Friday, September 27, 2013

Guest Post...from my Favorite Writing Teacher

This appeared on my friend and mentor, June Calender's blog yesterday.  It nicely sums up what a small handful of "retired" Cape Cod women are doing to keep their creative lives up and running.  We started out with five and now, we're eleven strong.  We're open to new "members".  The only criteria for inclusion is the desire to accept the fact that all of us, by our nature as humans, are "creative".  It is when we are told that it is not "productive" or "acceptable" or "good" that we become otherwise convinced and tell people that we lack that spark.  When we get together every two weeks, it is amazing and wonderful to witness that spark having been lit once again.  Yesterday, the word prompt "sky" brought us all to new heights and in the process, we discovered so many new things about who we are.  We already are, I believe, who we "will" be one day because we bring to "that" day, all that we are doing with our todays and all that we have done with our yesterdays, don't we?

A Meeting place, with good food

I think this house has gone through several incarnations but I love its current life as the Chat House in Dennis, Massachusetts. A thoughtful young couple have turned it into a restaurant and kind of community center.  First came the restaurant idea (I think) -- a smallish menu of unexpected variety, pastries for the coffee and breakfast eaters, and a variety of interesting foods for the lunch and dinner group -- not a sit down and be served place but an order and settle in one of the variety of rooms, or the patio (in good weather) and enjoy.  Lately wine and beer have been added, definitely a plus!

Art shows by local artists -- good ones, often youngish, cover the walls and tend to sell (as the prices are usually reasonable).  Groups are encouraged to come, meet and talk. Many nights there is music  by local artists. They  have a story slam once a month and have instituted a poetry open mike night.  I, and various members of my family, have been going to the story slam and telling our stories. A new group, as of today named Creative Chatters, has met four times (every two weeks).  A very eclectic group of women brought together by a cheerful "communicator" as she defines herself, to come up with something creative inspired by a random word, drawn from a group of words brainstormed a couple of meetings ago. There are painters, writers, teachers, jewelry makers, crafts makers -- eight people today with two absentees. 

Today's prompt was "sky", in the past it has been sunset, maintenance, and yellow, for the next meeting it will be farm. What can will people come up with? There's no telling, being a born and bred farm girl, I'll think of something. The others are not farmers' daughters, I'll be curious what they do. We were mostly strangers to one another two months ago. As women do, we erupt into personal stories every so often, we are becoming friends as we become acquainted. I think this is always true of groups of women and it probably begins way back in grade school.

Women "of a certain age" have an advantage over men in this respect.  Men seem to have learned to bond only over sports, and later career/work or, still, sports watching. But women usually trust other women, rarely are competitive in the physical way men are and rarely have a single interest.  Especially after the age of 55 or 60 we have weathered many similar storms, most of us have been divorced, most have children, most have had one or sometimes many careers.

We find it wonderful that we can spent two hours sitting in one of the rooms of the Chat House chatting and "showing and telling" having coffee and/or something for lunch depending on the time we arrive. This is better than a coffee shop, it's a living room away from home. Such a good idea. I hope the couple feel their hard work is paying off.  I am happy to have extended my acquaintances to women I would not have met otherwise and I am inspired by the unexpected prompts.

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