Monday, 3 June 2013


"You should take that course." Marion indicated 'Pen In Hand, Ink on Page' on the events' board in our charming little, award winning Uxbridge bookshop, The Blue Heron. "You really should," she emphatically pressed her point.

"Ooops! I'm thinking she means this!"

"Just take it, Mom" , Christopher, reiterated at Christmastime in his inimitable  "and-why-wouldn't-you-want-to-write' professorial tone.

"I'll get right on that, Doc!"

And then I was gifted with the look and the word. Sternly peering over his glasses, Jim queried, "Well, why haven't you signed up yet?"

"Fine", I muttered. Having promised to leave myself open to new experiences in my retirement, I enrolled.

With no writing experience aside from an amateurish travel blog penned for family and friends, with no requirement to take any English courses as I earned my university degree, with absolutely zero ambition to ever write a novel, and armed only with nudging encouragement from Marion, Chris, and Jim, I arrived in January for my first session.  Joined by five other participants ranging in experience from published writers to an editor, I discovered the true meaning of intimidation. I felt like the melting Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, growing smaller, smaller..... How I wished, like her, I could scream, "Goodbye, my lovelies" and flee that room. "Why am I here?" I whined at myself. Evil images of a blunt instrument and what I might do to Marion, Chris and Jim darkened my thoughts.

When Sue Reynolds, our facilitator, provided us with a prompt and directed us to write for fifteen minutes, sheer panic invaded my body and mind. "You want me to do what?" I thought in horror. "Don't edit my writing?" In shock I wondered, "What kind of instructor are you anyway?"  "Oh, and you want me to read my work out loud to the class?" Where were those smelling salts when I needed them? "Can't I just write real estate clauses for you", I desperately wanted to offer. Those, however, were to be the last negative and fearful thoughts I was to entertain.

With sage advice and gentle encouragement, Sue guided us in so many aspects of the craft of writing - not to tell the reader what to think (I know- almost an impossibility for me!), the use of imagery, how to move a story along with dialogue, to hold my editing instincts at bay until my ideas were on paper and most importantly, the inherent intelligence of my pen and to "just write". Sue, a treasure, bubbles over with love of her craft. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Through her nurturing, my outlook on my world changed in that I now view it from the perspective of "how can I paint that in words?" An avid reader, I find myself no longer merely immersed in the plot. I take as much pleasure in the author's mastery with words. One course and my world has slightly shifted. I still have absolutely no desire to write a novel. That should elicit a relieved applause! I do intend, however, to continue my travel blogs for family and friends and to occasionally put my thoughts and observations in words.

Class has now finished until October when I will be ready, pen in hand. No drama queen scenes next time, just an eager anticipation of picking up where I left off with burgeoning friendships and of inspiring sessions.

Thank you Marion, Christopher, Jim and Sue! You have encouraged me to continue to learn!

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