This post was written by volunteer Luvon, who attended our Digital Media Mentoring Program Training on September 21.
So, it starts with the etherpad? Neophyte am I. Etherpad? My high school Latin and years of college Latin — not to mention decades of literary study and writing — will help me break through the anxiety. Not knowing makes me anxious. Not knowing is not permissible. My Critic is shouting: This isn’t about literature or writing or knowing! Get the hell out of there! You volunteered for anxiety? Shame? Self-loathing in not knowing?
So, yes, looking down and back from here, the Digital Media Mentor Training that Saturday, September 21 2013 at The New School is, for me, etherlike. You know, that literary ether.
Not so fast. Not just yet. I came to that comprehension at the end. I’m up here now. How did I get here from there. Forgive me, Girls Write Now, for not trusting you (but isn’t that at the core of anxiety? Not trusting self? Others?). As the training unfolded (or de-constructed), I searched for patterns, codes, meaning, ways of knowing as if reading a beloved Barbara Pym or Zora Neale Hurston fiction. As if writing on the works of Willa Cather or Alice Walker or Edwidge Danticat. My heartbeat slows, the hives eruption on my collarbone quiets, I became aware of cracks, possibilities, small break throughs.
And, yes, I become more able to see the other women, 25 of them — digital media mentors all — seated before two long rows of computers, with a shorter row betwixt. Like women toiling. Like women engaged and focused. Like women writing… via etherpad.
First Prompt: Think about your education as a writer or media professional, both formal and informal, from elementary school to the present day. Is there a particular moment that stands out in your mind as formative or influential? If so, what was it?
As the mentors begin to write their names and responses, each woman’s etherpad, which is also projected on the screen, springs into being! I, Neophyte, have never before seen this communal writing-dance-movement! I, Neophyte, am not prepared for such writing not only alive, but also drenched in shades, splashes of color. Pink. Purple. Mustard. Green. Lime Green. Yellow. Cranberry. Magenta. Colors began to move upon the screen, erupting on each etherpad. Kinetic. Alive with writing. Yet, the only sounds I hear are women’s fingers, flying across the keyboards, tinkling like tiny water droplets falling from a faucet. A faucet left a little open, intentionally, for perhaps a break through, in the community of sister-writers.