I delivered a short story writing workshop to a high school class. I’m still riding on a crest of elation over its success. Given the opportunity, it’s something I could get used to.
In an unrelated incident, I was telling someone I had written stories that were published. This person’s enthusiastic response reminded me being published is no small feat. I keep forgetting that not everyone can or wants to write, and that the writing world is a niche in Australia, (even in Melbourne) and that getting published anywhere (especially by a third-party with editor involvement) is immensely difficult.
How easy it is to underestimate our rare achievements over time and familiarity. How societal pressures play out means it is the path of least resistance to be self-deprecating about creative pursuits, and to downplay even the most minor of successes to the point of invisibility lest we are cut down first. Unlearning the instinct to downplay is my steady state reality.
Anyway, with this person’s comments in mind, I went in to the workshop somewhat comforted by the idea that my experience and education counts for something and has impressed a few. For the first time in years, I read aloud a piece of my own fiction, and then outlined the process I undertook in its creation. It took some thinking to discuss this, because usually stories don’t require thinking about how. I just do. Much like I don’t often think about how few do this thing too.
What I remembered from this exercise is that I do have knowledge, while I learned I can impart it to others. These students took notes, asked pertinent questions and took it all in. It was exhilarating. Then again speaking about things I care about to an engaged and appreciative audience is one of the best things there is, and doesn’t happen enough in my world. At least this is great, once I get over the nerves. And now I suspect myself of being self-deprecating. Perhaps I am being self-deprecating, but it’s also the truth. Public speaking is not the worst thing in the world for me but my brain likes to recall the horror of forgetting lines on stage that one time many years ago. Then there is the difficulty in stringing words together to make sense.
But I’m getting away from my point. I think it was about remembering to talk about my passions and achievements and letting them speak through me, to others. Yep, that sounds about right. It might be that it could sound right to you too.