Writing in Community: Wait Till You Hear the Rest of the Story

Wait Till You Hear the Rest of the Story

We had such an amazing day together in Writing in Community this month. There’s quite a tale to tell, I assure you. But far too long a skein of yarn to spool out into a single newsletter post.

Soon, however, the amazingly resourceful and incomparably intrepid Karen R. will give us the power to post in our own section of the Seattle Unity website. (Thank you, incomparably intrepid Karen R.) (*You’re welcome – any time! -KRS)

For this month’s newsletter, I had no choice but to leave out the beginning and the middle of my report, and leave you only with the end—and only even a bit of the end at that.

Below, you’ll find three pieces written by regular attendees of our second-Sunday Writing in Community sessions. I think you’ll enjoy them. I know I did.

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I promise, in the days to come, I will hit all the highlights. But there are so many. And our group is growing so nicely. And we have some very exciting writing delighting us right now that will surely delight you as well.

 And some incredible things coming in the very near future to a writing group near you.

So stay tuned to this channel for the rest of the story. For the moment, try to confine your curiosity to three wonderful pieces written by three extraordinary members of our group.

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By Mary Kemp

I had no expectation of winning.

I entered the Miss Southeastern Montana pageant as a 17-year-old. It was a confidence builder, one of those  “good experiences” we’re suppose to have when we’re young, a chance to share my talent and pick up some skills in fashion, makeup, and interviewing. 

“You have no lips!” JoAnn shouted in the crowded dressing room as she gave makeup tips to each of the girls. “You have no lips!” 

Of course I have lips, I thought. What is she talking about? Oh, mine aren’t big and full and easy to line. Well, I can still smile and let my dimples show, even if they make me self-conscious.

Choosing an evening gown, I felt so grown up. And wearing the swimsuit was easier in an empty auditorium. “Watch the crotch shot!” we were cautioned. “Always cross the leg over as you turn and walk across the stage.”

I wasn’t nervous about the talent portion; that was easy. I’d danced my Highland dance a hundred times. 

The night of the pageant was full of chaos as girls giggled and stressed about their hair and shoes. “Has anyone seen my earrings?”

Alphabetically ordered, I was Contestant Number One, the white felt circle with the black “1” pinned to each of my outfits.

Then the results were in: second runner-up, first runner-up, “And the winner is… Contestant Number One, Jamie Durgan!” Or was it Doogan? I didn’t even know her last name. 

My jaw dropped. The crowd went strangely silent. I’d heard my number, but not my name. Did I win? Did Jamie win?

There was a commotion at the judges’ table, a rustle of papers, a murmur of consultation. “The winner is Number Seven, Jamie…” …Jamie what’s-her-name.

I was relieved and crushed simultaneously. 

I wasn’t expecting to win and didn’t really want to. But for a moment, I had, and now I was disappointed that I hadn’t. In a flash and a crash, I’d gone from first to at least fourth and maybe last.

 I had no idea. 

The celebration for the winner—the crown, the flowers, etc.— began and continued as I tried to wrap my head around what had happened.

No apology ever came. No one checked on me. I was a winner. For a moment. And then not. 

But I have carried with me all the lessons I learned. And they have served me well.

I’ve been a winner all along. 

*  *  *


Better Than Sherlock

By Jennifer Bolles

I looked back. My dear friend was too far behind me, nearly lost in the darkness. We were wandering London on a tour of the haunting back alleys where Jack the Ripper had once hunted prey more than a century earlier.

I was filled with wonder. Not because of murders or grim tales or even the mystery of it. No, I was giggly just to see the statue of Justice atop the Old Bailey where V, with his vendetta, had spoken of the valor of his vicious victory over villains.

I saw where Sherlock took his fall from Barts. Ate meat pies on Fleet Street. Walked the stones where Shakespeare dazzled audiences and rewrote our language. My eyes were full of stars. 

Then I looked back and saw my friend falling further behind. She was neither sure-footed on the cobblestone streets nor full of zeal in the land of my favorite stories.

The murder-describing guide had no patience or kindness for the needs of those who fell behind. So I stopped, rejoined my friend at her side, and chose the joy of a shared journey. Even the Bard would agree that was a better tale to tell.

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If I Were a Boy…

By Faith Ireland

It’s 1954. I’m 12. I’m watching the Army-McCarthy Hearings on black-and-white TV with Mom and Dad.  

Senator McCarthy says there’s a “Communist under every bed.” For four years now, he’s been saying he has a list of the names of over 200 Communists in the federal government. But we’ve never seen or heard the names. He just takes the list out of his pocket once in a while, reads it silently to himself, and shakes it at us.

This is the first time McCarthy’s investigation is on TV for all to see. McCarthy claims the military is littered with Communists. I see the damage he’s doing to people right before my 12-year-old eyes.

My state of Washington starts its own investigation into alleged Communists. A woman in her forties, the owner of Ethel’s Apparel, a small women’s clothing store we shop at regularly, is accused of having been a Communist in the 1920s. Although nothing is ever proven, the mere allegation ruins her business, which she is forced to close.

My parents are civic-minded, patriotic, liberal. Dad served in WWII and Korea. He’s outraged by the allegations. I, too, am angry. The unfairness of it all is obvious, even to a 12-year-old girl.

I say to Mom and Dad, “If I were a boy, I could be a lawyer.” My parents sit silent. They know girls can’t be lawyers. But I don’t know that. What I do know, in my 12-year-old girl’s heart, is that lawyers help people who are falsely accused. That’s what I’m going to do.

“Nothing is impossible.

Some things are just less likely than others.”

—Jonathan Winters

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Great stuff, wouldn’t you say? And there’s more where that came from.

So please join us on March 10th, when together we will once again create great stories, share them in a spirit of generosity and good fellowship, encouraging and supporting one another, making the room a safe space for any and all creators and creations, and we take the risks that writing requires of us.

Writing alone can be lonely, sometimes fraught, often unproductive. Writing in Community is none of these things. And everything writing should be. Month after month after month, it’s an always-satisfying  creative hour we inhabit together with a relaxed and reliable rhythm we all enjoy.

And if you think that sounds good, wait till you hear the rest of the story.




Want to know more about Writing in Community?  Check out their “own section of the Seattle Unity website” here! – KRS