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Between the Words

I attended Viable Paradise for writerly reasons, and received a monumental amount of guidance and information and advice and inspiration and and and...and you get the idea.

But here's what's true: By the end of the week, the most important gifts of the week were not about ink and paper, or the craft of putting the former on the latter in recognizable patterns, or what to do with the paper once it has been perfectly inked.  No, what I was given last week was time, space, tenderness, friendship, and joy.

Aside: If you came this way via sff.net, you already know the strain of the last few years.  If you don't know, just consider it backstory that will likely be revealed as time goes forward.  Suffice it to say I came to VP carrying an immense amount of emotional luggage because, as Pastor Bob says, people like me "don't do" process well or willingly.  (I once explained something to him by starting with, "As you know, Bob..."  But I digress.)

The VP workshop schedule isn't crammed and frantic.  It's lovely.  A good thing, that, because I needed the time.

I cried often during the week.  It had nothing to do with my writing.  (In fact, I have never felt more confident about the writing!)  There was so much going on that was positive, uplifting, encouraging, and personal...  It caught me unawares.  It pushed in before I realized what was happening.  And since I'd been so full of other emotions for so very long, something had to give.  The old emotions, dense and heavy, leaked out.  I did not find this depressing.  When I shared my teariness with a couple friends there, the response was "Good!"  I felt lighter and truer every day.

I discovered some people think I'm a likable person when they meet me, and a few still think that when they get to know me.  My world has been so small for so long--there haven't been many opportunities to meet people in recent years--I admit I was more nervous about the social side of VP than the writing one.  I shouldn't have been!  I made new friends, talked writing, talked life, talked love, talked fears, talked fun.  Talked about food and runaway kids, awesome dogs and religion, myths and sex and the importance of letting folks know you care. 

I ate remarkable food like ginger potatoes, black bean mango salad, cranberry chocolate chip cookies and white chocolate ginger lime fudge.  Took night walks by myself and with others.  Danced the can-can, the kick line, and the Safety Dance during a game of Thing.  Drank too much good whiskey with just the right amount of people.

I did not feel awkward.

And I'm terribly envious of the VP instructors and staff.  They get to do it all again next year!

Yes, yes, I know I should relate the writerly part.  I'm getting there, promise.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 17th, 2011 12:36 am (UTC)
Oct. 17th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
You were a big part of it for me. It is a rare gift you have for understanding.
Oct. 17th, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
I trust you had a good, relaxing day--ready for the happy reunion!
Oct. 17th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
I am amazed to read this. You immediately struck me as such a warm, outgoing, social person, and that impression just got stronger as the week went on. You were always there with a big hug and a big smile -- it always felt as if you were welcoming me into the room.

What an wonderful, complicated woman you are!
Oct. 17th, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)
*blush* I really was happy most of the time, even when weepy-eyed. I think I simply relaxed enough to let the good stuff in and the old stuff out. And you brought your own warmth into a room, m'dear. :-)
Oct. 17th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
It was one of those contexts where you can just talk about things and people don't look at you like you grew an extra head or something. Yes-- we were definitely pre-selected for potential good friends. (and now I'm forgetting if you were there for the conversation about how even the people who seemed to be "sitting on the far side of the workshop" the whole time seemed like awesome people, too.)
Oct. 18th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
I wasn't there for the conversation, but I agree with it. (Of course, it makes me wonder what great conversations I missed while I was having _other_ great conversations!)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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