Writing Classes Remind Me I Have a Lot to Learn

Although my business is picking up and I’m getting the hang of being an entrepreneur, I am still a writer.

To remind myself of this, I recently signed up for not one, but two, writing classes.

I’m taking them through the Center for Fiction, the literary arts organization and bookstore that’s now located in Brooklyn, but used to be located in Manhattan, and is where I wrote most of the first draft of my memoir. So it feels good to be back in this place—virtually—that played such a vital part in my journey as a writer.

The first class is Beginnings & Endings with T Kira Madden, and the second is Dialogue with De’Shawn Charles Winslow. I’ve been obsessed with T Kira’s work since I read her essay, “The Feels of Love,” in Guernica several years ago; I am still blown away by the magnitude of heart and vulnerability and truth in that piece—it moves me every single time I read it. I met De’Shawn at Bread Loaf in 2018; he was so pleasant and his reading so funny, that I had to grab his book as soon as it came out. Actually, now that I think about it, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, T Kira’s memoir, and In West Mills, De’Shawn’s novel, came out within a couple of months of each other last year, from the same publisher, so it’s all so apt that I’m in their classes.

I’ve been working on a short story about a woman who experiences marginalization at a writer’s conference and seeks solace about it in a fellow minority participant (that’s a really high level look and doesn’t really capture the heart of the story, but if I told you that much, I’d spoil it for you, so I’d rather you read it to find out). Like many of my short stories, it is entirely too long, so I hope to learn more concrete strategies for compression and how to make the dialogue really dance.

It’s been a fun challenge writing while also building a financial services consulting business. It’s also my first time taking two classes at one time, something I wouldn’t have ventured to do because I would have found it too overwhelming. But thanks to all the multitasking I’ve learned to do in the pandemic, it only makes sense. I contend that if I do it all with joy—choosing to have joy as I do it—it will all turn out amazing.

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