said." Tick. Tick. Tick. Went the timer. Click, click, click (my pen). WRITE SOMETHING! I was at unease within myself. If I write it then I will have SAID it. So I wrote down that thought and didn't stop writing, I just let the thoughts flow forth from my pen. Until suddenly, it spontaneously combusted and sprang across the table in three pieces. Diane looked up startled, as I was trying quietly and desperately to retrieve the pieces and put it back together. Diane said, "That is some hard writing going on over there." I laughed in embarrassment. I finally pieced it back to semi working order and wrote one last profound thought "All is well when Truth is spoken," when the timer rang out ending our unease with honesty.
So therein ended my first writing experience with a stranger. She was the perfect partner for today's writing exercises and a very gracious host to a lone girl standing on her porch, in the rain looking for someone with whom to write.
Thank you, Diane. I will see you in two weeks.