“… just start writing… put the pen to the paper and let it move, 5 minutes… go.” My creative writing mentor Dean Adams Lofton would speak those words every Tuesday night as a diverse group of women sat at a long table learning to pour out thoughts, forgotten memories and life onto the blank pages before us. I remember one woman from that first class and if I close my eyes I can almost hear her voice. She was in her late 70’s thick glasses with hands that showed the marks of hard work and love. Her name escapes me, probably written down somewhere in a stored journal. I do remember her old spiral bound notebook that she wrote in. It looked like a forgotten notebook from a now grown child’s school days. I remember her voice and how close she would hold her notebook when she would read her stories. The room would come alive with the characters she wrote about, and the scenes that she painted with words were beautiful. She was a true story teller in words and voice, she was beauty, grace and warmth.
As I sit her today with the bright sun shining through the cold window pane and the warmth of the fire place, I remember those times and I struggle to find that old familiar flow. Sometimes I think it’s because typing is not the same as the movement of pen across paper. Even on the days I fought myself to write, our assignment was 10 minutes a morning, I would be amazed at what had poured out; tears, laughter, pain, dreams, fears and joy seemed to find it’s way from somewhere inside me to my finger tips and forever left on the page in front of me.
I have years of those writings. Maybe that is one of the reasons I thought I could/should blog. Those Tuesday nights became sacred. Even after Dean moved to Columbia there was still a group of 5 or 6 of us who would gather together and “download” our stories. We would take turns sharing, or not and we would encourage, critique, laugh, cry and pray that somehow we all would do “something well.” One thing we all had in common was writing, and in many ways that was all, but it was this safe wonderful place.
Maybe the reason I think of all this today is my struggle to write. One night we challenged ourselves with writing about the person sitting next to us and where they would be in 10 years. It’s been 10 years I am sure since then. I have found my mentor and 2 other of the women I wrote with through facebook. Now if I could remember what we all wrote about each other, or find the journal that held the stories of that night, I could tell you whether we were also good at seeing into each others lives to the depth of knowing more of the future. I am forever blessed by the gift of that time.
So a totally random post today. But a little reflection is good for the soul.
P.S. As I wrote this post above earlier, I wrote 3 times that I didn’t go for a run on this bright chilly day. Just couldn’t bring myself to brave the elements… I deleted it 3 times too. Finally emerging from my warm little cocoon I enjoyed quite a nice evening winter run.