Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cats by their tails

I bought myself a long, black, twizzlie, twister treat the other day. This is the perfect time of year for a delectable liquorice indulgence as I like it to be tough and chewy. I remove it from the bag and lay it out on the table so that it can weather to the right consistency. In the dry winter air it takes only a day or two to reach perfect chewy ropeiness.

Oh! the sweet anise flavour! And my tongue so black, reeling with flavour.

I got a phone call at about 8:30 last night - it was Heather from the writing group asking me to facilitate the meeting today. Okay. GULP! What was I going to use as the warm-up exercise? I thumbed through a writing prompt book, scoured the internet, but in the end came up with the question on my own: if you could spend 1 hour with anyone on the earth, past or present, who would it be?

Bright sunshine greeted me this morning. There were a few butterflies in my stomach though as I thought about what was in store for me today. It shouldn't be a big deal, but I know myself well enough to know that I'll have to be careful to not be officious and too regulated by the clock. I like things organized and scheduled... which is not how this group works at all! Everyone needs to have their time to read their stories so it is important to keep the meeting on track.

The whole facilitator's thing turned out to be a bit like herding cats… talkative cats. Sometimes the discussions get animated (in a heartfelt way, not an argumentative way) and it is hard to interject to get things moving forward. I could have used a bell, like the ones our teachers used to use in school! In the end we finished a few minutes early, but only because two people didn’t have anything written.

The warm-up was a bit of a bust too - everyone had more than one person they wanted to visit and lots of embellishments, so sometimes the discussion went on a long time :-0

Don’t get me wrong though! I love this writing group and appreciate what every single person brings to the table. And think – just wait until it is your turn to facilitate!


It is hard to meet a stranger. Even the greatest extrovert meeting even the meekest stranger knows a certain dread, though he may not know he knows it. Will he make a fool of me, wreck my image of myself, invade me, destroy me, change me? Yes, that he will. There's the terrible thing: the strangeness of the stranger. ~Ursula K. Le Guin

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