When I arrived Saturday afternoon to give my workshop at Turn of the Corkscrew Books and Wine, the stack of my books, WRITING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, on the table near the entrance with a sign that read ‘Staff Pick” warmed me, but didn’t completely alleviate my nervousness. Despite teaching and speaking for many decades, I invariably get stage fright before meeting a new class or group. And what if no one comes?
But they did. They filled up the room and seemed more uncomfortable than I was. Of course. I remembered why I was there, what I could do, and began doing it, welcoming them, sharing writing truths, and revealing things about myself, my experiences, and my classes that led to their first exercise. Their pens started moving. Some slowly, others more quickly, they opened up on the page.
Unlike the public school children, who had to sit in my classes when I first started teaching after college, these attendees—all adults– wanted to be there. So did I.
After I read essays I’d had published in Parents and The New York Times about my family, everyone wrote with honesty, read their work aloud, and wrote some more. Afterwards, the stack of my books on the table near the door was gone. I signed their copies. Most important, we had all been in the room when it happened. What a super day!