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Alchemy Class

The other day, someone I know was all stressed out and said, "Give me some advice, Bob."

I thought for a bit and the best think I could come up with at time was "What's going on in your head right now probably isn't the reality, and it's even more likely that the person you're stressing about isn't seeing the situation the same way. Just ride the wave."

Flash forward to tonight, when in my fortnightly alchemy writing workshop the one where magic happened 2 weeks ago. This week we're basing our work on Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks (which I highly recommend).

We were asked write a new 'confessional' story for 20 minutes on a new 'confession', using a theme the instructor pulled out of one of three 'confessions' homework pieces we'd read before. He's a big fan of writing down the personal, and then finding ways to fictionalize it and make better stories out of the raw material. He's very good at it.

Mine was 'set up a situation and have it go somewhere unexpected.' So I started driveling on about a romantic situation that had gone, as the Brits would say, "pear shaped." The whole time I was writing it, I was thinking "this is so obvious, everyone will see where it's going. There's no drama, there's no surprise."

Basically, it was self-indulgent poor me, poor me, pour me another rubbish. If I was home I'd have crumpled it up and tossed it in the bin.

But then, of course, you're in class and there are no bins. You have to read it aloud.

None of them saw the ending coming, especially in the context of the first piece. And they picked up connections of imagery that I wasn't even aware of, but once pointed out are subtle but strong.

Just goes to show ...

"What's going on in your head right now probably isn't the reality, and it's even more likely that the person you're stressing about isn't seeing the situation the same way. Just ride the wave."

A nice little life lesson (maybe I should listen to my own advice sometimes), and some germs for new stories (that are old to me, but might be new to a reader).

Who'd have thought?

I've enrolled for the next session. Six more books I've never read over 12 weeks starting in September. And lots more magic, with cake, making something out of nothing.