We met a little late today. The air was decidedly relaxed. Perhaps it was the idea that most of them would be bound for their homes later in the day or that being closeted with a set of people under intense scrutiny for over six days was a bit much. Either way, everybody smiled a little more, hugged a little harder and focused a little more during the workshop.
I stayed silent as ten other people had printed copies of my submission in front of them. The pages were underlined, streaked with red, blue and black ink. I listened as they evaluated the merits of using the first person vs the second person. I stilled as they all pointed out that my husband and children were invisible in a narrative largely about our family. Emotional evasion, distancing, othering, the terms came at me thick and fast. They also pointed out where the narrative took off. They pointed out sentences that made them pause. They marked passages where I got it right. I nodded along, scribbling as fast I could on the notepad, notes, remarks, praise, all of it.
In the end, our instructor Mishka Shubaly went around the circle making each of us introduce ourselves in terms our literary family and finish with “I am a writer”. We did and he formally presented us each a certificate noting we finished the workshop successfully. I tucked away the certificate, gathered my things and walked out with friends.
Lunch was representative of our workshop sessions. Earnest conversations, goofball moments, awkward moments and lull in the conversation. As each person left, we hugged, shook hands and wished them the best. I stood back, being one of the two from our group who was staying on for the next session starting Saturday.
I walked with a particularly close friend to her car. I waved and blinked back tears. The dorm room seemed claustrophobic after the eventful morning. I walked, got a coffee, sat in the sunshine and returned with renewed vigor to my writing.
I have a day left to explore the town, wrap up necessary reading for my next session and take that nap I missed all week. Then, I start all over again.