Taking a break from Orwell's eerily prophetic and unsettling writing, I've been reviewing my notes from that class and the things I wrote that day. For better or worse, over the course of the next few posts here in the Den, I'm going to share them with you.
In the first few minutes of the class, we were given our first writing assignment. As we would quickly learn, each assignment that day would come in the form of a prompt. These prompts were meant to kick start our thinking and writing. Our first prompt that day was to write about our name - first, middle, last, or nickname. I chose my middle name and here's what happened when I put pen to paper:
Wade is my middle name. I'm named for my mother's family. My grandfather, Mac Wade, was a sheriff straight out of an old Hollywood studio's central casting office. He was also a legendary story teller. The stories he told at one point must have been true but as he aged and retold them time and again, details morphed. With each telling, some details became more fantastic, while others simply disappeared. No matter how they changed though, it was clear that that these stories meant something to him. With each story he told, he was teaching me about the power of personal stories. Our stories are who we are and our stories matter.
Writing these few sentences was simply exhilarating. They may not seem like much but I was sitting in a class with a dozen strangers, who like me, weren't quite certain about what lay in store that day. Would the writing stack up? What if I have to read this aloud? What if I can't think of anything to write? As that first prompt was given to us, I knew instantly what I would write about and I wasn't going to worry about my writing stacking up. I remembered what my late grandfather had taught me about stories. Stories matter. It was time to start sharing mine.