I have been excited about making a commitment for my first writing workshop EVER. I’m not a writer, but I have stories that I need to tell. This story is not actually one of the stories that I need to tell, but somehow, I always choose the story that is current, the most present, rather than the other ones waiting to be told.
Over the past year, during Covid, I have signed up and attended three different writing classes, one through a local senior center, one through a local library, and one long-distance, offered by a singer/songwriter, Nerissa, whose work I’ve enjoyed immensely for years. One meets twice a month, the second weekly, and the third every Monday afternoon. A few months ago, Nerissa announced her upcoming ‘summer camp’, to be attended either online or in person. It will be held two hours away from me, in Northampton, in the Berkshires.
The possibility waved in front of me, inviting, inviting. But, it also presented some obstacles: first the question of writing, itself. What do I have that’s worth saying that I need a week for? Who am I, pretending to be a writer? Next was the cost of staying in a BnB.
Finally, I arrived at my decision: I would attend three days in person, staying locally for two nights, and the other two days on line. I sent in my check for summer camp and felt confident that it was the right decision.
A few days later, at a party held for other local activists — see my blog entry for some details of my climate disobedience and arrest — another local activist announced that on July 1, she was moving to Northampton. I hardly knew her, but ten minutes later, I sidled up to her and asked if she would have an extra bedroom. After her ‘yes,’ I asked if I could spend a week with her in the middle of July. Another ‘yes!’
I accepted this as a blessing on my commitment to write for a week. Stay with me and you’ll see that I sometimes accept random occurrences as blessings, without accepting alternative occurrences as omens or warnings.
During the next few weeks, I gave my intended hostess, Amanda, many opportunities to change her mind, but she seemed completely willing to take me in. So, yesterday, after three meetings lasting from 10 am until 2:30 pm, I got into my electric car with a 115 mile capacity for the 122 mile journey.
I have traveled beyond my car’s mileage capacity before, but not very often, and I am always a little apprehensive about depending on an unknown location for a critical service. But, the Auburn Mall, the ABRP app’s suggested location for fast-charging, turned out to be reliable. When I arrived at Amanda’s, she greeted me with a hug and a warm smile, as she continued with a Zoom call with our climate disobedience group, as plans for an upcoming action were detailed. I briefly considered skipping tomorrow’s writing session, in order to participate in this action, then decided against it.
Have I mentioned that Amanda’s is less than three miles from here?! That feeling of blessing continues. Should I drive to Nerissa’s tonight, as a test run? No, it’s so close, it won’t be difficult.
I go to sleep and sleep soundly. I awake at about 6 am, my usual time, take a shower, and drive a short distance to a charging station near a coffee shop, plug in, then get a cappuccino and a croissant, before returning to my car to sit, enjoy, and do my daily online puzzles (see my recent blog entry, Puzzling Meanderings.)
Then, I take the lid off of my cappuccino and spill it all over my tee shirt. There’s plenty of time for me to go back to Amanda’s and change, but I’ll finish my breakfast first. Or, shall I just go to Nerissa’s like this? I think writers must be flexible and accepting, but is that generalization a reasonable one? This will affect their lasting impressions of me. Should I care?
I finally make the decision to go back and change my shirt, knowing I’ll be ten minutes late. I do that, then head for Nerissa’s, whose address I have written as 45, instead of 415. That’s because I didn’t take to time to put on my reading glasses when I scanned her notes. When I get to number 78, I see a parking space and decide to take it. I walk a couple of blocks and see a big yellow house and remember Nerissa called her house big yellow. But, when I get there, it’s number 47.
Confused now, I walk around and cannot find number 45. I finally get out the directions, put on my reading glasses, and see that I need number 415. I walk back to my car, get in it, and drive to the right place, parking nearby. I walk behind and see little blue, with Nerissa walking out to greet me. I’ve been a teacher and know how annoying it is when students show up late, especially for the first class. Nerissa doesn’t show that at all, makes me feel welcomed, promises intros at lunch, and I begin to write.
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