My First Creative Writing Festival
One day, while searching for the New York Times crossword puzzle in the Lifestyle section of our local Sunday newspaper, I came upon an article titled “Fire up your pens and laptops for a writing weekend at American River College”.
The author called it the “Sixth Annual Creative Writing Festival”, and apparently there was no need to prove you could actually write before you could sign up.
The timing of this news piece was immaculate since I had been struggling for over a year to return to the book I started two years ago. I had been hoping to find a writing club or a group or a class to help motivate me. This news article literally fell into my lap. I guess Napoleon Hill was right — all you have to do is, “Think and Grow Rich”.
I am 64 and haven’t been in a classroom since 1984, so when I typed the URL, “www.summerwords.com”, into my laptop and paid my $95, I was instantly hit with a wave of nostalgia. It felt good. I felt younger. I assumed I would be the oldest kid in the class but I didn’t care, I was excited. And I was more than a little surprised when I arrived to find over half of the 120 attendees were my age or older.
I guess it’s no longer enough to just leave an insurance policy and some photo albums. Nowadays, Seniors want to leave their stories, as well.
Several workshops into the festival, I realized that some people are born to write. When the professor instructed us to write about a topic, they started without hesitation and wrote volumes. Words just poured from their brains to their pens. They didn’t need to think, they were always on, always ready. They were like writing porn stars, ready to go on command.
But others, including me, took a while to gather our thoughts and pull them out like stubborn weeds. Our pens didn’t move as fast or for as long, but when the timer stopped and we read our masterpieces aloud, it was obvious, sometimes painfully so, that writing fast and on command doesn’t always make for good literature. Some of the crap that these…