Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Writers' Group

A light clicked on automatically as I approached the old house. I instinctively froze in my tracks and felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I took a deep breath and tried to relax before proceeding to the front door.

There was a light on inside. I peered through a screen door and wondered what I was letting myself in for. In my hand I held three of my most recent pieces of writing, a small black notebook, and a blue ballpoint pen.

“Come in,” someone called from inside.

I opened the door and stepped into a well-lit kitchen. The room had a farmhouse feel that appealed to me and reminded me of kitchens I’d been in in the past.

I began to relax.

A small woman with welcoming eyes entered the kitchen from an adjacent room. She introduced herself and told me to make myself a cup of tea. We chatted for a while and she described how the writers' group worked.

It became clear that no one else was going to be joining us so we sat down, sipped tea and talked about writing.

She read me a couple of her stories. One was a twisted tale with a fairly obvious twist. The other was a fine story with a slightly incomplete ending.

I told her I liked her stories and she seemed pleased.

She asked me if I wanted to read something I had written. I chose a story that told of a moment straight after a small accident.

I read the story nervously and perhaps a bit too quickly.

I finished and looked up expectantly.

“You started a lot of sentences with ‘I’,” she informed me.

“Yes,” I replied, “I thought that the protagonist would be thinking about themselves a fair bit straight after an accident. Also, I wanted short sentences. I wanted Subject-Verb sentences. I wanted punch.”

She was unconvinced.

“Well,” she told me in a conciliatory tone, “it has a beginning, a middle and an end.”

She didn’t like my story. She didn’t get my story. I was crestfallen.

I wasn’t invited to read another story.

We talked for a bit longer and then decided to leave. I picked up my notebook and pen. I picked up my unwanted stories and headed towards the door. She said she would see me next week. I wondered if I would come back.

Rain was falling as I turned my car towards home. My windscreen-wipers tried furiously to keep the rain from within their domain. I stared out into the blackness and thought about my unliked story.

I was hurt, I realised, but my determination was not diminished. And, as I walked up the dark steps towards my house, I whispered to the night: I am a writer, whatever anyone else thinks.

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