I have to admit, I was grateful for above freezing temps as I drove home from Asheville last night. Our road was slick and muddy from yesterday's melting snows; I could imagine how much slipperier it would have been covered in ice. Why was I in Asheville? I'm excited to say I'm taking a Greater Smokies Writing Program class with the renowned Vicki Lane (it was a thrill to meet her in person, her books were my bridge to this area when I still lived in FL). The class is being held at the The Thomas Wolfe Memorial visitors center. The home is quite beautiful, an interesting contradiction to the surrounding newer buildings.
The class is "A Beginner's Guide to Novel Writing" and promises to be an incredible learning experience. And challenging. And practical. And work...I'm not complaining, it's a class after all, but I did find myself thinking "wow". I loved every minute of it, except for maybe one...after introductions and an overview of some of the realities of being a novelist, Vicki asked us to take out paper and pen and describe a favorite scene or memory (at least that's what I interpreted her assignment to be, most people wrote about a physical place, which later made me wonder if I'd understood the task). Ten minutes. Gulp. I thought of many things, our cabin, our river, family memories. The birth of my grandson Liam came to mind and I started to write, trying to capture hours of feeling into 10 minutes worth of words. I felt like I had just gotten started when Vicki said "two minutes". I hadn't even gotten to the best part yet, but I surly had to have him born...spent too much time thinking of what to write...anyway, this is what I wrote.
The astringent smell was bothersome at first, but it soon faded. The bustle of the nurse around the monitors, feeling her pulse and questioning her state of being kept my attention. After yet another exam, she took a deep breath, said "hold on now, we need to get the doctor" and she scurried from the room. I knew this was it and squeezed her hand so she knew I was there. It wasn't long and we heard his first breath and then a slight cry. 10 fingers. 10 toes. Perfection.
Times up. Vicki looks to the end of the table and asks Emmy to please read her description. Another bigger gulp...I suppose I knew this was coming. Vicki goes around the room and calls my name. I begin to read. I know it's going to be emotional as soon as I open my mouth. I get to the word doctor and catch my breath, tears streaming. It took me a bit to get through it, but I did. Brenta, sitting next to me, gently put her hand on my shoulder to offer comfort...very kind. When I was done, I heard a classmate say something to the effect of "wow, I was wondering how someone dying could be a favorite". I couldn't decide if I felt good about that or not, but that wasn't the point. On my drive home, I thought of all the other things I would have put into my description, but that wasn't the point either. I was exhilarated and exhausted. And inspired.
I can't wait until next week. I don't think I'll be sharing the details of every single class, though you may get bits and pieces. But this first class was the first, and just like Liam, special.
Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,