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September 8, 2012 / Andee Frizzell

The Fine Print

I decided I would take a writing workshop offered at my local community college. I figured if I was going to add writer to my list of transferable skill sets that I don’t get paid to have, I should at least have some sort of credentials.

I arrived late to the first class. It wasn’t intentional. I had gotten lost amid the labyrinth of hallways. Why do they insist on making school hallways IDENTICAL to one another!!!

I sheepishly, apologetically took the only empty seat available at the boardroom table in the centre of the room. There were eight participants, all women, sitting, looking forlorn towards the instructor at the front of the class.

I noticed the teacher had tried to create an intimate setting by turning off the over head lights and placing those battery operated candles around the room. She stood, at a mere five feet tall, in flowing robes, bangles adorned her wrists and her waist length hair cascaded loosely down her back. She kept pronouncing memoir with a dramatic elongated drawl on the last syllable, “memooiiiRRRR.”

She spoke with an airy depth and emphasized all the verbs in all her sentences with theatrical motions she made with her hands.“The first exercise we are going to do is to free your inner writer. I will slowly read aloud images,” ( pause…) ” And you will meditate on the feelings the imagery invokes.” (pause….) “Then you will write.”

We all leaned back in our chairs, closed our eyes as we were instructed to do and the soft ambient music started.

She began,” a field of yellow flowers…pause….a drop of rain rolling off a leaf…..pause….a solo red balloon floating away…pause…children’s laughter…..pause….hands touching smooth rocks…..pause….” I am sure there were more examples but I am more sure of the fact that I drifted off at some point, but you get the idea.

I was awakened suddenly by her call for us to grab hold our pens and let the intuitive magic flow. About ten minutes later, she told us to put down our pens. We were now going to read out loud our piece in front of our peers.

The woman to my right wanted to start and she got very morose, dark and tortured. She had written about the tragic loss of innocence, nonconsensual sex. Tears replaced words and the tidal wave of grief poured out over the table.

Now I understood the reason for all the boxes of tissues. The lady next to her went second and she produced another story of loss through death and genocide. And so it went on…each story more painful and wretched then the one prior ( insert string of inhuman, heinous crimes ).

I was growing more and more agitated as the circle of sharing was narrowing in on me.

”I don’t want to read mine.” I stated.

“Please…share…you are in the circle of trust. Let your words free you.” The instructor urged.

“No. I don’t think I understood the assignment.” I was grasping at straws, internally begging; please don’t make me read this.

The table of tear stained faces and runny noses turned to me and armed with only their accumulated sadness, challenged me. We bared it all, now it’s your turn.

I inhaled deeply, closed my eyes momentarily and then focused my complete attention on the page in front of me.

“Anal leakage….sexual dysfunction….nausea and vomiting are some of the symptoms you may experience while on this medication.”

The images had made me think of those commercials for drugs that claim to stop ringing in your ears but have a whole whack of debilitating side effects. I had written a satirical article on the benefits of anal leakage verses ringing in your ears.

No one reached for a tissue.

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4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. slamaina / Sep 9 2012 3:18 pm

    Don’t worry Andee, those of us that also don’t constrain ourselves with in-the-box thinking are also right there with you.

    Slam

  2. Chris / Sep 19 2012 6:27 pm

    You did what you thought was right and funny, I don’t see how anyone can blame you for that.

  3. Monica Hamburg / Sep 23 2012 6:02 am

    Theoretically *had* they been experiencing the first issue the tissues might have been helpful as well… 😉

    Andee, what a hilarious, awesome story! ❤

  4. Tina Chen / Oct 30 2012 5:11 am

    You crack me up like no one else!!!

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