Saturday, March 27, 2010

No Apologies Dammit! A lesson from the Writers at the Beach: Seaglass2010 conference

The urge to introduce my reading with apologies was so strong!  We had just spent four minutes doing a writing exercise at one of my Seaglass 2010 workshop sessions and now each of us was reading what we had come up with out loud.  The readings were circling the table and getting dangerously close!

In my head I rehearsed my introduction.

"Sorry, I am so bad at reading out loud..."

One person closer.

"Sorry I am not really good at writing on the spot like this...and I am terrible at reading aloud..."

The person immediately to my right!

"Sorry I am not as good as you guys...in fact I am really not a very good writer at all let alone writing on the spot like this...and I am so very terrible at reading out loud!"

Then it was my turn.  I paused a moment.  Had I really just mentally told this room full of my peers that I was not worthy of calling myself a writer? Suddenly I was angry at myself.  No apologies dammit!

And with that thought resonating in my head, I read.

I read like I had never read before, clear and loud.  My voice rose and fell in pitch at just the right places and I found the rhythm of my writing.

When I finished, heads nodded in appreciation and encouraging mumbles went around the table along with a polite applause. The workshop leader said my piece had reminded him of the author whose excerpt he had read to us earlier. I basked in the glory of my victory!

It had been a simple bit of prose.  Nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering.  Nobody would remember it beyond that moment.  But in that moment, I felt a power I had never felt before and I realized my apologies, my lack of confidence, were the only real things that stood in my way.  That is a lesson, from Seaglass 2010, I will never forget.

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