I knew it would happen eventually. And, of course, it did.
Like so many people out there, my social contact since the pandemic began has consisted of screens. An unexpected benefit of this has been the sheer number of conferences, classes, and gatherings of like-minded people that I could not have otherwise have encountered, let alone enjoyed attending.
The last week of July 2020, I was invited by a long-distance friend to visit her writers’ group, and that was when I first learned of Teach Write.
Begun by Jen Laffin, Teach Write is an online gathering of teacher-writers who meet several times a week to set writing goals, celebrate, and write together. I’ve been attending since August 2020, and those Time to Write (TTW) sessions are easily the highlight of my week. I have made friends with writing teachers from across Canada, throughout the United States, in Ghana, and in Asia. It makes spending so much time in my house a lot easier. 🙂
One of the very first things a newcomer to these writing sessions learns is that, during celebrations, we silently cheer each other on by holding up our hands and waving our fingers, as if we are throwing “virtual confetti.” Until someone explains it to you, it can look rather odd, but it becomes a natural part of your life after a session or two.
Besides Teach Write, I have been taking a memoir class that follows hard on the heels of the Sunday TTW session. (In fact, I usually duck out a few minutes early to get to it, just so I’m not rushing to get there. What that means when I’m literally signing out of one screen and into another, rather than running across campus, I don’t know. Welcome to 2021.)
At the beginning of yesterday’s memoir class, Nancy — our facilitator — asked us each in turn to share how our writing week had gone. I went first, and then listened to another classmate describe his accomplishments.
And then it happened.
OMG I just sent virtual confetti in my memoir Zoom class. They’re all looking at me like I’m from another planet!
My TTW friends texted back with reassurances. But I was not to be assuaged. I felt I needed to explain myself to somebody, anybody.
I was just in TTW — didn’t even get out of the chair — so my confetti hands didn’t realize we had switched Zooms and we were done that part!
My friends laughed along with me, and I sheepishly spent the rest of my last memoir class sitting on my hands.
As it turns out, that was not the last time I will be seeing most of those memoir classmates. We have decided to continue on meeting regularly, with me as facilitator.
I know exactly what the first thing I teach them about our virtual meetings will be.
You can view other writers’ Day 1 contributions via the comments here.