Friday, June 18, 2010

To the Writers of Room 177

It's funny how a group of people who begin a week complete strangers can feel so familiar by the end.  I bid adieu to my fellow writers this afternoon, feeling a genuine pang of sadness to leave this group I've come to know both through the conversation and through the writing we shared this week.

There's something about the anonymity of getting to know people you'll likely never see again that opens the door for exchanges more intimate than some have with closest friends.  Over dinners and lunches, in always-changing combinations of us, we talked about spouses and religion and sex and family and race and addiction and geography and travel and childhood and war.  We asked questions about writing accomplishments and aspirations, sought out advice from those more seasoned, wondered at those who can spin a tale with seeming ease and grace.  We spoke candidly, freely, feeling no need to censor ourselves for people we'd leave a few days later.

In class, we learned even more--from the words and phrases we selected to convey the characters and places and events we discovered and remembered and created in Room 177.

And somehow, through all this unedited dialogue and coexistence, we came to understand each other, to appreciate each other in all our apparent strengths and quirks.  That which at first annoyed or distanced grew endearing as we waded past first impressions to the layers beneath.

I spent my driving time tonight reflecting on my week's companions and their backgrounds, turning over our interactions, remembering the moments of hilarity and poignancy.  Already, I feel nostalgia for our time together.

As important to me as the writing I completed this week is the time I spent with these people: parents and grandparents and engineers and designers and lawyers and farmers and teachers and students and librarians and comedians and sales folk, some still working and others retired, some married for forty years and others three times, some from the coasts and others from the middle and one from across the world.  But all writers.  And all an unexpected gift to me for the week.

Here's to you, fellow world observers and storytellers.  Thank you for sharing your lives with me.  May you enjoy every success to which you aspire.  

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