We are Wonders of the Universe
They were strangers to me. One I had met the Sunday before and spoken with for about five minutes. The workshop host I had admired mostly from afar and met with to set up the workshop. The group had a mother and daughter in it, but otherwise, they appeared to be as unknown to each other as they were to me. Now, we, this group of strangers, were gathered for a Saturday morning workshop to write what was in our minds and on our hearts.
There is such courage in that gathering. Such trust in me as their facilitator. So much bravery.
It took me longer to prepare for the workshop than I had anticipated. I’d thought, after 8 years facilitating weekly writing groups at the Door of Hope, I can do this in my sleep. But, this time around, I wanted to bring out the salient features of what makes a Righting Group tick. The topics I chose needed to further contemplation of the ultimate question: might the members of the workshop want to start their own Righting Groups?
We had twelve participants, a perfect number. The three-hour workshop squeezed in three separate writing sessions of about 20 minutes each. We had plenty of time to share our writings.
In Righting Group, sharing your writings is 100% voluntary. Creating in a group has a special magic even if you never share your work. I emphasize this truth over and over again during Righting Groups: do not feel compelled to share. Yet, I cannot tell you what joy I get from hearing what people write.
Many of the workshop participants don’t consider themselves “writers.” They are free to write on anything they want, but if they write on topic, it’s one they’ve just heard for the first time sitting at the table. They have a brief time to write and can edit as they go or as they read, but there is no polishing. And the writings are extraordinary.
The writings are full of wisdom called from the depths of consciousness by random topics. They’re humorous, poignant, wildly memorable. Full of rich details, quirky sayings, images I will not soon forget. They are written for the writer, but a delight to us, the listening ear of the universe.
Whenever I participate in a Righting Group, I’m always reminded that I love people. I love how we are made, who we are. Each ordinary person is extraordinary. Every person sitting around the writing table has difficulties and warts and problems and haunted pasts and issues we are desperately working on and fears we will never conquer. But not while we are writing. While we write, we are wonders of the universe.
#RightingGroup, #WeRRightingGroup, How to do Righting Group, how to do writing group, We R Righting Group, Writing in groups, Writing to form community, Writing workshops
There is definitely something special about writing in a group from prompts. I’m not used to doing it with prose, but have relationships with a couple of different poetry workshops that do this. There is something freeing about the experience. You have to decide quickly what direction you will go and plunge in. Even if I can’t refine the poem enough to submit for publication, I always am grateful for writing a poem that would not otherwise have existed.
Ellen Morris Prewitt
How cool that you do this too! I love the “plunge in” description. In the book I note that one of the things this method prevents is a lot of “over-revising.” You have to read it right after you’ve written it, no chance to revise out the warty parts that, when you have time to think about it, you’d really rather not reveal–but they are usually the best parts!