This post was written by Chana Porter, this month’s instructor for the Fantasy Writing Workshops
Writing a book is hard. A writer’s life is often lonely. The rush of an idea for a story is so inspiring, but most of writing is not simply channeling that pure inspiration. It’s sitting down, again and again, to revise and re-envision what was once so exciting. We have to fall in love again and again with our work.
For our final fantasy workshop at Girls Write Now, I had the pleasure of sitting with a group of young women who had all been working on long projects. Many of these amazing teenagers had been working on the same stories and books for years, something I had never attempted at such a young age.
We talked about the reasons we get blocked while writing, our ‘writer’s roadblocks’. Our reasons were various but all too similar- feeling overwhelmed by the mass of a project, unsure of how to give details organically or shift voices, or simply loosing the thread.
For the remaining hours, we unpacked tools and tips for becoming unstuck. The girls had just as many tips and writing exercises to share as I did.
My mentee for the past two years, Ashley Christie, has been working on an modern adaptation of The Color Purple for her entire time at Girls Write Now. It’s been a joy for me to watch her voice and nuance develop throughout the program and our time together. Here’s Ashley’s latest stab at an ending. I find it very beautiful:
My idea of trust is to know that even at my most vulnerable state someone will not take advantage of me. To be completely naked in front of someone, stripped physically, expressing myself mentally and giving myself spiritually. Is he capable of doing that for me? Sidney that is. He goes on so much about his everlasting feelings for me; can he handle me this way.
Loving someone is being there through all trials and having acceptance with everything that has happened. Has he really accepted me?
Though my values have changed a lot since Marcia has died I’m starting to realize what important again. It is not revenge. Yes, revenge has kept me sane for a while but I cannot continue to live my life this way. For I am a woman just like Eve; capable of changing the world.
A house is temporary and is not comfortable. It usually filled with items that don’t mean anything to you. I walk into Sidney’s place and even while he’s there I feel alone. His blank white walls and grey furniture make me feel like I’m in a psycho-ward. The smell of Clorox doesn’t make the place welcoming either. I’m starting to realize that being with him isn’t actually where I want to be; its what I thought was the right thing to do. How do I break that to him? I’ve tried so hard to make things work: adding paintings on the wall, buying candles, colored pillows-nothing works. This place isn’t mine.
I remember walking home from school in the afternoons. I would take Park Pl. all the way down to Kingston Ave. and make a right and walk to the corner of sterling place. There our brownstone home stood. The purple hibiscus caught the attention of everyone who walked by; even I caught myself staring at them before I enter. Everyday I walked in to you in the kitchen cooking; “How was your day,” you would say with a pot in your right hand and the left reaching out to hug me. Such firmness you held me with. Your sweaty caramel cheeks would rub against mine and your long dark hard fly in my nose as in inhaled your cinnamon sweet aroma. I miss those days.
Chana Porter is a writer and teacher living in Brooklyn, New York. Her plays have been produced and developed in New York City by Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, Primary Stages, PS122, Dixon Place, True Love Productions, The Invisible Dog, and the White Bear in London. She has led classes and workshops in “Writing From The Body” as an artist-in-residence at Cave and Space on White, and as a guest teaching artist at Hampshire College. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A at Goddard College in Creative Writing and writing a series of Young Adult Science Fiction novels entitled New Human Classics.