Yep it happened. I let a whole week go by without posting. Had good intentions, but to no avail, the week and weekend escaped me. I also didn’t attain writing goals either. I’m slowly chipping away at Chapter 26 which will be complete end of this week. Work is great, training has been smooth and I couldn’t ask for better co-workers, but the hours go by faster than I can keep up and time is not my friend anymore. Yet, does it really hold relevance minus appointments and such? I take a deep breath, feel gratitude in my heart and I’m here. Presently, I’m here.

My writing felt derailed after last week. I read through emails scouring through my weekly newsletters from Lighthouse announcing new workshops and online classes. I signed up with a four week workshop: Short Story 101 with William Henry Lewis. This will be my first class with this instructor. This course offers intensive reading and writing assignments. Right up my alley to realign my goals and commit to writing practice regularly. I’m excited and flustered. Anxious and exhilarated. An amalgam of emotions surging through my brain in a good way and I’ve completed my first month of full time employment, so hey, I met a mini goal somewhat even if it wasn’t writing related. As my writing partner “J” tells me, “Don’t let your second job (my employment) get in the way of your first one (writing.) I am blessed to have my writing family in my life for these reminders.

William Henry Lewis – Photo Credit: Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop

Here’s a nice bio on Mr. Lewis (not my words, from Lighthouse.)

“William Henry Lewis has published fiction, poetry, and non-fiction in many publications, including The Washington Post, O Magazine, Higher Issues In Education, Colorado Review, New Letters, African-American Review, Blackbird, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares. His work has been commissioned for museum exhibition, and his stories have been reprinted in several anthologies, domestic and abroad. His work as a young playwright was selected by Edward Albee, and his fiction has been honored by America’s top literary entities, including the American Library Association, Fellowship of Southern Writers, National Endowment for the Arts, Best American Short Stories, and as finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize.

Lewis is the author of two books of stories, In the Arms of Our Elders (Carolina Wren Press; three printings), and I Got Somebody in Staunton (HarperCollins; two printings), which was listed among Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2005, and selected as the city of Richmond’s Go Read book for 2006.  

His has been praised, among others, by David Eggers, Nikki Giovanni, Peter Matthiessen, Marita Golden, and Pulitzer Prize winner, Edward P. Jones and Lewis’s work has been highly acclaimed by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, TimeOut, Washington Post, and O Magazine. The Los Angeles Times Book Review praised his fiction as “beautifully written and carefully crafted,” while the Boston Globe noted his work as “moving, but unsentimental, these are stories of hard-won wisdom, potent intelligence, and compassion for the cadence of everyday life, establishing Lewis as a writer to be appreciated and admired.”

I think anyone would be excited to take this class after reading these achievements. The course outlines character, plot, structure and language applying the rules of short story telling, however he emphasizes breaking some of these rules which I love. I enjoy learning the rules to creative writing, yet it’s nice to break out of the mold. I was told at one point, it’s harder for first time writers to get away with breaking the rules, unless they can pull it off REALLY well. However, as an avid reader I’ve seen it done in both seasoned and novice writers novels. Not sure if rules do apply to the novice writer or not so I’m eager to find out in Mr. Lewis’s course!

The only fall back to enrolling with the course was it’s conflicting schedule with my writing group night. It runs every Monday evening from 6:30-8:30pm. I graciously let my writing peers know I’d be on hiatus the month of July while taking this course, but wanted to offer my email feedback to whomever the submitter was for the weeks ahead as a ghost participant. This is part of life happening to one of us. A few of us started new jobs, one came back from an Alaskan trip and one retired. This all occurred almost simultaneously. Major shifts and changes going on within this ever evolving dynamic group. I’m pretty confident, by the time I’ve finished this workshop, I’ll have fresh new short stories to share with my writing peers, along with newly written chapters to submit.

I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself after last week and posted this gem below. Excuse the “f” bomb , but it did put a smile on my face when I read it and whispered this back to myself. Yes I can, don’t give up! More to come, stay tuned! Stay healthy and cool as we journey into July!