In January, I started a workshop called Life in 10 Minutes. I placed a bid on a whim at the James River Writer’s Conference after attending one of the last sessions. The women who worked the table enthusiastically encouraged me to pick that one specifically. I was a bit hesitant because I saw that the workshop’s focus was non-fiction. I had been so wrapped up in writing my book that I hadn’t given other genres of writing much thought.
I arrived to the first day of class, with my notebook and pen in hand, completely unaware of much else. It was a group of us, all women being guided by Valley Haggard. We all introduced ourselves and I was one of two newbies to the group. The rest had shared pieces of their lives with each other for at least a year. Everyone was welcoming and smiling but I couldn’t help but feel the tension that comes along with exposing your thoughts for the first time to a group of complete strangers. Valley explained we would write ten minutes at a time, and immediately read our unedited work aloud to the group.
I had nothing to be worried about.
It was more than a safe space. To me, it became a space to be free. Freedom space? I fell in love with writing, spilling, gushing, declaring, confessing ten minutes at a time. It pushed me to say things aloud to others that I was unable to before.
I wanted to carry these feelings with me and sprinkle its essence on my husband, family, friends and strangers. It feels funny to think of it as something I signed up for on a whim. I was probably hurtling towards this all along.