Tag Archive for risk-taking

Three Bars in a Single’s Joint, Still No Reception

texting.manFADE IN:

INT, INTOWN RESTAURANT, NOON

PHYLLIS, a thirty-something single, sits with her best friend JANEEN eating and dishing.

PHYLLIS

So I order a martini last night and spot this guy on the other side of the bar…

JANEEN waves for the waiter, who passes them by, and PHYLLIS looks at his behind, grins and raises eyebrows.

PHYLLIS

…he’s the right age, got curly dark hair, no facial hair and a nice build, so I stroll over to give him a better look.

JANEEN

Of you?

 PHYLLIS

Of course of me!  The place was dark, and I was wearing black. How else is he gonna see the curves?

JANEEN shrugs and stabs the last bits of her salad.

PHYLLIS

So I slink over holding my cocktail like a prize and position myself in his sight line, only he’s looking down at his smartphone.

JANEEN

Dumbphone…another dumbass hiding behind social media while in front of a possible relationship.  It’s like face time doesn’t exist—

 PHYLLIS

—except in cyber space!

PHYLLIS aggressively flags down the waiter for the check.

 PHYLLIS

So through the whole time I sip, he never raises his head.  And I’m getting irritated, thinking he’s probably sexting, and if I only had his number, I could text him something like ‘Look up and catch my smile,’ then I’m drinking more and getting pissed, ya know, like ‘why bother coming out to meet people if you will never make eye contact?’

JANEEN nods and laughs.

PHYLLIS

And then it gets worse when I’m done with my drink and over this one-way stare-fest while he smiles and laughs at his phone, and I realize this stupid bar that’s a WiFi HotSpot doesn’t let me text the waitress to bring me another lemon drop!

JANEEN

Ugh, more insulting than getting broken up with by having your boyfriend change his relationship status to ‘single’ on Facebook.

PHYLLIS

No kidding!

The women simultaneously pull wallets from purses.

PHYLLIS

I had to go home!

JANEEN

Alone!

PHYLLIS drops her gaze from her friend’s face to –

CLOSE UP—

JANEEN’s hand wrapped around wallet with acrylic nails and a three-carat solitaire wedding set.

BACK TO—

MEDIUM SHOT of PHYLLIS putting her wallet away as the waiter sits the check on the table.

PHYLLIS

I think it’s your turn to pay.

JANEEN takes the check, reads the total, then looks up at her friend.

JANEEN

Then how ‘bout the next time you’re angry, you just text me?

CLOSE UP—

PHYLLIS’ eyes narrow, then widen as she smiles.

MEDIUM SHOT—

PHYLLIS reaches for the bill and JANEEN pulls it away, then with her free hand, takes PHYLLIS’ hand.  They laugh.

JANEEN

Always fun to be with you!

FADE OUTput.the.phone.down

 

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Baby Present

babySo here I am…a man who never had younger siblings, a man without a child, a man who’s never changed a diaper and gets paranoid around babies…and I’m having lunch with a dear friend and meeting her five-month old son.  I said the standard things — “he’s so cute,” “what a good baby,” “are you getting any sleep?” — yet I felt my heart begin to open up to him.

As my friend and I discussed our lives over the past months beginning with the heavy adult stuff, mostly the changes, the difficulties, the newness, I kept being pulled in by the baby.  I turned back to my friend and shared about my Mom’s passing, felt heartfelt, tearful, then he would catch my eye, and I’d suddenly communicate with him in a silly voice with a rubbery facial expression somewhat surprising myself.  His whole face beamed gleefully, his delight just spilling over.  There was absolutely no way my mood could stay down for long because he kept pulling me into the magic moment alive in the present.

The world was brand new to him – the noise made when swirling a straw in a glass of water and crushed ice; the taste of the ear of the teddy bear I’d brought him, one that fit so perfectly into his teeny mouth; his soulful chocolate-colored eyes exploring my face as I explored his.

All this felt strangely familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it.  Then it hit me the next day when I was leading a writing seminar and I spoke of that moment when a writer puts her work out to a friend, a writing group or the whole wide world.  It’s like putting their infant on the table for discussion, scrutiny, perhaps ridicule.  And like a good parent, she wonders if it will be healthy.  Will it be safe?

I’ve had the honor of cradling and nurturing many writers’ cherished works, their babies, in my hands, transferring new ideas and skills as I placed the baby back into the loving arms of their birth parent.  I’ve midwifed many into creation, encouraging the writer to breathe into the process, then at the ideal moment to push.  And I’ve received the gift of witnessing as they send their completed work, grown but still their child, out into the world.  I assured them it was time for the offspring to live its own life before gently nurturing that writer back to the blank page to coax another idea into being.

As I ate and my friend fed the baby boy a bottle, I dreamed he will have a long life of interweaving plots, solid growth through manageable conflict and lessons bringing resolution while existing in safe settings and meeting vibrant characters along the way.

I am eager to be a part of this.  And the next time I see him, just like I do with my writing, I will get over my inexperience, try something brand new, and move beyond simply stroking his amazing hair while he lies in the baby seat.  I will get my hands on him and hold him, and encourage his story…and mine.

Affirm:  I see the world anew and move beyond fear into the innocent possibility of the moment.  I try something fresh.  I encourage my growth, my own story, by writing. 

Creative Camaraderie

communityAfter a two month absence, the fourth member of the Creative Writers Workshop returned, completing the community.  This reunion, a special occasion, had sentiment, tradition and joy.

After checking in on creative issues, writing was reviewed.  One shared a piece developed over the last meetings, fiction prepared to satisfy an invitation for a journal launching on the other side of the world.  Another revisited and revised a memoir about her father, which she’ll honor him with at an upcoming celebration for a milestone birthday.  Another, through a key revision of an early chapter, realized the template for her book, which combines illuminating instruction with memoir.  And the returnee came back blazing with a gut-wrenching true story, another stride toward taking chances in form and content.

Their process clarification, courageous risk-taking, and expansive creativity is fostered through the abundant safety that thrives in this community where trust runs deep.  Each began within the last year with a simple desire and now confidently call themselves ‘writer.’

Is there someone with whom you excitedly share your writing and can’t wait to hear their comments?  Who tells you the truth in a caring, nonjudgmental way while encouraging, honoring and respecting both you and your work?

Part of nurturing your written expression and yourself as a writer is to find those who will do the same.  Encouraging your growth helps them to grow, too.  You both feel this warm connection; you’re in community.

Affirm:  I deserve a community of writers who inspire me and my writing process while allowing me to do the same for them.

Creative Writers Workshop information