Facilitated the creative workshop at The Guild this morning. Only five writers there. Average number is about nine. Haven't had nine in a while. Norman's been under the weather. Heavy weather. Chemotherapy. Hospital stay. ICU.
R.J. headed south for a few weeks. Returned, then didn't feel real good. Stayed away. Came back, coughing and sneezing. Didn't make it in today. Doctor's appointment.
R.J. by the way, tells this story. Keep in mind the news about the English major who shot and killed 32 people in Virginia last week. R.J. was at work a few years ago, before he joined the writers workshop I honcho. He took a break and worked on an assignment his creative writing assignment instructor had given him. R.J. is a Stephen King fan. Wrote something Kingsian. About folks getting killed in awful ways. The killer planning to kill some more.
R.J. ate his lunch and went back to work. Forgot the notes he had written. Security found them and tracked him down. His byline was on the front page of the unfinished manuscript. Security dragged him into a room. Questioned him. Wondered if he was planning some kind of atttack.
" It's only fiction! " R.J. Told them. " You can call my creative writing instructor. She'll vouch. "
They did that. She vouched.
I love that story. Of all the stories R.J. has written in the three years he's been in my class - that's the story I love the most.
R.J. is Norman's driver. They live close to each other. when Norman was coming regularly, R.J. was, too. Now he's there and he isn't. Off and on. On and off.
Jane Clayton died a few months ago. She was a regular. The resident poet in the group that meets Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. Others have come and gone, but no one's gone like Jane Clayton went.
I picked up a card for Norman today. A get well card. I scribbled a few things on the card. Among the thoughts was: " I look forward to your return to the group. "
The group's thinning out. We need writers. We need voices heard and ears to listen. The group's thinning out. Come back when you're well, Norman. Come back when you're well.
That's what I wrote.