In Another Life

I attended a fantastic writing class on Monday night at The Wheeler Centre. I was on a high after having completed my first day at my new job – training as a flights consultant – because I successfully made it across the city without getting on the wrong tram/train/in the wrong suburb. Sounds a bit ironic for a travel-consultant-in-training to always get lost whilst taking public transport but I am not a city girl and so my small-coastal-town-mind likes to celebrate these wins. When I arrived I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Writer, Jon Bauer, was our teacher for the evening and he was great. I was happy because the class took a more philosophical and psychological approach to writing. The session was a D ‘n’ M style discussion where many lightbulbs clicked in the dusty attic of my mind. We dug so deep we could have been talking Chinese by the end of it.

We were encouraged to write and share stories – our ‘best’ story, a ‘shit’ story – and advised not to give feedback or to comment, but to just be at ease, to make space for the story and accept its state – much like our feelings of fear and our excuses.

I have chosen one story from the evening to share with you because it was a challenging and new activity for me. We had to imagine and describe ourselves as writers in a different context so as to create distance and give a sense of freedom to write.

This was mine. I hope you enjoy it.

In Another Life

It’s the 1990s and she’s sitting on a mattress on the floor of her living room, her toes curling up inside holes in the mattress’ floral print cover. Janis Joplin is playing for a little while, then Supertramp, and later, Hendrix crashes her party.

She writes using a pen she found in her mother’s things. Her mother had given the pen a good run but nothing compared to the way her grandfather had used it.

Scattered on the floor are scraps of paper, notes, old photos with rusty thumb-tac stains. There’s a half finished novel, several short stories, many poems and song lyrics that seem to match the same quality of her four-chord guitar skills.

She sings out loud but never quite hits the right pitch.

Every day she writes; her ideas are abundant but they waft in the air along with the smoky haze of her cigarette.

Only one thought keeps her driving forward, taking the long way: she doesn’t want her family, at her funeral, to be throwing in the grave, scrunched up, half finished novels. Especially at only twenty seven.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Peace out x TLG

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