“Keep a diary, but don’t just list all the things you did during the day. Pick one incident and write it up as a brief vignette. Give it color, include quotes and dialogue, shape it like a story with a beginning, middle and end—as if it were a short story or an episode in a novel. It’s great practice. Do this while figuring out what you want to write a book about. The book may even emerge from within this running diary.”
― John Berendt
It’s a nondescript alcove
A humble place I can journal my deepest thoughts
I can write of my secret crushes & fond lovers
Decrypting moods of soul’s who cannot be bought
I’ll scribble away without any pressure to perform
These jottings belong to me; they’re only mine
Tomes dedicated to the craft of confession
A postscript punctuated with a toast of red wine
Sally came to her Advanced Writers class that evening without much inspiration. The winter semester was headed toward finals. The stress kept building upon her. There had not much time to write lately. When she had wanted to write, she found the well was dry.
She was a junior at the University. A notebook could always be found in her bag. Sally had a habit of trying to write down any interesting thought she came across. She had been keeping faux-diaries since she was a little girl. Sally was shy about her writings before she met like minded people at school here. Now, she was cautiously open about what she was capable of writing.
Outside was bitter and cold. The snow hadn’t been cleared from the streets that afternoon. Everyone was walking carefully, if they went out at all. She wore her ancient clunky Docs an old boyfriend had bought her years before. They provided decent traction on the sidewalks.
She removed her coat and hung it on a hook at the top of the auditorium. She wore a light sweater and leggings with a scarf around her neck. Sally would be considered pretty once you took the time to look at her. She had a slightly nerdy appearance. She tried to look attractive without wasting too much time on superficial endeavors.
This class was her favorite of the week. She tolerated the rest of her schedule to be able to sit here and listen to Dr. Fitzgerald. As the class went on, she sat mesmerized. She had come to this school to learn from her favorite poet. This was her dream come true. She awkwardly smiled as he spoke.
“No matter what anyone tells you, you can’t teach poetry. You can only encourage someone to feel onto the page.”
She scribbled that quote into her notebook. Class had ended as Sally was putting her belongings into her bag. She noticed the professor was the only other person left. She took a deep breath and approached him.
“Can I buy you a drink or a coffee, Professor? I’d really like to talk about some of my writing.” Sally bounced nervously as she spoke.
“No, my dear, the Missus is eagerly waiting for my return.” And with that he limped off, down the corridor . He used an old shillelagh as a cane. She just smiled as she watched him. There was something noble about that man.