What does it all mean? The only way to find out seems to be…writing your way through.

It’s a Sunday night.  Long week.  I just wanted to mention that this small online space is such a fine refuge for me.  Your voices, though not always acknowledged in a timely manner, are read and appreciated.  I read and listen always. I sit back in wonder.  What fine minds!  What good words!  How I love you all!  I know I don’t say it enough, but you guys are such fine writing companions, such good word strivers, such mighty explorers, such surprisingly creative and engaging writers! 

We forge this link , and it is as if we reach out and touch a star.  What wonder.  You have made it important for me to revisit this strange space, to share, and also to experiment to see what comes out.  Is this corny?  Gee, I hope so.  I am a great advocate of the corny.  That’s where we all live.

Peter Pan was generated for you.  It did not exist until it was asked for.  And yet, I read it over again  (okay, yes, it’s tough times right now), sighing each time.  Yep.  Gotta love those short pieces.   But actually the credit goes to a musician named Patti Griffin, who sings a song called “Peter Pan.”  I listened to it while taking along car ride and thought, Gee what a great and deep topic!  So you, too, get to share, think, and ponder this archetype. 

May we never quit!

16 responses to “What does it all mean? The only way to find out seems to be…writing your way through.

  1. Ann,

    There are two things that have occurred in my life in recent years that I cannot explain. I think about them frequently, write about them, and know I have done justice to neither.

    The first is what happened at 2 a.m. one very dark night when, in desperation, I pulled a shoe box stuffed with forty-year-old letters from the bottom drawer of my desk. That’s when I discovered the strength in those fingernails that were keeping me from sliding over the edge.

    The second is the incredible serendipity that brought a bunch of writer-wannabes together in your BWW class, and the life changing things that followed. Many of us have become as close or closer than family, though we would not recognize each other if we met at Barnes and Nobles. Your guidance and encouragement through that class meant more than I have the words to describe, and I can without exaggeration tell you it was life-changing event for me.

    I get the feeling that you have hit a rough patch in the road. Whatever happens, know that you have played a large part in rescuing me and changing the way I look at life.

    I’m leaving in the morning for a two week trip that will have me visiting my brother and his family and their new winery in Walla Walla, cruising on a Royal Caribbean liner to Skagway while attending an onboard writer’s workshop, ziplining in Ketchikan, photo safari-ing in Juneau, and hiking/rafting in Skagway. Oh, and in addition to doing some more research for a gold rush story I’m writing, I’ll also take a ghosts and goodtime girls tours thru the historic ummm…..cribs of Skagway.

    Back in Seattle I’ll attend a friend’s 80th birthday party, tour underground Seattle, and spend several days with the girlfriend who saved a shoe box full of letters I wrote to her while she was away at college in 1965. None of this would be happening were it not for those letters and your class. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet up with you again.

    May I quote good old Anonymous: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

  2. May I bring up another Patty Griffin song, “Stay On The Ride.” As Gully forementioned, since BWW it has been quite a ride. Even though I have several wips that will more than likely never make it past my file 13, it is the process that I enjoy. I become a character that goes where I send him, do things that I could or would never do, meet people that I would like to meet. That is a cool process.

    Also as Ms. Gully mentioned, it is amazing how close we have become as writers and friend, if not a form of family. Is it because on this blank sheet of paper we’re not afraid to be ourselves instead of whom we think society thinks we should be? We may not recongize each other at Barnes and Noble, but a unannounced absence and inquiries about our well being come flooding in. I think that qualifies as a unique type of family.

    Now I must go and do as I do every Monday morning, get a cup of coffee, sit at this computer and try to work at my job. It is tough keeping my mind on the work at hand when I keep trying to work on a scene or character or trying to figure out a story that I could use Peter Pan, Peter Pan, Peter Pan in. But alas, duty calls.

    Thanks for reminding me of Patty, she kinda got lost in the depths of my iPod, she’s back now and I’ll be listening, reaquainting myself to her.

  3. Ann,

    I must confess that when GA-12 came out I grappled with whether to ask you if everything was okay. I wanted to offer my ear or my shoulder (or whatever the cyber-equivalent might be) in the case you were quietly seeking solace. Regretfully, my left-brain, and those I polled, advised that it was inappropriate to pry into your personal matters. Of course, those I polled were not part of this nourishing assemblage of strangers who, as Gully so aptly said it, are an empathetic group of writers.

    Writers! I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to say that. Before Beginning Writers Workshop, I would never have considered myself a writer (even though I had spent my lifetime longing to do so). Ann, you must take credit for guiding me and giving me the confidence to make that declaration. I have a lump in my throat as I think about how I stumbled upon your class at a time when I most needed confirmation. Stumbled – that’s not exactly accurate. I could have joined any number of other classes but I joined yours. I’m convinced that events happen in our lives for a reason. Some connections are easy to make and others take more time to reveal, but there is a reason.

    In GA-12 you asked your “other self” a question:
    “Q. Do you want to deliberately leave something behind—some sort of creation that no one but you could have made?
    A: Yes, but it occurs to me that I’m asking the question wrong. I don’t write to make a really cool, oh-so-memorable grave marker. I write for some other reason. What?
    Ha! Or as the Swedish say, Ja! See GA-13. It’s coming.”

    GA-13 came and went. I’m looking for clues to why you write.

    I’ll try to help you understand how much you and your writing mean to me but it may just be more than you’ll ever know. You, and the other writers here, are gifts from the universe. Each of you has helped me “stay on the ride” to wherever is it I’m supposed to go. (thanks to Walk for introducing me to Patty Griffin’s “Stay on the Ride.”)

    Love, Zelda

    P.S.: I just looked up the lyrics to the Patty Griffin song, “Peter Pan” and got chills.

  4. Although BWW and GA are identified by merely 5 letters, indeed, the best things come in small packages.

    I was scared to death when I sat down at my computer to log in for the first session of Ann’s Beginning Writer’s Workshop. I’d longed to write for years but had more doubts than hopes. After the initial session which allowed us to introduce ourselves, I was already flying high. I was amazed at the number and uniqueness of the other participants.

    Ann provided the tools and more than that she sincerely gave each one of us individually the support we desperately needed and the permission to “just write.”

    I began to feel like a writer and to love challenging myself with the class lessons. I wrote with every ounce of energy that was generated during, what I consider to be “my time of re-awakening.”

    I’ve developed friendships with classmates that are deep and meaningful. I hold Ann in a special place within my heart; her modesty inspires me to hold her as high as I can reach–she truly deserves more praise than I can offer.

    Checking out of BWW was hard. How does a person let go of the hand of someone who has given so much?

    To my delight, a few years later, I was led to this place, where Ann offers more of her priceless coaching. I thrive in this location where I’m surrounded by other writers who understand and share my passion for writing.

    I humbly thank every one of you and look forward to more of these golden opportunities to goof around.

  5. “Writers aren’t exactly people…they’re a whole lot of people trying to be one person.”–F. Scott Fitzgerald

  6. Writers aren’t exactly people…they’re a whole lot of people trying to be one person.”–F. Scott Fitzgerald

  7. Barbara Burris


    It is as the others have said. I was terrified at revealing myself and you made it so much easier to open up. You were incredibly accepting and encouraging of my feeble attempts. For that, I cannot thank you enough. I, too, always wanted to write. Indeed, I did write, but only in my journals. You helped me to have the courage to share my thoughts with others. The first time I told someone I was a writer I felt as though I’d broken through a brick wall I’d spent half a century constructing. I’ll admit I lost a few words of the conversation because I was so startled that I’d had the courage to admit it out loud. I felt as though I was looking at myself from the outside – and for once, I was nodding in approval.

    Your support caused that to happen. You’ll never know how close I came to canceling out of your class – especially when I realized that session had already begun. I couldn’t believe I’d had the audacity to even sign up. But then you assigned that candle exercise and things just started happening. Besides your amazing writing skills, you have another wonderful gift. You have the gift of being able to share your knowledge and skill. Not every person of talent is able to do that.

    Whatever painful thing is happening in your life right now, be assured you will some day move beyond it. The person you are at this moment will not go away; she will instead be enhanced by the experience. Courage is painful, but it’s worth it. All you have to do, all you must continue to do is keep on putting one foot in front of the other – and write about it.


  8. Ann

    I have been trying all my life to amount to something. From ‘hey look how high I can jump to — hey, aren’t I pretty enough for you to marry me — to hey, look how hard I work being a mother, look how diligent. All my life, I waited for someone to tell me I’m good enough. I stared blankly at counselors when they tried. Read all the self-help gurus. Underlined all the paragraphs stating ‘you need to do this. You need to do that’. Well, I got tired of doing this and that. I got tired of jumping high. I got tired of putting on my make-up just like the lady said to do. And my children grew up. And I sat down. And I didn’t get back up. Not for a long time. That’s when BWW floated into my life. Random, accidental, or all the stars lined up. Whichever one you choose to believe. I believe the stars lit the way. Will I be good enough. How high will I have to jump. Here we go again. But I wasn’t told to jump high. Just jump, that’s all. And soon, I realized that I was jumping for the fun of it. Not aiming for the high mark that says ‘okay, now you’re good enough. I realized I had forgotten all about the good enough mark, like it didn’t even exist.

    I kept jumping and playing in a world where good enough wasn’t the goal. That if you land on good enough, you’re the winner of the game and you get the prize. The goal was to jump and play. It felt so good.

    So here I am today, still jumping and playing. Where all the self-help books and counselors couldn’t wipe that blank stare off my face, or knock down that wall around me, you did. And when I look back on it, it seems too simple to be real. All you did was whisper, “I read your writing. I paid attention. I listened. I heard. I like this. Keep going. Keep writing.”

    All my life, this is what I’ve been needing. Your unspoken words “yes, I see you” are wrapped around my heart. I love you.

    “I wrote a note to tell you how you matter”

    • You’ve really touched me with this submission. Your paragraph that speaks of “that blank stare” describes how I’ve often lived and responded to life. And, “it seems too simple to be real” are my exact thoughts.

      Instead of looking to books or people for help, we can help ourselves; that’s empowering.

      The joy of writing, filling us from the inside out, brightens up our faces like nothing else can. Our goal was to learn how to write: our reward was we learned how to live.

      With our words, I hope Ann feels that we’re lifting her up on all of our shoulders–I bet she’ll beam with the thrill of it.

  9. Here we are, a fraction of a fraction of the people that have taken BWW, so take our comments and multiply them by hundreds, if not thousands, and you can see how many lives have been changed through the work of one lady who thought she was just teaching a writing class. You know you have a gift when you touch someone just by doing what you love and being yourself.

  10. Bravo, Walk. You know something. I think we’re doing some splendid writing, right here today. It’s so easy too. And that’s because we’re writing directly from our hearts. We gathered in a class with a woman who provided us with parachutes and nudged us forward inspite of our fears. Ann delicately guided us with a soft breeze here and a gentle tug there as we floated to places we didn’t know were could reach.

    We learned how to express ourselves after being dumb all of our lives. We aren’t interrupted when we write; we aren’t ignored when we write; we don’t look into someone’s face when we write so we don’t see disappointment and we aren’t affected by someone’s reaction or lack to what we’re writing as we write.

    While we write, we are speaking forcefully. We don’t whisper, stutter or stammer, we say what we have to say and that’s it. By writing this way, I believe, we can learn to speak in a similar fashion.

    I must stop or I’ll go on forever. I’d love to do just that but as a human being I have other things I must do. Darn it all.

  11. Another BWW: Beneficent Wonder Woman

    How did she do it? How did Ann get through all of our 500 word final assignments? She analyzed every word in every sentence for every student. It astounds me when I consider the time and effort Ann devoted to that monumental task.

    I’ve taken several online writing classes and they’ve all been good experiences; they’ve been good, but BWW was so far beyond good that I’ll let you fill in the adjective–you know what I’m talking about.

  12. Hello friends,
    There is a new student named Sabrina who has posted here through the main site–“You want to write better….” Please encourage her. She is a kindred spirit, though still young.

    She’s searching. Tell her if this or the class is a good place to find the kind of stuff she’s looking for.

    Do I need more students? No. But she sounds like all of us…hoping and determined to find a way to grow.

    I hope you will find her posting and share yourselves like I know you are do wonderfully capable of doing.

    • I looked for Sabrina’s submission in “You want to write better…” but the last posting I found was Barb’s on April 1st.
      I’d love to welcome her when I find her.:)

  13. Shaddy,

    I found Sabrina. She’s in the “Creative Writing” section and GA-13.

    Have you got your toy box of words close by?

  14. Southbound I-95
    Headphones on
    Notebook in hand
    Ink blurred by tears.
    Washed away.
    Legacy of making dreams

    Traffic builds.
    Tempo change
    Slows her thoughts.
    Out the window
    Across three lanes
    Arms out a window.
    At her?
    She smiles.
    What if?

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