Last week in Wildfire Writing, I led an exercise where writers pair up, share their work, and take turns reporting to the class what they enjoyed and experienced in their partner’s writing.
We do this a lot. I don’t usually take part. Then I noticed we were one person short.
So I teamed up with a fabulous writer, Elizabeth, and we read our writing to each other, and then I took my place beside her in the sharing circle.
Highlighting Elizabeth’s piece for the group – fun!
Listening as Elizabeth talked about my writing – whoa.
I didn’t know what to do with my eyes. I looked down. I swallowed. I hunched over. Afterward I asked, “Hey, is this what you guys experience every time I have you do this exercise?”
“Absolutely,” they said.
“Sitting and being talked about is hard!” said Sabrina. “Getting applauded is uncomfortable. This is just plain – weird!”
“Yeah, it’s awkward,” said Janine. “It’s not something you do every day.”
“You feel pretty vulnerable,” said Terri.
It reminds me of an improv exercise I did with Brody Theater last fall. Our instructor, Jess, had us take turns telling a story to the group.
The hardest part of the exercise was at the end. You were supposed to stand, and wait while the group cheered and applauded wildly after your story.
It took a lot of strength to smile, nod, bow, and wait, and receive it all.
Being celebrated is hard work.
See if you can let it happen to you today.
(Okay, I’ll take my own advice. Sharing the article about me recently published in the Columbian.)