Finding your Voice
A few years after I had my first books published I went to an Amherst Writers & Artists workshop on an island in Greece.
I told the facilitator of the workshop that I was currently working on another book and that I'd probably not attend all the daily classes. I wanted to hole up on my balcony alone and write. She responded encouragingly, asking only that I attend the first class to see how it worked. So I did.
After that first class I went to every single class during the retreat, plus the extra ones they offered in the evenings. I was hooked. Not only that, but every book I wrote after I began to practice the Amherst Writers & Artists method became clearer and better. It was as if I'd once begun to sing with the hint of a frog in my throat, and someone encouraged me to stand taller, to clear my throat, take a deep breath and focus. Then when I sang, they sat in the first row and smiled, gave me a thumbs up, and encouraged me so that I began to sing in my true voice with real confidence.
Amherst Writers & Artists Method
This writing method has intrigued and given me so much back that for years now I've wanted to take their training class and learn whatever magic these workshop leaders impart. I applied for acceptance in their training program recently and was accepted. During the first day of training someone said it's somewhat difficult to explain to someone who hasn't taken an AWA class what it is without sounding like you're in a cult. That cracked me up. I've felt the same when I try to curb my enthusiasm and recommend the classes to other writers.
In fact, I think at least one other writer has asked if I prefer to work only with writers who've trained in the method.
After completing the training and becoming certified I can answer that question. I prefer to work with supportive people. Amherst Writers & Artists helps writers to discover and share their stories in a safe and supportive environment. Everyone in the group is welcome and everyone is considered a writer of equal standing (published or not). There's no condemnation or criticism. It's not therapy, but it's therapeutic. If you share something close to the bone with someone and they rip it apart, it teaches you to hold back.
If you share something close to the bone that you're writing and other writers tell you what works in the piece—it empowers your writing voice.
Writing to Prompts
So much depends upon...time.
How much do you get? A cup? Half a cup?
How will you spend it? On yourself? On your people? Work? Kids? Family?
Science thrills me.
I have big books about time.
That Stephen Hawkings one.
Or Julian Barbour who doesn't believe in time.
He says everything happened at the same time.
The Big Bang—the formation of the universes—humanity here on earth.
Just whoosh here—then everything gone.
No time. Could our concept of time simply be how our minds are capable of perceiving existence?
Like dogs and color?
It doesn't really matter I figure.
Time. Perception. It's brief.
It's a half a cup of whoosh.
I'll take it.