I stopped in mid-sentence. “My writing is terrible,” I said, shaking my head and squinting at the page.
Sitting next to me in the Sonar, Alex nudged my leg and urged me to go on. You’re not supposed to say such things in a Gateless writing session. It was all about overcoming your inner editor, bringing yourself to put words to paper and share them, regardless of your self-censor and of what you think (or fear) others might say.
One of the things I learned in this session is that others might read a lot more meaning into your words than you intended. My inner editor realized only later that the problem here was a matter of poor word choice.
In this case, though, the words were true: My writing was terrible. My handwriting, my scrawl. I couldn’t read my own words, and this was a problem because the setting in a lively boat on a busy waterfront had inspired me to use different vocabulary and rhythms than I usually do. It was literally like reading a stranger’s words and penmanship.
But I pressed on despite that stranger and finished the piece. It wasn’t so bad after all. My fellow travelers said they liked it, anyway.
And so we continued, in turn, as we sailed across the lake and out toward Rock Dunder, thinking about origin stories and writing prompts and sharing.
Kelly Hedglin Bowen, a rare and probably unique combination of certified Gateless method trainer and sailing instructor, piloted the boat through the waters and its crew through their writing exercises, handling both with care and ease.
She offers several Wind∼Word writing/sailing sessions each summer through the Community Sailing Center in Burlington, Vermont. More information, including dates, is available on its website.
For me, it was a perfect end of a summer that had seen no time on the water and little pushing a pencil. I hope that next season I’ll be under the canvas more often, but I think I’ll enjoy the moment more if I leave the paper-pushing ashore.
I was right. My
writing penmanship is terrible. I’ll stick to the keyboards I’ve been using for some 40 years now.