Writing Class: Cheryl
Cheryl e-mailed earlier the week to say she was trying a different kind of piece, a different kind of writing, she said she wasn't prepared to bring it to class, it wasn't ready. I urged her to bring it to class, to trust us, those pieces – the new ideas, the ones that aren't ready – are most often the ones we need to share with others.
Many people ask me why I so strongly support writer's sharing their work with others. One reason is that it is the best and only way I know of to learn and improve. When we write only for ourselves, it is hard to grow and mature as a writer, to be strong and confident. On my blog, I try many subjects for the first time an am quick to share them with my readers. I can't do that in books, editors won't permit it, marketers hate the idea.
Here, I have struggled to find my voice with many things, from spirituality to mysticism to love and suffering. My writing is sometimes raw and my thoughts incomplete, I share the process of growing and evolving. People do not object to this, even thought it is far from perfect, they learn and grow with me, take what they like, leave the rest behind. I do not need adoration or agreement, it is not the point.
Cheryl brought her very creative piece to class, it is about a widower thinking about a new relationship and about the appearance of a Cardinal, a bird associated with the spirits of the dead who appears outside of her window. There may or may not be a celibate Buddhist coming into the mix. Cheryl is a widower herself, she is thinking about life and relationships.
A cardinal, according to mythology, is a bird who speaks for the spirits of the dead. Cardinals, they say, appear when angels are near.
We all loved Cheryl's very original and mystical idea, we were surprised and confused by it and first and then understood it and make some suggestions that excited her. She did not suffer from bringing a new and unfinished idea into the world, quite the opposite, she has a better sense of what she wants to say. The class has great ideas, almost every time, and a commitment to support and positive encouragement that is a spiritual experience in itself.
I am happy Cheryl brought us this piece, I can't wait to see where she takes it. For me, writing is not a drama, but a process and a calling. Anyone can be a writer. Writers write, they take the sometimes fearful risk of making themselves vulnerable to the world. It is a cheap price to pay.