Saturday, December 13, 2008

wisdom and insight

After a good night's sleep, desayuno delicioso, a couple cups of coffee, and a couple glasses of water, I was ready for our second writing workshop this morning. It was our first round of sharing our writing and sharing feedback. For me, it was also an opportunity to get to know the other writers a little more, since I had missed the first one to two nights to do that due to flight delays.

This is a delightful and diverse group of writers - all of whom are women. Being female was not a requirement, it just is what happened.

I was one of the lucky ones today to be able to share my writing. I was a little nervous, since I had just met most of them. I am always a little nervous when I share my writing; even with my partner, which may seem silly that I would be nervous showing it to her after being together for nearly twenty-six years - but there you have it. So I was not upset about being nervous - I know that is just how it is and I can handle it. I felt good about my writing, received good and valuable feedback, and picked up on a few things in my reading of it which I had missed in the writing. When I was reading one section with one character talking,I started thinking that it was time for that person to shut up now - it had gone on too long. And I did get external validation of that fact.

And as I listened to the different writers reading, I had several important insights and what feel like pieces of wisdom. Those are some of what I came here to find, although I couldn't articulate that even last night, let alone when I signed up for this workshop in the beginning of July.

One thing that struck me is how I felt that all of what was read and said was "true." Not necessarily true in the sense of real life facts of the author experiencing the story (some were and some were not) - but true as in this was her author's voice. Nothing felt forced or phony or show-offy. It all felt like "I have something I want to say and this is it." It did not matter if it was raw or revised, rhythmic poetry or staccato teenager speak wanting to get high or a five year old searching for safety - it was real in the telling. It did not matter if the author was a poet or columnist or novelist or grad student.

And in that truth telling, I had a spark of feeling that I can do this. I can write. I have found my voice. I am a writer. I am writing. I not only can, but I am, doing this. And I do not have to be a particular type of writer or write in a specific way or about specific things. I write about what I see and experience and think and dream and make up. No, it is not all real but there are pieces of reality and the words I write are real in the context of the story.

These other women writers are real, too. And they have words which fit them and say what they have to say. And together we are a small community come together in Oaxaca for the week. To share our passions and our stories and our dreams. And our wisdom from being writers in the world.

photograph of
As the Crow Flies

encaustic by Serena Barton