When someone says to me, “Writing comes naturally to me.” I tilt my head, pause and say nothing. Maybe my tilted head gives it away that I don’t believe what they just said. Maybe it’s because I believe the bumper sticker “Writing is hard. Don’t try it.” If writing comes naturally to them, I wonder why doesn’t it come naturally to me?
My conclusion: there are gifted writers, and then there is me. The woman who has to practice writing; who has to assess the risk of writing it down; who has to hear her own voice before someone else hears it – someone who may consider it a success or failure prematurely.
When I first started doing a group writing practice, I thought that I’d write a few times based on the prompt and then when I got “serious” I’d fit the prompt into what I was writing or I’d just ignore it all together. Now I’ve abandoned all thoughts of getting “serious” during writing practice. I just let the prompt take me where it takes me. I surrender to the writing. And I try to be a humble human. Each week it’s a lesson learned and lesson forgotten and that’s why I keep going back.
I invite you to join me in writing practice each Wednesday at 7am. We gather together for one hour to practice writing, practice surrendering to the process and practice the art of humility.
Here’s an excerpt from our writing practice on 10/13/13 it was from the prompt “We are not dogs.” and I was very surprised at the memory it evoked.
“One night Rex pushed the screen door open and got out, he was an outdoor dog after all, and wanted to be outside. We ran after him and my little six-year-old legs got tired and I stopped at the stone bridge to rest with my older sister Ann. Then we heard a car skid just 100 yards away, it had hit Rex and killed him instantly. Or at least that’s what I was told. I remember the red blood against his black fur and the car’s headlights shining on him. I cried and cried, and for the next few days my father didn’t talk to anyone. “He was only a dog,” my mom said of my father’s grief. And I don’t know about that, “that dog” was pretty cool. He let me wrap my arms around him and hug him like a teddy bear. There’s a photo of me on his back and both of us look like we’re happy.”