Before the workshop

A line snakes back to the shelves of wine in the Emporium in Yellow Springs, Ohio. At 10:30 am, people are still willing to wait for a cup of coffee. I subvert the line by handing over the exact change for mine and find a table to write. After all, I am here for the Antioch Writer’s Workshop (AWW), which starts tomorrow. I am ready for my blank page.

This will be my sixth year attending AWW. Some of those years were flat-out magical, which is such a bad writerly word, I know, so let me be more specific: every lecture taught me something new I did not know I needed; teachers encouraged but critiqued my work with practical, specific advice—here’s what you should try, or add x, consider deleting y, or see what you think about moving these sections around; and last, but never least, I made new friends.

That’s been crucial. I have started a writer’s group, at a distance, with AWW friends (we get on Google hangouts monthly to give each other feedback). I’ve asked AWW folks about building a website and getting published, and we’ve commiserated over our ongoing rejections to Brevity. After five years, I feel like I am part of this loyal, returning community. And it matters.

All of it matters, really: the learning, the community, the encouragement. And best of all, after every AWW week, I am inspired. 

Now, I look out the Emporium window. So my view is of a Prius? I’m almost at AWW. I can imagine that car is anything.