I first encountered Green Windows skimming through the Omni Commons’ event calendar, hungry for a way to break back into a more regular creative practice. I have a vivid memory of venturing up the back stairs and finding myself in a disco-adorned room with a ring of chairs in the middle. The workshop felt natural and welcoming, and most of all I was astonished by people’s readiness to read something so fresh and offer their thoughtful, genuine feedback. When I read that night, it was the first time since high school that I had shared my creative writing with anyone.
Green Windows has profoundly shifted my relationship to writing. The care and intention that goes into the space is remarkable. Writing is both taken seriously and made extremely accessible, with the understanding that the process of writing has value in and of itself. Peggy’s skillful facilitation, often opening with a reminder to “trust your voice, trust your images, trust your imagination,” truly roots and guides the workshop. I find myself looking forward to each person’s unique interpretation of the prompt, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to share space and time with this group. Through these past few years, I’ve become curious about and invested in my own creative voice in a way I hadn’t been before.
Flipping back through my notebook, every Green Windows page has not only my writing but underlined words, starred portions, and phrases I’ve jotted down while listening to other writers––all signifiers of the connection and mutual exchange that make the workshop so deeply meaningful.
The following piece was written in a Green Windows workshop on January 24, 2019 in response to the prompt "item of clothing you'd never wear."
by Katherine Genis
My cowboy lover sends me video diary entries whenever he’s at a station with strong enough wi-fi. He’s not really a cowboy, but we’ve had the good fortune of eating real beef: once a proper steak and once just broth but still made from an actual animal. Both were strange and luxurious experiences. The first time, I vomited after we got home from the restaurant. My stomach isn’t used to real meat, let alone red meat. That was years ago now, but I’d do it again, even if it was as good as flushing hundreds of dollars down our water-efficient toilet, zeros and ones sliding away instantly without fanfare.
These days, I tend to the local grove and help people make offerings. Occasionally, curious tourists and romance-inclined teenagers come by, but mostly I see the same handful of faces, people who have known the grove for years. It’s slow work, so I keep an herb garden on the side. The satchels turn my fingers fragrant and medicinal. When the next shift arrives, I pack up my workstation and head home.
A video message waits for me. My lover, all dressed in black with greasy hair. He’s wearing the silver face paint I gave him, and his image fills the thumbnail preview. I tap play, and he tells me about his day and the other cowboys he’s met. He talks with his hands and describes, in maddening detail, a poached egg he was gifted by chance. His recounting of the yolk spilling over potatoes turns my head fuzzy with desire. After this job, he says, we’ll have eggs together. He doesn’t go into specifics about work, but he still finds lots to talk about. Mostly I just want to know he’s alive. I think he knows this.
The video auto-deletes after playing. So long, partner. I pull my hood around me, grinning in the dark apartment with only my screen to see.