As you may have guessed, I got busy and failed to come update this any more. My writing group was fabulous and I got a lot out of it–I really loved reading what they wrote, and found their critique helpful too! I definitely hope the rest of them will finish their books so that I can read them.
I also got to do my first public reading (!!!) at the Thursday-night “celebratory reading of works in progress,” invited by instructor Nancy to share what I came up with in our pastiche exercise. And one of my group members taped it!
So, we were given passages to imitate, and one of them was the opening of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried:
They carried USO stationery and pencils and pens. They carried Sterno, safety pins, trip flares, spools of wire, razor blades, chewing tobacco, liberated joss sticks and statuettes of the smiling Buddha, candles, grease pencils, The Star and Stripes, fingernail clippers, Psy Ops leaflets, bush hats, bolos, and much more. Twice a week, when the resupply choppers came in, they carried hot chow in green Mermite cans and large canvas bags filled with iced beer and soda pop. They carried water containers, each with a two-gallon capacity. Mitchell Sanders carried a set of starched tiger fatigues for special occasions. Henry Dobbins carried Black Flag insecticide. Dave Jensen carried empty sandbags that could be filled at night for added protection. Lee Strunk carried tanning lotion. Some things they carried in common. Taking turns, they carried the big PRC-77 scrambler radio, which weighed thirty pounds with its battery. They shared the weight of memory. They took up what others could no longer bear. Often, they carried each other, the wounded or weak. They carried infections. They carried chess sets, basketballs, Vietnamese-English dictionaries, insignia of rank, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts, plastic cards imprinted with the Code of Conduct…
And so I wrote:
They wrote in Bard notebooks with pens and pencils. They wrote poems, memoir, novels, freewrites, essays, short stories, and revelatory anecdotes, haiku, flash fiction, notes to their future selves, tweets, texts, Facebook updates, and much more. Once a day, when the coffee break began, they rushed away from writing to the plastic trays of fruit and pastry and tall insulated samovars of hot coffee and iced tea. They wrote on paper, each with a one-subject notebook. Jennifer wrote with a mechanical pencil with the pocket clip snapped off. Anne wrote with a Bic pen. Sarah wrote with a felt-tipped marker in a Moleskine notebook bound with string. Nancy used a fat pen. Some things they wrote in common. Taking turns, they read aloud from freewrites, which they had finished only seconds before. They shared the flush of nervousness. They each read only as much as they could bear. Often, they smiled encouragingly, self-conscious or unsure. They wrote about memories. They wrote about impressions, reflections, found objects, prompts, and texts alotted by the session leaders.
And here I am reading it:
And there you have it! My first public reading of my work. XD