My Writing Critique Class


Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed doing, whether it was writing a short story or keeping a journal. Two years ago I decided to write a memoir of sorts, about my journey through cancer. I wanted to share my story with others who were newly diagnosed, in order to give them hope; including what I did that brought me back to wellness.

Around that same time, I found out my local senior center offered a free writing critique class that included a retired English teacher named Barbara, who corrected our grammar! How lucky is that? When I joined, there were already around twenty members who had been meeting weekly (some as long as ten years!). Most of my classmates were there writing their own memoirs hoping to pass them down to their grandkids. Some were poets and others were already published in periodicals. A few of them never wrote anything and I think they showed up just to socialize. Most of the members were in their seventies.

Six months ago I stopped going. My teacher who just turned ninety-two got sick and we had a replacement. The new teacher had her own way of running our group and that’s OK, but I didn’t resonate with her, so I dropped out. The original teacher came back three months later but by then I lost interest. I even stopped writing my book. Luckily Ron, a classmate sent me emails about what was happening in our group and on occasion would tell me that I was missed.

Today I went back with the intention of saying “good-bye” because I’m moving four hundred miles away and probably won’t come back (although I’ve learned to never say never). There were also two books I borrowed from classmates and I wanted to return them, although neither of the women who loaned me the books were there today.

A funny thing happened when I showed up to the room I spent so much time in; I felt a great sense of sadness wash over me. I didn’t expect that since I pride myself on not getting to close to people… emotionally, that is. I got mixed up about what time class started and arrived an hour too early. Ron was there setting up the refreshments. He was happy to see me, so we sat and chatted for a while waiting for the others to show up. As each one arrived, they too were delighted to see me and I was happy to see them. It wasn’t until then, that I realized how much I missed the class… and most of all my classmates.

How could I have stayed away so long? Why didn’t I go back as soon as I learned Barbara had returned? I don’t have the answers but I wish I had gone back sooner. Six months is a long time, especially when you get older. Since I got sick, time is something I think about a lot. (Do I really want to spend my time doing this or that? Or, do I want to spend time with this person who I don’t have anything in common with?)

Today I discovered I really enjoyed spending time with these people and apparently they feel the same about me.

I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be here in this city, since we don’t have a new place to live yet. (I wrote about us moving in an earlier post). Hubby has been gone a week, working in the new town and I’m here alone with my pets. I’m self-proclaimed introvert but maybe not as introverted as I thought. I do like company, especially my husband’s and today I figured out I liked the company of my classmates, so as long as I’m still here, I will continue going to class.





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