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Writing with Author, Laura Davis

I stopped by 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.

It was a little rough on my body to sit there for an hour and a half scribbling in my notebook sprawled on my lap, having to change pens because they felt unfamiliar in my hand, and yes, one of them went dry! I am so used to the computer now, I don't even recognize my handwriting. I think I need to buy one of those books for second graders so I can form readable letters again. However, I did not let that deter me. Onward and upward and all that.

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.

Since the class was focused on short practice writings the main thing is to keep the pen moving no matter what you write, no matter what comes up, if you don't know what to write, just write, "I don't know what to write" or whatever comes out of your pen. Don't judge it. Don't stop and think about what you are writing. Ignore the inner critic. Just write, don't cross out, don't worry about spelling or grammar, just keep the pen moving.

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.


  1. You get major kudos ! First of all, I ha ve passed so many things by that involved sitting in a class, a meeting, a seminar..because the pain would overtake the content. It is always just oo uncomfortable I say. You just moved beyond it, and did what you thought would be of greater importance than an hour of pain..and truly the lesson, of just write, just lose the strident inner critic, the one that has been ahunting me for weeks, late at night, and the one that haunts you too all the time...and scribble.And then, no computer, pens, notes..I just don't think I can actually write either..what a laugh you gave me, but truly it is weird. It is hard to actually write,use a pen, when there is so much to write, to note, to think of..I completely understand. AND YOU ROCK..I love that you are on your journey and you just keep going. I know that your writing will be published. Mostly because you do not allow defeat..screw the critic part, the fact that you keep going in 10,000 ways will get it published.And I, for one cannot wait. I took away a great deal just from this blog...and you know allready what I learned. Thanks again Elizabeth....You sat, you wrote with a pen, in a most uncomfortable way, and you ignored your inner critic...pretty amazing for a tiny hour in one short day :)

  2. Thank you, Mona, for the kudos, which I will cherish in my kudo treasure box! It was more than an hour class but I did get up and walk around behind the scenes when she talked. So that helped a lot. I wonder if young people today will be able to write by hand years from now.


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