I had the amazing opportunity of having a one on one consultation with award winning author, playwright, journalist and educator, Mark Leiren-Young. Back in September, I had the urge to write and document life as it unfolded. Creative writing is something I haven’t done since high school, but I welcomed the challenge. Mark is this year’s writer in residence for the City of Richmond and one of the programs offered during his residency was a one on one consultation. Anyone who was interested in this opportunity could submit a manuscript with a maximum of 2,500 words to be entered in a draw. Eight people would be randomly selected for the one on ones. Worth a shot! Who wouldn’t want feedback on a personal piece from an industry professional?
This was an opportunity I learned about one week prior to deadline. Thankfully I already had a work in progress to submit, and got it in one day prior to closing. When the phone rang letting me know that I was one of the eight, I was in disbelief. Especially when I looked back on the link I used for entry guidelines, I had been looking at the information for 2013! How I managed to get my manuscript in on time with the right requirements is beyond me.
Mark set the tone to a casual meeting as he met me on a Saturday morning with his McDonald’s breakfast in one hand and file full of manuscripts in the other. When he pulled up my manuscript, he basically asked what I wanted to do with it, what were my plans? I didn’t have any plans, though, many people that I’ve talked with, do feel my writing is to be shared. The thought of that freaks me out. Facilitating workshops? No problem. Teaching dance? In a heartbeat. Sharing my creative writing? Hold on now, those are my private thoughts! I had only been in this consultation for five minutes, when Mark said “it would be a shame not to publish.” At that moment, I knew that God was calling me to something much bigger than I could’ve imagined.
This forty-five minute meeting of what I thought would be a critique on my work, what to improve on, tips on how to write, writing techniques, was actually forty-five minutes of “how can I help move you forward in your writing career?” Writing career?!? To think that someone else other than myself wanting to read my material is mind boggling. I am beyond thankful for this divine meeting that occurred, even though I was looking at the previous year’s entry guidelines. The next chapter of my life (pun intended) looks like it will involve allocating time to my manuscript and poetry. Will you journey with me? I’ll need a few people to join this ride to give me the courage to share my work, even if it’s only on this blog.