I write to give voice both to myself and others, encouraging them to find their truth as well. I write because if I don't, the dam will burst at the most inopportune time, and I have a history of losing my temper. When I was younger my writing revolved around exploring and creativity. As the assignments morphed into more serious forms of homework, the goal shifted from discovery to proficiency, and the fire in my belly slowly and steadily snuffed out. The pilot light never went out but it was never enough to keep me warm. After years of education, MLA, APA, care plans, and professional emails, there was barely a flicker.
Then in 2010 as I was wrapping up nursing school I saw it: a bulletin posted for a writing workshop called Green Windows whose sliding scale went down to a dollar. “You can't write wrong” it touted. I scoffed and took a picture. “We'll see about that! I have it on good authority that plenty of the writing I do is wrong.” My near total block and disgust with writing had been born from a world that made me so afraid to write wrong that often I wouldn't even try; I would pull my hair out trying to get it right for hours. I managed to get those coveted As & Bs but at what cost? Gradually, the workshops helped me to find a voice and regain confidence in writing as a form of expression. Because of this notable impact, I have introduced many friends to Green Windows and found even more connections and friendships through it.
I write because if what falls onto the page is the definition of peak cringe, I know that there's something for me to see. I get a chance to ask myself, “Why is this the definition of a sucker punch or one of those sour candies that turns your whole mouth inside out?” I know that no matter what, if I choose to share I'll always be coming away with something I liked about the piece; it gives me the opportunity to learn something about myself. My group is smart and talented. My friends are smart and talented. I gain so much from all of them. Thank you for allowing me to share my experience.
Jordan wrote the following intense piece in a Green Windows workshop on December 24, 2017 responding to the prompt, "Describe Cold Without Using the Word Cold." Thank you, Jordan!
by Jordan Blanks
Chattering, shivering, every hair standing at maximum papillary attention. Hard dagger-like wisps of air move about my head, in through gaping mouth, and down into my trachea and lungs. In the tiny sacks of pressure awaiting him, rounder softer carbon dioxide slips into his place for the journey back out, only to turn to bayonets once contact is made with the outside elements again. Nose is non-existent; run away with the knife and the spoon as well as all piggies just trying to race home. Just 1 more hour. Need to finish. Try to move away from the physical and focus on the task at hand. Pulling another hood up over my hat, drawing the tie strings together only allowing the whites of my eyes to shine through.
The only thing that can save me from this painful fate is bed or death. Trying desperately to hug myself with one arm while furiously writing with the other. The rent sure is the right price but the ambience, especially in winter, leaves so much to be desired. The single pane 14 foot windows, invariably surrounded by trees and vines, perpetually keeps out the sun. This Darkness(TM) always keeping a permanent dampness and murkiness that continues to be so hard to escape. In this frenzy and others like it in the past, I often find myself attempting to crawl under the covers and endeavor to hibernate like a bear until springtime (most often late spring).
My eyelids start to dip and sag and before I know it my right hand slaps the side of my face. Feeling anything is an insurmountable feat. Prickly pins and needles constantly surging from the bottoms of my pinky toes through my central nervous system and out to my pinky fingers. Even with multiple layers it feels as though there is an ever expanding hole perched at the vertex of my skull, turning my brain to mush with the swift sharp stampeding rapiers of wind. How in the world is there possibly this much wind inside a locked apartment? If only I could get rid of the persistent firey dry ice that moves at a snail's pace through my veins. This ooze being pumped around by my four-chambered muscle filled to the brim with bundles and branches. How much longer do I realistically have before the sludge with switchblades poking out of every direction becomes too much and the whole thing just ceases to work as one again?