Yesterday was one of my favorite days since moving to DC.
I hit up a six-hour creative writing workshop through The Writer's Center, and I left feeling exhilarated. We did short exercises-- only about fifteen minutes each-- and then a few people would volunteer to read what they had written. There was no criticism, only smiles and nods. I had two major breakthroughs:
1) Using something/someone/somewhere I know to write about something I don't know. For example, the instructor gave us fifteen minutes to describe a museum or tourist destination we had been to, in the greatest detail we could. After that, she told us to place two people in that setting and introduce a conflict. We began writing in one person's point of view, and then halfway through the time she told us to switch and write from the other person's point of view. I'll be the first to say that fiction is not my strong suit, but all of a sudden it felt less daunting, just because I could actually see where my characters were.
2) During each fifteen-minute segment I wrote between 350-550 words. Surely I can find fifteen minutes every day to exercise my craft.
* * *
In the evening, I attended A Literary Feast, to benefit the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. Thirty-four homes across the Hill had volunteered to cook feasts, each based on a different book, and then over 350 people bought tickets to attend the feasts. After, everyone congregated at the Hill Center for dessert and music. I had seen a sign at a bookstore advertising the event within the first week of living here; I signed up for the waitlist the same day. I got a call on Wednesday saying a spot had opened up at the feast based on The Olive Tree by Carol Drinkwater (book review forthcoming). It was an incredible feast, and the company was absolutely delightful. Everyone was welcoming and made an effort to include me in their conversations, as well as take an interest in my new life on the Hill. I met dozens of people last night, and everyone raved about their neighborhood. It made me even more excited to be a part of this community, and they might wrangle some volunteer hours out of me yet.
[photo of Capitol Hill Books is my own]