I did it. I completed a 4 day Writing Workshop in a place I have never been to by myself, without knowing a single soul. I did it. Good job, you.
Fun facts about Martha’s Vineyard: there is no vineyard. Also they don’t believe in sidewalks, as it would mess with the aesthetic of the beautiful stone walls. Thus, I partook in a lot of prayer mumbling as I wobbled on the side of the road facing traffic that sounded like, “What the fuck God? Please protect me because I am NOT going out like this. Amen.” And to bring it home, Chilmark is a dry town, my beautiful accommodations without beer or a TV implanted into the wall.
Whatever you have seen in movies about New England, Connecticut, or Massachusetts, from the accents, to the structures, to the nautical wear, it’s all here. I am currently sitting on the picturesque lawn of the Chilmark School that is adorned with wooden benches, adirondack chairs, and a lush green lawn. The town’s library is to my left and the community center is to my right. The buildings are for the most part, all the same: wood, shuttered, rustic but without looking worn down. It’s sort of ridiculously amazing.
It will be an adventure I thought - it has been that. Make sure to get groceries because you will need snacks - one $90 Uber ride later from the smallest airport I have ever landed in, mission accomplished. Settle in to write, write, write. Three boxes checked, neat and complete.
What I didn’t see coming was the need for approval from my fellow writers. As this gaggle of open hearted, tender strangers began to share, I started to shrink. These beautiful humans were polished, brave and smart, using really big words that I would have to look up later. Insecurity started to creep in like a teenager waiting to be asked to slow dance. I began to ruminate, overthinking the prompts lovingly given for homework. I found myself unable to settle, abandoning my usual morning writing time, replacing it with an afternoon session. This left me feeling exhausted, wiped out, and wanting to drink more than usual in a dry town.
You guys know me. I don’t polish. I don’t buff. I don’t impress. But I wanted to fit in. I wanted them to like me. I wanted to belong.
What I failed to recognize: I already did. These beautiful humans loved me from the moment my 6 foot frame entered the building because they felt my heart.
It’s wide as it is open, joyful as it is accepting, irreverent as it is compassionate. In the course of 4 days, we all added our own spices to the stew pot and let it simmer on the stove, just so.
Here is what I learned:
* I am a badass who’s willing to try new things.
* Other people are smarter than I am and that’s okay.
* My superpower is to make people laugh while bringing them to tears.
Also, if you happen to be lucky enough to be staying in a place that has a lush garden, I highly recommend eating snap peas off the vine.
I love you little soldiers, and what other people think of you is none of your business,
* For anyone who is interested, Nancy Aronie is one of THE best writing teachers and humans on the planet. She is an 81 year old Sage and I am now stalking her on every level. If you can share time with this wise woman, please do.
* I cannot WAIT to share space for our upcoming Writer's Workshop through the Village.