Gateways, the largest metaphysical bookshop in the country, says the sign outside the door. Really? I didn't know that. Another sign said Writing workshop tonight at seven.
Local author, Laura Davis, was presenting it. How could I possibly NOT attend? I was there on the spot. How could I turn around and go home? I had only dropped by the store to pick up an item for my son. I wont mention what it is here, because he might be reading and it is a surprise gift. So, both of us now have a gift. I have the writing class! I went into the back of the store where chairs had been arranged, and chose my seat. I was early. Laura was there in the front, waiting for her eager participants. We chatted a bit. Laura is well known in the Santa Cruz area. She has written seven books. I forgot to ask her if she has another one on the way.
Laura uses some of the same techniques as the author of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. In this case Laura gave us some rules for writing. I like to think of them as guidelines, but really, if one wants to write there must be something solid to guide us, therefore, rules.
The one thing Laura said that I just loved was: "You are free to write the worst crap in America!" (For my readers in other parts of the world, substitute America for your country.)
If it were me, I also would have added, "Kill the inner critic!" It is our worst enemy. Since there is no way to kill the inner critic, all we can do is ignore it. And if it sits over your shoulder nagging, "This isn't right. This isn't good enough. Whatever made you think you could write?" It is very hard to ignore. But, as one practices writing, one can practice ignoring the inner critic at the same time. I think I have pretty much learned how to ignore I.C. as one might be able to determine by my writing style. Grammar, in particular. Style is lacking. Oops, there it is... no self judging! It is what it is.
The practice writing sessions lasted five minutes each and Laura gave us prompts, something to write about. For example: Write about a time when your life was in limbo. That was a hard one for me at first. I wanted to think about it. I wanted to go back over the years and figure it all out. It was so tempting.
With her standing there in front of us all, I could do nothing but put pen to paper and write... "My mind is blank. Limbo is blank." and suddenly it came to me. I recalled a specific time when my brain felt numb, and that was truly limbo for me. The words came tumbling one after another. Looking at it now, I can see the mistakes, and the lack on continuity, and the twisting of the facts, and yet, I will leave it alone as it is. After all, it was just a writing practice. Practice.. not the final exam.
All in all it was a wonderful evening. Challenging to sit there with my notebook askew on my lap, and painful for my body to hold that position, but well worth the pleasure of writing with others, both beginners and old pros. There were a couple of other authors present, which I thought was cool. But, I don't know their names. We were all there to practice with Laura Davis, the author.
She's teaching a more in depth workshop on Sunday morning. I have decided to attend. I hope I can sleep well the night before. I hope I will not be in pain. I hope I can sit in a chair for a long time with my notebook not sliding off my lap. And for God's sake, I hope I will have a pen that will magically make my handwriting legible.
The photo of the Buddha was taken by me, and the artwork representing Limbo I did with photoshop.