Guest Blogger – Sherry Bronson.
I invited Sherry Bronson to write a guest blog for my site. I gave her the topic and she had the article back to me within hours. She sure can write and is prolific. I admire her writing talent and productivity. Within the next couple of years you will be able to buy her books in bookshops and on-line but in the meantime, you can follow her blogs at http://writingforselfdiscovery.com
THE UBUD WRITERS’ GROUP
If we’re lucky, or blessed, there comes a time of reckoning. It’s a moment when the face in the mirror is a stranger.
“Who are you?” I asked that morning. She stared back at me, bewildered, with a sort of stunned, Hell if I know! look.
The night before, watching TV beside my husband, a terrifying thought passed through me. “You’re just sitting here, marking time,” the thought said. “It’s a frantic, waiting to die.” It was a gut-punch of awareness. The marriage had slumbered into neglect. Our real estate business was the pretense of relationship that kept us together.
“Well, you’d better figure it out,” I threatened the image in the glass. “Because this isn’t a life.”
That dreadful thought, marking time, a frantic waiting to die, was the smack of truth I needed to jolt me awake. It pushed me up against my fears. It challenged my resistance. It asked me to risk losing everything familiar in exchange for the absolute unknown. But the alternative was an unconscious slide into old age, a cautious tiptoe to the point of no return, an unacceptable horror.
It was messy. Births often are. The divorce. The plummet into depression. The slow climb out of the pit. I’d come unglued. Even my body parts felt disconnected. Nothing fit.
Words were the only safe place to go. I flailed and flung them on the page hoping they would tell me what I felt. They hissed and spat, bullied and berated, and with slow agony they burned through superficial layers and hit bedrock.
It was a solid place at last.
“Who are you?” I asked the battle-weary face in the mirror.
“I’m a writer,” she said.
“What do you want?” I persisted.
“A new life,” she roared and her eyes flashed fire.
So I imagined and dreamed and wrote the story of my new life in Bali.
“Really?” I asked. “Are you sure about that?”
“Oh yes!” she said.
“You don’t know anyone there.” Old fears of loneliness surfaced.
“I will,” she said.
So I searched online for a Writers Group. If Bali was my new life I needed like-minded friends. There was only one result. UBUD WRITERS GROUP, contact Steve Castley.
Steve was genuine but cautious. I had an invitation to visit but acceptance into The Group was not automatic. Writers are a strange bunch, some stranger than others. And there are a few self-proclaimed scribes who can’t string two coherent words together at any price.
At that first encounter I behaved well and was invited back to share my work at the next meeting. “Here’s the real test,” I thought two weeks later as my voice, shaky with nerves, read an excerpt from my novel still in its infancy. It was well received. Had I been knighted by the Queen I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I was allowed membership in the illustrious group.
That was two years ago. The Ubud Writers encouraged me through my first novel. Their experience and knowledge propelled me to revise draft after draft until it was as good as I could make it. When they had become not only my critics but my friends, I felt safe enough to begin a memoir. It’s two-thirds complete and the process binds us together in an awful intimacy. I’m known. Exposed. And they are ever supportive, kind, and eager for the next chapter.
At the mercy of the UWG team my craft is honed and polished. And as I explore this new life I’m manifesting they shape my identity. In their faces I see my raw and honest self, reflected. They help me believe what that stranger in the mirror told me.
“I’m a writer,” she said.
The Ubud Writers Group was founded on the 16th September 2008 and has grown in strength ever since. My next blog will be about this group.
If you would like more information about the Ubud Writers’ Group, please email Steve Castley on [email protected] phone me on 081 337 541 445, or drop in and see me at Bayu’s Kitchen, Penestanan, Ubud.