I went to a writing workshop this weekend. And by "workshop" I mean 150 participants lined up in chairs before their exalted leader. And by "150 participants" I mean 122 middle-aged lesbians in scarves, 18 tall, fit young women who sat in their chairs twisting their bodies into improbable yoga poses, 8 men looking as out-of-place as if they'd suddenly popped up at a Vagina Monologues performance, my friend Sara and myself. Our instructor was as delightful and unassuming as possible when sitting on a great big chair before a room full of supplicants. Her assistant was great, although I was both inspired and annoyed by his "how I became a writer" story in which he quit his glamorous corporate job in New York, moved to New Mexico and wrote six hours a day while waiting tables at night. Clearly something you can only do if single and childless. But he did redeem himself by having two kids and working as a high school teacher.
My friend and I were both a little out-of-sorts due to other stressors in our regular lives. My trouble originated with the fact that I thought the workshop was NEXT weekend and only realized it was last weekend two days before I had to leave. Then M woke up Friday a.m. with his eye swollen shut with conjunctivitis. In my rush to get out the door remotely on time, I forgot to grab extra shirts (after six hours in the car with the sun on your left, you kinda need a new shirt). Maybe this led to my cynicism about the shawls and yoga (I really do love yoga). That along with the line from Sandra Tsing Loh's A Year in Van Nuys that kept running through my mind--the part where she is helping out at her friend's writer's therapy group and she blurts out, "You aren't writers! You're addicted to writing workshops!" Am I that person?
I tried to relax, but I have to admit I didn't fully let go in Yoga Dance. And my monkey mind ran the show during sitting and walking meditations. The food was great...soooo great, but as much as the concept appealed to me, silent breakfast kind of freaked me out (although I am thinking of instituting it at home). In the end, what I most got out of the weekend was that if I want to write, I need to write, not sign up for expensive weekend writing workshops. I guess it was worth it.