Permission from a fairy godmother

I continue to struggle with this idea of “being a writer,” to the point that I very nearly didn’t sign up for the Story Catcher Summer Writing Workshop.

I’ve attended writing workshops in the past that made me feel like a poser. Rather than energizing me, those workshops left me feeling small and discouraged. (This probably says more about my personal journey then the workshops themselves. Also, I now have a project I’m actively working on, which makes a huge difference.)

Thanks to some encouragement to find a writing community (thank you, Sue Kelsey!), I decided to attend Story Catcher, since the price was right, and it was only 100 miles from my home.

Right out of the gate, writer-in-residence Anna Keesey’s craft lecture delivered some things I really needed to hear.

“Your writing self is fragile,” she said. “It needs attention to further its cause.”

Anna fashioned herself into a fairy godmother of sorts, bearing a “bouquet of permissions.” Among them:

Permission to go inward, to find the times and places where distraction is minimized.

Permission to write imperfectly, to tolerate uncertainty, to wander around feeling lost because that wandering journey may be the only way to understand the destination.

Permission to be irreverent, wrong, rude. “You do not have to toe the party line on anything.”

Permission to waste time.

Permission to use “up time” for writing, or not-writing.

Permission to put your uncertainty ahead of someone else’s certainty, your future ahead of someone else’s now.

Permission to work on small projects – give someone a gift of your words, write a letter to someone who is not yet born, keep a dialogue with yourself.

This all sounded so familiar. These past months I’ve been giving myself stern talks along these same lines, but I’ve struggled to believe me.

Sometimes all we need is a little bit of ordinary magic, like permission from a fairy godmother.