My writing class has officially begun and yes, it was everything I was expecting and more. It’s a combination of our class reading the book Expecting Adam by Martha Beck, discussing the different messages of the book as well as writing our own stories to be edited by our fellow classmates.
Our teacher, Patricia (who has written her own book called Eating an Elephant) told us why she’s been teaching this class for all these years, “I love to hear people write their stories because I fear that we’re losing them.” It made me remember why it is that I started this blog and why I wanted to share my journey with all of you.
Patricia let us know that we’ll be learning about how to tell a story with the dialogue, imagery, content and characters. After we all did a quick writing exercise, took turns sharing our answers and then telling the class about ourselves, I realized that the best characters weren’t going to be in our book but were actually sitting in this room with me.
First there was Loyd who was a self-proclaimed Southern boy who grew up in Jackson county in the Florida panhandle. His home wasn’t in a town with a name and the closest city was about 14 miles from his house. One of my classmates, Patrick, described where Loyd lived as’ ten miles north of the sign that says resume speed.’
Loyd shared with us his love of all things Southern including salt mullet and because of taking Patricia’s classes, he had already written his own memoirs that were being edited by his kids. When asked how he spelled the word biscuits, Loyd proudly said ‘biskits’ and then let us all know that he could teach Mr. Webster a thing or two about Southern spelling. Loyd also informed us that he wasn’t much of a reader and that he “owned two books and both were colored in.” Something tells me that Loyd will be included in many of these writing class posts.
And then there was the woman who I sat next to named G. Yes, her name was the letter G. She is a fabulous stained-glass artist (she had brought a sample of her work to class) who lives in by the beach. G explained that she had learned to drop all the things in her life that were no longer useful to her and that included her full name. I sat next to her for 2 1/2 hours and I still have no idea what her real name is but I did take her way of thinking to heart.
Our first writing assignment was to write the opening paragraph of how I would start my own memoir. As promised, I’m sharing with you all some of my writing … so here it goes:
When I was in college, my parents bought me a Nikon camera. It was very expensive and high tech for its time in the 80’s. I loved that camera and took it everywhere from my trips to England to party weekends for St. Patrick’s in Savannah. It was a constant companion that I used to record my life.
My Nikon stayed with me for almost 15 years until one day it just stopped working. I couldn’t take any more pictures, I couldn’t get the battery to re-boot and worse of all, I couldn’t get the film out of it to get developed. I still have no idea what images are on that last roll of film stuck in my beloved camera.
When I think about my life stories, it reminds me of that Nikon and what it had brought into my world – the photos that documented the highlights of my life, the printed memories that I’ve put away into those colorful boxes that I have yet to put into albums and that last roll of film of my life that has yet to be developed.