We workshopped my story this morning and I survived. It was actually easier than I anticipated because people obviously were commenting in an effort to be truly helpful. And they were, even (or maybe especially) when they were telling me what didn't work.
My greatest fear was that I'd cry in front of them when they criticized me, that they'd see me for the silly wimp I can sometimes be. That whole criticism thing? That was my first big mistake. No one was criticizing me, they were reviewing my work. I am not my ability to write any more than I am my ability to comb my hair or to cook a meal. It's freeing to understand that. And I do, at this very moment. I'll forget again, no doubt, and need reminders. I think that's part of the insecurity that comes with creating something.
I'm proud to report that I took careful notes while each person talked and never once needed to even clear my throat or sniffle. Acted like a real grown up. Now I can settle down and concentrate on soaking up every bit of information and learning being offered.
Speaking of which, I picked up a book Barb recommends in her class, and it's phenomenal. Maybe the most enlightening stuff I've ever read on writing. Pick up The Situation and the Story if you get a chance. I promise you won't be sorry.
Tomorrow will be another big day. Pam Houston is reading in the evening, a real treat. If you haven't read Cowboys Are My Weakness or Waltzing the Cat, get thee to a bookstore or on-line bookseller and get copies. Pam's a larger than life personality. Drove in last night just as everyone was gathering, a grand entrance if I ever saw one, complete with the largest Irish wolfhound in existence hanging its head out of her SUV. No one in the place missed her arrival. But she's filled with a love of life that shines out her pores, I swear. I can't wait to hear her read.
Taos is lovely, but so far it doesn't call to my heart the way Sante Fe and Abiquiu do. There's lots more to see, though, and maybe I'll fall in love as I get to it.
Meantime, my love to all of you. And my enduring gratitude for your support.