Who inspires me? I’m writing free-flow today like the many times I’ve sat in Brown Bag writing group. We’re given a prompt and then we just start writing. It’s a mix of brave and not so brave souls baring hearts and messy lives to paper for some to read out loud and for others just to get it out on the page. I love these people. They’re just like me–A little different, a person set apart for the writing life. An effort that’s not always monetarily rewarded but still vital.
During one writing prompt in a memoir class I was teaching I looked around at the students there, hunched over their desks writing their stories. Then I listened and their chaotic, beautiful lives were revealed one at a time. A scary brain tumor kept one writer on the edge of life. Another’s husband, just a year prior, killed himself. One writer had been a nun in a former life but had gotten out of it. I listened to their stories and realized the common thread, what all of us writers share, is that we’re survivors. I think that’s what makes writers so interesting. The stories that come out of the struggles make something beautiful out of what was once so awful. It’s scary and hard to work through trials and not just hide them. Sometimes the only way to walk right through the mess is to write. So, that’s who inspires me. Writers. Writers of all types from Shakespeare, to C.S. Lewis, to J.D. Salinger to the beginner writer sitting next to me in Brown Bag writing group, to the founder of Brown Bag, Judy Reeves.
After 20 years hosting Brown Bag at San Diego Writer’s, Ink, Judy Reeves is taking time to write her next book. She’s asked me to sit in her place. If you’re in the San Diego area, come out and join us on Tuesdays at noon. San Diego Writer’s, Ink