I’m writing this post from a beautiful living room straight out of a magazine. Every aspect of this house from the furniture, light fixtures, throw pillows to view of the river is perfect, absolutely perfect. Now brace yourselves, I’m at a writing retreat. An official event with coffee, people, agendas and writing time. This is so out of my comfort zone.
A friend of mine emailed me about a month ago to let me know about the event. At that time I was facing a hysterectomy and not working for 6 weeks was definitely going to impact how I spent my extra money. I responded something generic like, thanks for thinking of me. I’ll definitely look into it. Knowing damn well, I more than likely wouldn’t go. I write blogs, although they are entertaining and fun they are far from writer club quality, or so I thought.
This morning I had butterflies. The invitation said to bring your favorite writing device, examples were laptops and notebooks. I write on an iPhone, a damn iPhone. Chuck found me a notebook at first glance I panicked, but then I suddenly saw it as absolutely perfect. It was a small polka dot pink hardcover journal that has seen better days. The cover has a trace of what must have been a teddy bear at one time. The first two pages are beautiful illustrations of some of Addisons finest work. I’m a Mom, and there is no better way to showcase that then with this gem. Chuck and I went over the differences between fiction and non fiction, biographies and autobiographies and I was out the door.
My friend Penni that sent me the invitation was the only person I knew, but I instantly felt right at home. Not at home enough to let these avid readers and writers know that I haven’t actually finished a book in years. Hello my name is Jen and I’m a writer that doesn’t read, sounds a bit fraudulent.
The main focus of today’s retreat was writing in letter form. There were 5 printed sheets of paper folded over on the dining room table when we arrived. We were all instructed to pick one. As the newbie they naturally let me go first. What caught my eye was the large word DO at the bottom of one of them. It definitely spoke to me. The entire letter was meant for me. It was written by Sol Lewitt to a friend in 1965, who was in an artistic funk. The style, the verbiage and the occasional cuss word could have been written by me. My favorite lines were, “you must also know that you don’t have to justify your work-not even to yourself” and “You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can-shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.” Holy crap, goosebumps right.
So now I have a few writing prompts to work with One of them is to write a letter to a character that they would display in their home. I’m going out of the box here and writing to myself. If we are being literal and honest, I am quite a character.
You have taken the first step. The biggest step of all, you stepped outside of your comfort zone. I don’t know what the future holds for you but I do believe with 100% certainly that you were given a gift. A gift that was intended to be shared. You’ve denied it long enough. The compliments and feedback you revive aren’t lip service they are true. You need to start believing in yourself the way others do. I look forward to watching you transform as a writer and don’t for a second doubt yourself.