It all happens on Friday mornings at the local library in McLean.
We gather from our various homes in the Washington, D.C. area to write.
We’re all connected through various writing classes, workshops, and writing projects.
Someone tosses out a prompt.
We set the timer for 30 minutes, and boom,
we’re off, delving into the depths of random topics
At the end of 30 minutes, we take turns reading our writing, and sharing ideas on how to strengthen, develop, improve or publish our work.
Sometimes we laugh hysterically, and sometimes we’re on the verge of tears.
I’ve learned a lot from our weekly writing free falls.
1. Safety matters.
We feel safe in our little corner of the library.
This safety liberates us and gives us permission to write some deeply personal stories.
2. Anything goes.
Some of the simplest prompts bring out the most interesting stories.
Who knew that the word “hairdresser” could inspire such a deluge of good writing?
3. When we share our writing, we are sharing our selves.
Deep friendships develop through these writing and sharing meetings.
We don’t waste time with superficial pleasantries.
We’re kind and civilized, but we know we’re all there to write.
We know each other beyond our resumes.
(Come to think of it, I don’t actually know what most of them do for a living.)
We know the real stuff that stirs around in each other because we write about it every week.
Good writing that comes from our simple Friday prompts.
(I’ve learned stuff at our library meetings!)
Pictures are also excellent writing prompts.
I saw this one today and had
to share it.
What does it “prompt” you to think about?
Do you have any good stories? I’d love to hear them.
Here’s one of mine…
Growing up, I lived within a few blocks of The Art City Drive-In. One of our favorite pastimes in the summer was to grab our old quilts, trek through the fields, and set up a little viewing station behind the fence. Since it was a little difficult to hear from our cozy nests in the fields, we hopped over the fence, ran up to the nearest speakers, and turned them up full blast. Then we hurried back over the fence to watch the movie. The only problem was that, Ronnie, the security guard for the drive-in took his job very seriously, and said we were trespassing.
“I’m gonna call the law on you!” he threatened.
We goaded him, and as my mom said, “tormented the poor man to death.”
We couldn’t see a problem with our drive-in shenanigans.
What did it hurt that a bunch of kids were watching “Planet of the Apes” in the fields?
Maybe we should have obediently folded up our quilts and went home, but we didn’t. We waited for him to walk away, and then we jumped over the fence again to turn up the speakers. We didn’t see that our summertime fun was tormenting old “Ronnie,” and we didn’t feel like lawbreaking criminals or trespassers.
“Why don’t you start opening up car trunks to catch all the kids that get in free that way?” We asked him. “Or call the cops on the underaged kids buying cigarettes?”
We did our best to convince him we weren’t doing anything wrong…even though technically we probably were.
If the old drive-in and field existed today, I’d probably still call my old friends, gather up a stack of quilts, and head for the movies. It was our summer ritual.
Jumping the fence might be a little more challenging now,
but I think we’d still be tempted to try,
especially since there’s a new “Planet of the Apes” movie out.
Anybody want to join me?