I Enjoy Being a Girl

Okay, so I bravely went to a new writing workshop last night in Centre City, not knowing what to expect, hoping for the best, expecting the worst, etc. The meetings are held in a church which of course made me suspicious, like I might step through the doorway and be grabbed up by a bunch of Southern Baptists and be brainwashed and made to write biblical tales and to watch hour upon hour of the reenactment of the crucifixion until I finally give in and become a born again (which reminds me. I pass a sticker on my way to work every day that reads, "Before you were in the womb, I knew you." Guess who the quote is from? God. God said that. God said that to someone who passed it along to someone else who passed it along to someone who works at a slogan factory and bam! You have the word of God on your window. Still, if the initial statement was passed along like a game of telephone, it's quite possible that he initially said something like, "Before you were in the room, I drew Lou."). But it turned out that class was held in a nice nondenominational space bearing only one crucifix. The class itself is not affiliated with the church, I learned with relief. I was one of six students--four women in their late fifties or early sixties, one pale-faced guy, me, and the teacher. All of them were very, very nice and welcoming. The guy was someone who in the daytime probably works as an accountant and who, as a child, was pummeled by kickballs during recess. Nerdy and small with khaki Dockers and loafers. While he was speaking, he unselfconsciously sat half Indian style. Since it was the first class, the workshop consisted of two free writing sessions, reading of work, and discussion of what images we liked.

The first writing prompt was to make a list of words you like for a couple of minutes and then to let that list or one of the words or an idea from a word lead you into a free-write. Some of my favorite words were: Jupiter, lilac, ambidextrous, velvet, socks, and argyle (see, I also found that I wasn't always thinking just of words I like but also associations I had with them like socks leads to argyle leads to plaid leads to Scottie dog leads to Blackie). We wrote for awhile and mine turned out to be about a girl named Penelope Jupiter who is stung by a bee. Then people read their work--most of it was nonfiction, some of it seemed related to the exercise, and some did not (the guy, for instance, wrote a funny diatribe in response to something he'd read earlier in the day on a political blog). The teacher read her work too.

We took a break at about 8 p.m. and the teacher told us to go into the kitchen for a snack. And guess what? There was decaf coffee and regular coffee and hot tea and homemade brownies and carrots and celery and matzo crackers with jelly and butter. I couldn't believe it. I felt like I had stumbled on some secret treasure, this strange place where people just get together and write and talk about writing and then are given chocolate. What could be better?

The next writing prompt was to choose one of the these two tortures and write from it:

*To know that you will never have something that should be yours.

*To know that something that shouldn't be yours is yours to keep.

I picked the second one. I couldn't think of anything for the first torture except for obvious stuff like someone you love who is married to someone else. The second one seemed easier to me--it's a secret. A secret is something that shouldn't be yours but that you often have to keep.

Anyway, it was really nice to be there and to meet these women who are all older (for once) and still engaged in their craft and wearing great jewelry. One woman had on a pair of low rise Converse sneakers. She also wore tortoiseshell cat eyeglasses with teeny tiny rhinestones in the corners.

In completely different news, Jess informed me on Tues. a.m. that I missed what may go down in pop culture history as the best premiere episode of The Bachelor yet. For instance, one girl sang the National Anthem to The Bachelor.

Here is where you can go to get a great recap each week as written by Lincee.


Anonymous said…
Do you realize what you missed? I was in the fetal when that girl was singing the national anthem. PLEASE watch it this season...And, I, once again feel so sad for those people in your workshop. Do they know you used to teach writing, that you have a book coming out and that you've won all those awards?
Aimee said…
Jess? Jess? Is this you? You have to remind me next week when it comes on. I looked everywhere online to try to find like a video blog of that moment of the show but couldn't locate one.