After a long hiatus, I knew I needed to get back to my one true passion, writing. That effort would need to take various forms, including connecting with other writers and improving on my craft. That’s why when I saw a meetup for creative writers in Miami and a workshop coming up, I had no doubt that is where I needed to be Sunday night. I signed up and added it to my digital agenda like I’ve done with so many other events, the difference being I don’t end up attending many of the other events. This, though, I had to attend no matter what.
To make my commitment even harder to miss, I bought a ticket to go watch War For the Planet of the Apes, which I enjoyed, but I realized quickly I need to brush up on the other movies for context. Anyways, the movie was scheduled in one of those Dolby theater rooms with the very comfy, techy chairs. Unfortunately, I ran a bit late and was not able to get as comfy as I hoped. I mean, I never thought a movie theater would be full at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday. Lesson learned, go to the movies early regardless of the time of day. The movie theater was in the same shopping mall as the workshop, so it was extremely convenient and absolutely necessary.
See? I often miss out on movies, concerts, and events in general for a lack of company. It is not often that I want to go somewhere my friends would prefer to be. I honestly blame it on my eclectic taste in outings. Plus, I often want to stay home (something I plan to change in the near future, just bear with me). So, in an effort to break the cycle, I took myself out. Yes, I added the movie to the agenda after RSVPing to the workshop, making it convenient since it was in the same place, removing a movie from my “to watch” list, and making a conscious effort to spend time with just me. The only problem was my math skills. I didn’t plan it right, so I was now 30 minutes late to the workshop and had to run out of the theater, feeling both embarrassed about being late to come in and quick to get out, and having to deal with now walking in late to the workshop. “Must break this lateness cycle” I said, for possibly the 100th time that week.
The workshop was taking place in a cute spot called Teas & Poets. It was quiet, to the point of making me feel I had missed the whole point of that day. Towards the end of the shop, there were tables filled with people, notebooks, and laptops. I still find it so hard for my creativity to run wild on an electronic device. Even this post is hard to type on my computer without getting technical about what I’m writing, my body’s position as I type, and wondering if my environment is the best environment possible for my writing. Pen and paper beat writing on a computer all day, every day. I quickly grabbed a chair and tried to listen closely to the instructions. I want to say the person giving the workshop didn’t recognize me, though she kept looking back trying to make out where she’d met me before. For clarification, we met at a networking event. They’d started writing based on her prompts, and it was impossible to catch up. It was, however, much easier to start based on what they were sharing, and take it from there. I could still write something more original later.
They’d started writing based on her prompts, and it was impossible to catch up. It was, however, much easier to start based on what they were sharing, and take it from there. I could still write something more original later. Someone shared a line about someone (her) realizing that the movie theater was farther than she thought and that it was distance she would not want to cover on foot. I’m paraphrasing. Given my interesting experience going to the movie by myself just moments earlier, I quickly grabbed on to that idea. Now, this wasn’t the first time I had gone to the movie by myself. But, it was the first time I had done it as a regular client, and not as an employee. Yes, I had once worked in a luxury movie theater. And I went in for free during non-peak hours. But this was different. It still made me feel like I had accomplished something.
We were given the prompt to write based on something we had written (which I had nothing at the moment), or something we heard. We were given 10 minutes to write without stopping to fix or overthinking. I’ve done these before (for 20 minutes) and I have to say they’re my favorite exercises. Wonder what I wrote? Here it is:
she learned to appreciate the voice of everyone else, so much so that she forgot what her own voice sounded like. Once in a while, she’d hear a whisper, a lovely whisper. She knew she’d heard it before, but she couldn’t recognize whose it was. She’d hear it every time the other voices became too much. It’d always remind her of how special she was. It’d always tell her how lovely, kind, virtuous, and rare she was. It’d often speak of better times. Times she couldn’t remember. The whisper would, more often than not, counter the voices around her. It would often come in, opposite of her judge. That internal judge that lived inside of her. It would tell her that anything was possible, like going to the movies by herself and enjoying it. Like loving her new do. Like losing that toxic judge she kept as a friend and took everywhere she went. It filled her with dreams, it drowned her in songs. They would tell her she was crazy for listening to this whisper, for it would do nothing for her, and in the end, all it would do would be to ruin her. But she stopped listening to them.
The clock stopped, the pencil came down. It’s interesting to read back on what you write when there’s no end goal in mind, just pen or pencil to paper and let your mind run. I’m sure other artists can understand that. It’s a different way of creating. It not about creating some new masterpiece, all that matters is that you don’t stop working until the time is done. I something very personal, while pulling inspiration from something someone else wrote. That can happen sometimes. Inspiration can come from anywhere. As I read back, I’m just always amazed that something so small can become a story of its own.
The workshop continued and I got to write some more interesting stuff. Stuff you might get to read, you may not. You never know where creations will go. Musicians write songs that get archived, become hits, or are never released. I had the opportunity to meet new people, which is always a plus, and my creative muscles were slightly stretched.
The End of the Date
I have to say this past Sunday was definitely one of a kind since I don’t tend to go out by myself much. But it can definitely become a thing, a very regular thing. Though I love the people in my life, sometimes you just need to take yourself out on a date and show yourself some love. No one can speak to us like we do, no one knows what we need like we do, and no one has the responsibility to you like you do. Go do the thing you enjoy most, and show yourself the best time possible.
Then, come and tell me all about it in the comments section :). What has been the best date you’ve ever taken yourself on?
Also published on Medium.