W is an interesting letter. It is the first letter of my name (Warren). I have used that name for 68 years, it is me. I don’t have a nickname that I know about. During my three years in the army I was often called by my last name. Some of my former students called me Uncle Warren, not while they were students but later. I have a current co-worker who likes to call me W, I guess because of the Texas connection some former President.
Warren is not a very common name; in fact, before I moved to Texas from New Jersey in 1977 I don’t think I ever knew a Warren. Not even in the army. I even have a much older cousin named Warren who I never met, that’s another long story about the Diaspora of my father’s family. But my name is not the focus of the W inspiration.
I thought about a number of W words (word is one of them) for consideration a few days ago. Walk, wake, willful, wonk, Waldo, Willies (a great burger joint), Wisconsin, Washington, waste, 5 W’s, WWW, wasp – insect and person, A & W Root Beer, Last Will, want, wild, word, “dub ya”, Waco, wire, weird, widget, wrong, wagon, west, wazzo, wiz and whiz were a few that I wrote to paper for consideration.
Last night I went to the monthly meeting of the Sun Poets Society of San Antonio. Then it struck me! Writers Group! I was at my Writers Group meeting. Last night’s meeting gave me inspiration for this blog.
Seven or eight years ago I joined the Sun Poets Society at a local bookstore during a transition period from a wonderful stressful position, to a wonderful pleasant job. During the next three or four years I attended regularly and produced a small collection of flash fiction, some poetry, two travel stories (published on-line) and one novel. The novel is unpublished and might never be. It was merely a learning experience, about me and the written word. I am still editing it now and perhaps someday it will see the light of day. It is on my giant to do list for when I stop working full-time.
My attendance at the Sun Poets meetings has been sporadic lately. Work and the lack of willpower have been the causes of my slipping attendance. Work interferes with writing. No question about that. Writing is work. It is even difficult for me to produce a series of short pieces while employed. Continuity is lost. This blog is an attempt to keep me writing while I wait until my retirement. Sounds like a lame excuse.
Lack of willpower is a personal failing. Put a bag of chips near me and it is liable to disappear like Houdini. Put a bag of chips in the next room and it too will be eaten. Even though I lost 40 pounds in the past two years I have managed to gain 5 pounds this year. Maybe I should have researched and written about willpower. But that would be pointing out my weakness.
Back to last night. It was my first meeting in months. The group appeared to be locked in a time warp. Five of the six attendees were from the original group; the sixth was someone who I had seen a few times this year. I was the seventh. The group leader was the same person; the format hadn’t changed. I slipped right in and felt at ease, even though I had missed many sessions. Familiarity has its advantages.
I remember my first meeting at which I felt like the new kid coming into a class mid-year in high school. The group welcomed me then, and again greeted me last night after a long absence like I only missed a few days.
While writing is really a solitary activity, the feedback and encouragement from the group is essential to the entire process. Each member brings a different perspective to the meeting. Each person writes with a different voice. This group praises and suggests changes in a manner that is like another editor in your head, another voice to listen to. That voice is a pleasant helpful one, not a noisy satanic voice.
Voices inspire the written word. We must remember to listen to that voice and transfer that sound to paper (computer) for if we don’t they will be lost.