I sat in my writing teacher’s living room on Wednesday night and waited for my turn to read.
I usually don’t like to go out on Wednesdays as I have to get up ridiculously early the following morning to attend my beloved boxing class at New York City Sports Club’s City Hall facility.
The toughest part of the class is the one-on-one mitt session with the instructor, Abby, who cheerfully bashes me up one side of Broadway and down the other.
I love every minute of it, of course, so it’s really important to get a good night’s sleep.
But this was a very special occasion.
The evening was the culmination of the latest session of Five for Five, a fantastic series of writing classes that I’ve been taking since the fall.
As the name implies, the class consists of five people who meet for five weeks at the home of our instructor, Rosemary Moore, in Park Slope.
I’ve taken some excellent writing classes in my time and I’ve worked with some fine instructors. But what makes this class standout is the raw craziness of Rosemary’s approach.
Instead of bringing in writing samples and reading them to the other members, Rosemary has us write in real time during the class.
She reminds us at the beginning of every session that her home is a safe place; there is no fear, no wrong choices and absolutely anything freaking goes.
And then we write our asses off.
It’s amazing how many wacky things I’ve come up with working with Rosemary and my beautiful classmates—the kindest, most supportive, most talented people you’ll ever meet.
Float Like A Butterfly
I’ve discovered ideas for short stories and a novel lurking in the backwoods of my mind, but more importantly I’ve learned how to just let go and let nature take over. It is such a liberating experience.
I’ve taken four sessions with this group and on Wednesday we invited friends and family for a reading of our works in progress.
I was getting so nervous waiting for my time to read. My sister had very kindly agreed to attend the reading and I didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of her, my classmates or their guests.
I had done a few practice readings at home during the week and they were all terrible. I stumbled over words and phrases like a foreign exchange student reading English for the first time.
And then I recognized this tension I was feeling. It was exactly the way I feel when I’m just about to work out with Abby. I worried about messing up, looking stupid, and making a total fool of myself.
Now it was my turn to read.
I took a seat and started reading a sample I plan on developing into a novel and the words came out of me effortlessly.
There was that sense of being in the moment, of doing everything right, just like when I have a good round with Abby. Only I wasn’t getting smacked in the head.
I usually hate boxing analogies, but in this case it’s legit because writing and boxing both go much better when you don’t think.
Then it was over. The reading that had me worried all day was done and a short time later we were all drinking wine, eating snacks and having a great time.
The next morning I woke up rested and ready so I went to Abby’s class and got another joyful shellacking.
Rosemary is planning another session in the fall and God willing, I’ll be signing up for that one, too. The bell may have rung for this latest round, but I’ve just begun to write.