Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ouija Board

The need to find my voice in writing has taken me down a few paths.  Twisting and turning, stumbling a lot, I've found new ways to express myself and a thirst for more...and more....and more.  I know that I need to write often; it's the only way to really find that voice.  And edit.  And edit.  Did I say "edit"?  Just as it is easy not to exercise the body, it's so with the writing brain.  If a few days go by and I have not given it at least a half hearted shot, then it is all the harder when I have a brain burst that will either leak out, leaving remains that oozing matter generally does or explode out, the way a good thought ought to.  Explode now, edit later Ma'am.  But, let's get back to that exercising part.

 Not everything I write has to have great impact upon the reader.  It just has to keep the reader somewhat interested.  This is something I learned three days ago when I took my first step into the adult world of learning how to become a better writer, my first intensive with the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City. Be still my heart.  Gotham!! Up the stairs of 30 West 16th Street and into the capable hands of my teacher who shall remain nameless lest you Google her and get totally distracted.  Suffice it to say, she's written a few hundred essays and has a very "adult" platform and I am so glad she did not reveal all of herself to us students during the time we were face to face lest I, too, would have been totally distracted, wondering how it could be possible.

If this is an essay, it hasn't any of the elements to support that.  If this is an exercise, well then.  I don't have a clue where this is going but I have the confidence in myself as a novice writer to know that it will go somewhere and it will have some basic acceptable components.  When we sit down to compose an essay, sometimes we have to allow the work to find the voice. That's what I love about writing.  For me, it's kind of like a Ouija Board with my fingers going in directions that are determined by a spirit that is hovering over my laptop. Coming to a brain near you.....it's an idea.

Do I write today about the whole mind-expanding, joyful experience of adding "Gotham Workshop" to my catalog of things I feel really, really good about? About how I felt like I spent time and money really, really well?  About the fact that the day started at 11 and ended at 6 and I was wishing it would never?  How I sat in one of those high school chair-attached-to-desk-top chairs all day and hardly squirmed and I can't even make it one hour in the passenger side of a car without wanting to bolt onto the interstate?  About the seven other writers who instantly became soul sisters....I wonder if they went home and Googled the teacher......Oh boy, did I feel grown up and so, so willing to learn.

Or, do I write about the way I feel....Each. And. Every. Time.... I get off a train at Grand Central and onto a subway car?  In all the years, ALL the years, I've never, ever lost the feeling of excitement.  Never.
I have so many problems finding analogies when I write.  To some, the use of analogy is an art form in itself and when I read their stuff, I'm on the moon.  But I just don't have that gift.  I wish I did because here is a perfect place for one, the place where I describe how I feel alive, engaged, amazed, glorified, happy, calm, not to mention "cool" and totally at home when I am in Manhattan.  Maybe it's the way the city streets are laid out.  For me, it's mindless.  I know how to get just about everywhere and I know almost precisely how long it will take me to do so.

Or, do I default to the easiest of all, the short slice of "what I did today"?  Okay.  So, I'm done with my class and I'm walking down 16th Street, in my way to meet my friends Jay and Mike for dinner at Steak Frites at 6:30.  A nice black car pulls up to a door across the street from the restaurant and an older man in a tux exits.  He has a beautiful bouquet of white flowers in his hand.  A Mother's Day treat  comes to mind and then I quickly shift gears and "bride" replaces that thought.  Duh. Could it have been the fact that out of the other door,  a young woman in a bridal gown is also exiting?  They both approach a door with the number 10 on it and as it opens a chorus of soon to be bridesmaids squeal, "come in.....you look great.....!!!!!" and in they go.  To where?  A diner on the corner of Union Square and 16th Street? Odd.  But this is New York.  And I have some time to kill so I keep on walking and turn onto Union Square where I see hundreds of people but as anyone who knows me will tell you, I have a knack for just seeing one person really well in the thickest of crowds.  This one is an older woman, dressed in black evening wear, looking very much like she had posed for Edvard Munch's "The Scream".  Lady in distress if ever there was one, wildly gesturing to a kind man who is trying to help her find her way to......"excuse me, are you looking for a wedding?"......Rescued.

"And....no....you are not too late.  It's all going to be okay.  The bride has just arrived. Oh, your husband can park his car in a garage that is right there....next to the door with the number 10 on it."

I think the wedding was in a ballroom, overlooking Union Square.  At least I hope it was not in the diner.  But then, again, this is New York.

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