Writing | the workshop, weekend, alleviating doubt

Online Writers’ Workshop by Michelle R. Smith

I am in the midst of a writers’ workshop. Interested in being part of a writers’ workshop? Michelle will be hosting another series of workshops in July. Make this a summer activity to enjoy, learn, and discover the writer you are. Michelle is on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger.

On meeting Michelle and her writing – virtually

I came across Michelle’s December 2016 post, Love Deez Nutz, or Why Van Jones is Wrong and Maybe Even A Bit of a Bullshitting Magical Negro, or Happy Friday From My Corner of Trump’s America – Whatever You Like – I’m Tired, and then her follow-on post days later, It’s Not Them; It’s Us: On Martin, Malcolm, Then, and Now. (I was one of the folks who came across her Love Deez Nutz post after the more than 30,000 people.)

Love Deez Nutz started me thinking more about personal narratives, experiences, and perspectives shared by friends and strangers about Trump becoming president. I found (and continue to find) myself thinking about Michelle’s writing – “Wow! What clarity in her point of view.”  Her writing made (and continues to make) me think, react, and discover other areas of the landscape of race and culture that I have not thought of for myself or those around me. It’s a great exploration – her personal blog, The Bluest i. (GO there NOW.)

My weekend workshop moments

Yesterday was Saturday, June 2.  Since May 28, I have been part of Michelle R. Smith’s Writers’ Workshop.  Amidst the many activities around this time of year (e.g., graduations, holidays, celebrations), we may extend beyond ten days, and that is okay with me.

The orange journal? It is where I keep my notes, thoughts, and ideas that continue to emerge from the workshop activities. (I turn in my assignments via email, while retaining them in Google docs.)

I spent part of my Saturday afternoon revisiting my notes from the first couple of days of the workshop and checking in with others who are part of the workshop. With several days of the workshop, I have dug deep into my grey matter and beating heart, while enjoying the intense self-reflection that has emerged from Michelle’s daily workshop activities.

Tidbits about her workshop

Michelle’s online workshop for “… freeing up your creativity and building your confidence” includes –

  • submitting a written piece (toward the end of the workshop) for Michelle’s discussion/critique
  • completing writing activities based on Michelle’s prompts for each of her ten principle
  • delving daily into each of her ten principles
  • receiving Michelle’s feedback and coaching

– and I would add that it is an opportunity to set time aside to be part of the writing community she is creating and supporting.

My doubts about my writing and being a writer

Yup, I have my doubts – about me as a writer. A few of the doubts have run fairly deep over the years.  And emerging from the first few days as part of Michelle’s workshop, I can point to (at least) eight solid doubts (I’m looking at that list in my journal now) that I have had for many years.

The special part about this workshop? Michelle’s feedback and coaching.


Dog | on free-range

Because of Bella …

Bella, in front of Niles Pie Co in Union City

(free-range) … I have worked on having her roam my home (rather than her being in her kennel, which she is generally good with) when I’m away.  I also leave the television on (Comedy Central).  This has been for the past two days. So far, Bella is doing okay (e.g., no accidents, no obvious furniture jumping-on), at least for up to four hours.

(walking) … I walk more.  She pees and poops. That’s our tacit contract.

(booty scooting) … I now know what this really means. I know there is a word to what I saw her do yesterday.

(home office) … I have learned I need a break from my home office.

(away home office) … I brought Bella to one of my home office away from home office spots – Niles Pie Company (website, InstagramFacebook, Twitter). This is where I learned about her barking choices – at people and at noises. Fascinating, Ms. Bella.

(stretching) … I play a little game with myself – I stretch when she stretches, because she stretches big time and often – in the house, during walks, on the porch, wherever. She also sleeps often, but I don’t because I have bills to pay, and I’m not a 10-year-old dog.

(farting) … I am pretty sure, as Bella roamed around parts of my home last night, that she farted. My home neither makes that noise nor emanates that smell. (This is really the only reason I am writing this post – to share this tidbit. You are welcome, Mommy AJ, Tita Alley, and Tita Lauren.)

Bella at the In-N-Out drive-thru and on the way to Petco

(little road trips) …  I learned she’s cool with car rides. Turns out, Bella will get into a car pronto – evening or daytime (if time of day even matters).  And she pretty much looks the same.  After the away home office jaunt, she was not a fan of getting out of the car (is how I interpreted her dog body language).

(drive-thru) … I survived her high-pitched barking as she leaned over to bark at the order-taker, money-taker, and food-giver persons (and other hoomans that the food-giver called over to see how cute Bella is).

(burr) … I learned burrs can get into her paws. While burrs weren’t buried deep in her paw, it was enough for me to have Katie, at Petco, take ’em out via shaving two of her paws. And meanwhile, I continue to de-burr the best I can her after each walk.

(Day 9) Free-range fun is freeing both of us.
(“Because of Bella” began on Day 0.

Dog | on making noises

Because of Bella . . .

Thirsty Bella sitting on my lap, looking at a bird

(snoring) … I learned that little dogs can make medium snore noises, and they dream, right?

(snoring) … I learned that I wake Bella up with MY snoring.

(hardwood floor) … I enjoy hearing Bella’s pitter paw patter around my home.

(hardwood floor) … When I don’t hear Bella’s pitter patter (for a minute or so) as she free ranges around my home, I pitter patter around my home, looking at my floor (and a few area rugs).

(sneezing) … Bless you, Bella.

(brr) … Walks have been a bit chilly these past days.

(burr) … Bella’s hair is a burr sanctuary. For burrs that are squatting around her paws + belly and that have been pretty stubborn to remove (and I’ve been really obsessed with pulling them off), I’ve trimmed them off as a last resort.  Afterwards, sometimes Bella lets out a teeny woof. I think it’s a happy teeny woof.

(Day 6) No accidents since Day 3. Yay!
(“Because of Bella” began on Day 0.