I Went to a Writing Group Today - May 22nd, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I missed the Left to Write meeting. The next day my friend Jon emailed me and asked if I was going to come to the next one. I was sad when I realize that I had missed the meeting, I had simply forgotten to write it on my schedule. I think I made up for it today.

The meeting was at capacity today with 13 people in attendance. When I walked in I thought the entire table was already full because the only open seats had books in front of them. But, those seats were open. The book was the prompt; dun, dun, dunnn.

I sat down and looked at my book, "Ooh, 'The Law of Love' by Nora Roberts, one of my favorites." I'm joking. I can't remember what I said exactly, but I did mention that it was not a book that I would normally pick to read. I had the option to change of course, but I didn't want to.

Now, I've tried to read romances. I've tried quite a variety over the years. I've tried the classics by the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen. I've tried some modern vampire ones, and "Outlander" by Gabaldon. Right now I've just started looking at "Indigo". It's a romance set in the struggle of the underground railroad in their effort to help slaves escape from the Southern United States in the mid-1800s. It seems to hold promise. Every time I try one my interest just ends up fading and I move on. I did get through the first book, and half of the second one, when "Fifty Shades of Grey" was big. It wasn't good writing, but it was an interesting little fantasy until she started destroying the entire character of the male protagonist. I might eventually finish the first book in Anne Rice's "Sleeping Beauty" series too, we'll see. Anyway, the point is that I've struggled with romances.

I laughed. I laughed a number of times during that writing session thinking about the crazy story that I was trying to write, wondering if it was working at all.

The idea is that you flip to a random page and blindly point to a sentence. Then, you write something based on that sentence. The sentence I pointed at was...

- - - - - - -

"Hell, Miss Sarah. I mean --" He cleared his throat.

- - - - - - -

Thanks Nora Roberts, lol.

This was a perfect opportunity for me to dive in and give it a go. To explore and expand. So, here's how it went.

- - - - - - -

Jake was meeting a woman today. He knew it, but she didn't.

He had gone to the bar every Friday night for the last month. He had sat on a stool and ordered a drink. He had sipped on that drink for an hour and then left, every Friday night for the last four weeks.

Tonight was different though. Tonight he was going to meet a woman. That was why he started coming to the bar in the first place. He didn't see very many women on the cattle ranch, hell, he didn't see very many people, period.

Jake looked up from his drink and scanned the bar. A cute, petite blond looked back at him from two tables over. She smiled and looked away.

That's what he needed, a shy woman. He could be confident with a shy woman. She was just staring at her, well... Jake wasn't sure what kind of drink it was. Something blue in a margarita glass.

He downed the rest of the bourbon and walked straight towards "cute-petite-shy-blond."

Heart racin' like he's ridin' a bronco. Maneuver around a chair, and... wait a minute. There was a guy coming out of the bathroom. He was headed towards the same table.

Jake went right passed the table without looking at the woman once and kept going towards the door.

As he was about to exit, the door opened and a woman stepped right into him. "Sorry," said Jake.

The woman looked at him and smiled. It was Miss Sarah, his English teacher from high school. He hadn't seen her since high school. She still looked the same, bright green eyes, auburn hair, and an engaging smile.

"Wow," she said. "You've really matured nicely," as she reached out and squeezed his bicep. "Do you want to buy me a drink?"

"Hell, Miss Sarah. I mean --" He cleared his throat.

- - - - - - -

I was really scrambling to get that into the 20 or 30 minutes that Analiese gave us. It was a bit difficult for me to get started. It was also hard to continue. Then it was hard to end. I guess the whole thing was hard, but pretty enjoyable.

When I got done writing that piece I thought about trying to get out of reading it. I also thought about apologizing before I read it. But, push the thoughts of doubt aside and step forward. (It's a metaphorical step.)

I made a joke out of the fact that I wasn't particularly interested in this book. Then, the reading commenced.

All of those years of practicing public speaking do transfer over to reading passages. There was quite the reaction in the group to the second line, where there's some woman that doesn't know she's going to be meeting Jake. And, there was a strong reaction when I finally got to the final line.

People seemed to like it. I was amazed. Jane even said that it was a realistic fantasy based on her time hanging around cowboys, meaning cowboys really have that fantasy. I noted that it might be a fairly popular fantasy for English teachers too.

And of course, I was surprised at the quality of the other writers. I always am at that group. How can thirteen people show up to a public meeting and you get thirteen competent writers? It doesn't seem possible. And yet it happened. A perfect place to explore and try new things.


You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com


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