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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Surrender, Dorothy

He got away! Which is more than you will. Drat you and your dog. You've been more trouble to me than you're worth, one way or another, but it'll soon be over now. Do you see that?” (The Wicked Witch holds up a large hourglass timer with blood-red sand and turns it over to mark the last remaining minutes of Dorothy's life.) “That's how much longer you've got to be alive. And it isn't long, my pretty. It isn't long. I can't wait forever to get those shoes.” Wicked Witch of the West, Wizard of Oz

I feel as if my days of living in and experiencing New England are like the blood-red sand leaving the hourglass. Whoooosssshhhh. Occasionally, this fall, Andrea said something like, “This is our last New England fall!” Which is kind of funny because it could really be anyone’s last anything but, most often, we’re not aware of that.

Presently, I’m quite possibly at my last Kripalu weekend. I’ve been to and written about Kripalu before. Last night, while eating dinner here, a woman at our table described Kripalu as “the holy grail for yoga.” And I admitted I’ve never attended a yoga class here. I prefer the familiar instructor, the intimate class. Kripalu is a mecca to all sorts of people from all over for all sorts of reasons. Kripalu offers workshops but I go for the R&R – where you can relax into the place, participating as much or as little as you would like. Sure; You could claim a weekend and do similar at home but I find that to be difficult. There is always some task clamoring for attention. There is always a chore to be done, an errand to be run. It’s been raining today and changed over to snow. It’s as if the universe is granting permission to slow down just a bit more and relax into the present moment.

I surrendered to the weather and read Little Faith by Nickolas Butler. I’d impulsively picked it up at the airport in Philly earlier this month. When you are home, it can be hard to give yourself permission to relax and read. Today demanded just that and now I’m sad that such a beautiful story book is over. Dammit. To write like that! Damn, Butler. Go on with your bad ass, Midwestern self. The book is a work of fiction inspired by a true story that made headlines near Butler’s home in Wisconsin. It left me rethinking my fiction idea that won’t leave me alone.

I completed my writing class with the smart and famous author. I went back and read her comments to other people and rolled my eyes. It wasn’t just me she didn’t understand. I was about to be all like “fuck this shit and these asshole authors” when I saw on Instagram, of all places, news of another writing class being taught at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Same place that had offered the last class, this one online too, this one taught by an author I follow over on Instagram. My classmates and I are a week in, having submitted a longer piece (approximately 7 pages) of writing to the instructor this week. Each week, we will workshop the writing of 2 other students. According to the instructor, workshopping means offering “good, rigorous, critically astute and engaged feedback….informing ourselves and our own creative sensibilities.” Being good literary citizens – not just saying “I liked this…” “I didn’t like that” but offering the why. We also churn out a writing assignment a week but it’s approximately

500 words or a page and ¾. Doable.

I took what I learned the last class, because I did learn despite me thinking the author was a word nazi and left the rest. This instructor has given us all a lot of learning in the first week and feedback in a non-asshole yet challenging way.

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