You sit around a large table with a bunch of other writers. Make small talk. Talk writing. Read about writing. Write.
The clackety-clack of chiclets, the low-grade growl of pens grinding into paper. Don’t stop until the time ends. Run over time a second. A second more. (Does everybody else understand?)
One writer’s father died hard; so did her uncle, both almost the same way your mother did. She thinks about home often like you do.
Someone else’s pillow talk is far juicier, wetter than yours ever was. You contemplate your use of the term “pillow talk” to begin with vs. the reveling of their descriptions of bodily fluid exchange. Pillow talk — they’d never even use that term. You applaud their freedom.
Your turn again. You remember how nervousness tastes — sour, bile-like. You read. You tell everyone you love some things they probably don’t. Probably, really don’t. You survive the telling. The voice in your head wasn’t right. It’s silent – it must be on a pee break.
Another question. You write some more. You read some more.
More first draft, more first thoughts.
Everyone reveals their struggles they have culling them, corralling them when they’re not in the room. You finally hear writers say, in person, that they feel the same way as you do. You finally meet the others all the books on writing say that exist.
Unpolished, unvarnished creativity, vulnerability — writers living, sharing it.
You want to linger in that freedom, remember how it feels to not be under load when you’re not at the table. When you’re not in the room. When you’re miles away, which you will be again in a couple of hours.
You wonder if your perfectionism took the day off or would perhaps go on a longer vacation so you can really get to work.
The next day, you’re reminded that every day won’t be as high as that one. But since you feel more alive than when you came into the room, that’s something you can live with.