Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HELLO my name is Anne...

<----(Anne did you know that when you went into the bathroom after writer's group to peel off your contacts and put on your glasses, "mirror, mirror on the wall," what did you see? Large eyes, flushed cheeks, hair in curls and waves. You looked all sexed up, sans razor burn on your chin. You were sizzling, electric. You didn't need the car to get home, you could have flung yourself to the cosmos.)

In the year 2000, I attended a writers group held at a local bookstore. I still remember, my nervousness, when I signed up. Yeah, nervousness! I really had to self-talk my damn self into going to the first meeting.

When I got there, it was a circle of chairs around the bookstore fireplace. Three of the chairs were comfy occasional chairs, part of the bookstore's daily arrangment where people could sit and leaf through books in front of the gas log fireplace.

For our writers group, there were an added 10 folding chairs.

For someone who had to talk her own damn self into going, I got there early, and I got one of the "real" chairs, and plopped down with some relief.

I remember thinking, I'm coming early every time, that way I don't have to sit on a folding chair! Woot!

That's also when I realized, as much as had to talk myself into going to this very first meeting with "strangers," I'd be back!!!!

I got up, took off my jacket and left my backpack on the floor to "mark" my spot.

I went to the end table and got my styrofoam cup of coffee, and filled out my "Hello my name is:" sticker and stuck it over my left breast, my badge of courage.

I was carrying around a leather-cover notebook at that time, and it still holds all my "Hello my name is" stickers to mark those glorious every-other-Monday nights.

I have a zillion-and-one notebooks, and they are all like that. They all hold some secret or capture some time period, or tell me something that I didn't already know about my own damn self! When I page back through any one of them, I find many things I didn't realize I was even looking for.

But this notebook is one of my favorites. I've gone back to it, more than any other notebook. It's like a "lost and found" box when I'm looking for my other mitten on a really cold night.
This notebook, this essential part of me, came to mind a few nights ago in a coversation with a friend, when I said, "Writing is like fucking ..." and he was all what?!!??! ... oh, yeah, wait, I GET IT!!!

And I remember, when he "got it," I felt just like I used to feel in writers group. I felt immediately surrounded by a like mind that felt as I did. I felt the commonality and the shared value of another soul.

Lost is found.

In this same leatherbound notebook, I had written about my writers group that it was much like AA ... I mean, really, the bitter coffee in styrofoam cups, the chairs, the name tags! Everyone, with every piece they exposed of themselves, essentially saying ... "My Name Is [insert name here] ... and I'm a writer."

And then, what the hell ... apply one or two of the ten steps:
...be loyal to your values.
...please myself first.
...rid myself of anger and resentment (we all know we can do that to a page!)
...express my ideas and feelings instead of stuffing them.
...attend meeting and keep in touch w/friends in fellowship. (see?!?!?)
...be realistic in my expectations.
...make healthy choices (write, do not use the pen to stab your eyes out!). ...be grateful for my blessings and responsibilty to others.
...extend and welcome newcomers.
...to be of service.
... to recognize that others have a right (write!!!!) to live their lives.
...to listen not just with my ears but with my heart. (hello!!!)
...to share both joy and sorrow .....

Need, I say more ... My name is Anne, and I'm a writer.

"words caress"


candy said...

and god(dess) bless you for that, honey! you are the real thing.

i've never had the balls to attend a writer's group. if i ever do, you're coming with my damn self, okay?

LOVED this post. Love it still.

Anne Cunningham said...

I can do every other Monday night in South Africa, just say the word. :)

Jennifer said...

I was just thinking about the writing / fucking connection today ...

candy said...


Anne Cunningham said...

Jennifer ... were you writing or fucking when you were thinking about it??!?! Oh wait, it's hard to tell the difference because of writing *is* like fucking, the fucking must be like writing.

That being said, I think we "get" the connection ... no matter how it is said of fleshed out, that writing *is* like fucking, and sometimes it's better than sex and/or chocolate cake!

Candy: DONE! See you the Monday after next and every-other-Monday after that!

Peace out!