Well, folks, Andrés Cruciani of Toho Publishing here, and I'm back after a flu that knocked me out for a week. Today, a special blog post from one of our participants in our generative writing workshop. Without further ado, here's Vivian:
I wasn’t sure where your Creative Writing course would take me or where it would take the group last Wednesday, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it, so I wanted to thank you for an amazing first session.
The material we discussed and the way you managed to set us free to write beyond our comfort-zone was uncanny. You had selected hands-on exercises that challenged me and each member of the group to explore uncharted territory.
You masterfully dared us to write, to let our thoughts flow, without judgement, being fully present. Starting with a plain description of an unfamiliar room as a prompt was brilliant and where the prompt took each of us, captivating. I felt like you managed to make us feel wholly present, attentive, and observant of all our senses, and in doing so, we delved into deeper thoughts and feelings that seemed to freely flow into our journals. In just ninety minutes, each of us seemed to have become a true “creative writer” in the rough.
I was moved by each piece shared among the group. The moist eyes around the room made me realize I wasn’t alone. Your extemporaneous prose was exquisite, but the group’s raw feelings and instinctive writing seemed even more powerful, as was this piece (about the room we were in, a small study in a church) that one of the members shared with us:
Fascinating task. Write about what we do not pay attention to. A room with people that I don’t know but who I would like to know. People with different lives and stories. Why in this room? The word fascinating comes to mind once again.
My tinnitus dominates the silence broken only by my typing. The table I’m leaning on does not want to tell me its story yet. How many generations of people sat at this chair before me? I will probably never know. The smell does not tell me its secrets. But why? Am I resisting its talking? No, I want to understand ...
A hundred and twenty-year-old compilation of smells, of thousands of believers, must have meaning even if I can’t break the code. Perhaps I’m not ready to read it, or I don’t know the language. Perhaps the room does not care that I don’t understand its story. Perhaps I was making this place about me and hurt its insides. Why would this room be willing to share the secrets of the sweat of those that rode on horseback to come to service and the sweat of those who walked miles? The scent of the flowers that must have been placed in vases to honor or to thank God, to thank a fellow parishioner perhaps or to negotiate God’s favor. How much of this scent is contributed by the tears of those who came looking for consolation? I don’t know, and nobody knows. Not true, the room knows but wants to make me work for it. Why would it share this precious history with me? What have I done to deserve it? To earn its trust?
If art is the expression of beauty or emotional power that touches our sensibilities, we as a group had created art!
You are a gifted teacher. I feel excited and intrigued about our next session …
Thanks for leading and inspiring us!