It’s 10:28pm. I just got back from my first writing class. There were 16 or 17 of us taking the class. A few young ones, but most ranging from 40 to 60 years old. We went around the room introducing ourselves, one by one telling a snippet of the memoirs we came to write. Most of our premises were the same – most of us are acting on a passion, a dream – finally taking the time to tell our stories.
Within the class were a medical professor and a college counselor. A marketing professional and an engineer. In the back sat a member of one of the greatest classic rocks bands of all times.
In the class is a New Yorker who started her career as a dancer for the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Her story starts with her father, the first negro concert pianist to play in Carnegie Hall.
Then there’s the young woman whose mentor was removed from office, quietly and swiftly, because of his forbidden acts. She wants to put her thoughts on paper so she can process her confused and somewhat unresolved feelings.
On the right side was professional chef, a youngish man with a heavy Latin accent. He explained the story he has in his head, one that beautifully compares the stages of love to a delicious recipe.
Our first assignment was to free-write for a few minutes, to record a ‘shimmering image’ that recurs in our memory.
For me it was: “My first sensorial thought goes back to that very first morning in New York, a Saturday in late June. A little afraid, a lot in awe, I ventured out onto the neighborhood streets of the West Village. It was early, maybe 6:30 or 7. A haunting silence hung over the cobblestone streets of this quaint little neighborhood. The fresh, dewy morning smells seemed to override the scent of dog urine and last night’s drinks . . .”
I was reminded tonight that none of us have the same story. Each is different, each is colorful, each vital in its own way.
I can’t wait til next week.
I can’t wait to hear them all.