Eight years ago I embarked on an unexpected journey by walking into a continuing education class taught by an amazing women named Dottie Anderson. The class was titled “Discover your Creative Self through Writing” The title intrigued me, encouraged me to sign up: but the class, the conversation, assignments, and connections were completely unexpected. At the end of the six- week course the students and Dottie formed a writing group that meet twice a month for eight years. We were given assignments like “be death at an auction” or “a stone that’s retrieved.” I’d walk out of meetings thinking how am I possibly going to do that? I’d ponder each subject for days, then sit down to write sometimes without knowing where I’d go or end up. We were told that writing commitment – meeting the page – was all that mattered, not style or grammar. Always the creative process showed up and took over. It happened for all of us, and we learned to trust it. The days we read were fascinating. One person would read and I’d think that’s perfect and the next would read and I think I never would have thought of that. We learned that there are many creative ways to hear, see, and feel connected. Gradually we recognized our own voices which continue to evolve, grow deeper, and braver. Our final meeting was in December of 2017, but our journeys persist as we continue to write, read, and listen.
Terry Shepard is a current member of James City Poets. Her poetry can be found in Captured Moments: The Poetry Anthology of the James City Poets.