The Fork in the Road

When I decided that I needed to spend more of my time writing I checked the Adult Ed catalog in search of some kind of writing class as a refresher and settled on the one titled, “Writing Reality in Creative Non Fiction 1”. It sounded perfect. The description spoke of  a 1/2 day workshop exploring different forms of non fiction, exercises to kick start your writing and an option to submit some of your writing for open discussion. I naively assumed that a 1/2 day “workshop” was just a fancier way of saying “class”. I signed up for the “class” scheduled on the day of my mother’s birth knowing that would make it difficult to forget and then made a conscious decision to NOT let my mind talk myself out of going. If I want to move forward, I have to take some forward steps and do something different. For the next 6 weeks every time I even THOUGHT about the class, every muscle in my body would clench up and my heart would race. Inside my mind I could feel myself being dragged in that direction but I couldn’t stop the motion and I could hear the cries of resistance in my head, begging me NOT to do this. So, I did what I am best at and shoved that resisting side of me into a box marked,” Do not open until 3/24.” and soldiered on.

In the week before the class I did print out every page I had already written and put them in a folder to take with me, although I knew I didn’t want anyone to see what those pages contained. I tried to do some rewriting and editing but somehow filling in details and correcting punctuation was too overwhelming so that folder went into a bag for Saturday. I like to write and purge, but I’m not a fan of reliving the past and that is what writing, and therefore editing, is for me.

The morning of the “class” came and I woke stressed and full of anxiety but I got up and made sure I had what I needed and off I went, arriving a half hour early. The instructor let me  in the building and then walked me to the classroom where she was setting up a coffeemaker and arranging books on the table. I wondered why she was lining up  reading for us in a writing course but I asked no questions and went about getting my laptop out and setting up the area where I would be seated and working. Others in the class straggled in and we began. She started by going over forms of writing, many of which I had never heard of, and explained to us that her selection of books showcased the various forms. All I was thinking about was,”Do I have a form? I can’t write in a form. I write how I talk, hear, understand and live. It might be lyrical, it might be fragmented. Maybe it looks like an essay, maybe it looks like a journal. Many times it looks like a scribble in crayon and it may very well be. This is the wrong place for me, why did I sign up for this? Shouldn’t the description have been clearer? I’m not an actual WRITER, I just write.” I realize that I am missing everything she is saying because I am deep inside my own head and try to focus. They start to talk about publishing articles and I am gone again. This time I physically get up and walk to the bathroom. I Snapchat my sister while sitting on the very public restroom toilet and tell her I am a moron, the stupidest, least educated one here, I don’t know what I’m thinking. What is wrong with me? This is too much for me and I can’t do it. I end with a quick whispered, I love you. I get up, wash my hands, take a deep breath, do a little shake it off and walk back into the classroom where I know God put me. Even if it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, I am here, in this particular classroom for a reason. There is something for me here, so I’m going to open my eyes, ears and heart and find it and I’m going to chase it!

 

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