Last week’s meeting of our writing workshop, Finding Your Voice, was another revelatory one, even though one of our stalwart fellows, Tom Dietzler, was unable to join us. (Every once in a while, he abstains, just to give the rest of us the opportunity to talk about him.)
As we were comparing notes on our contributions to the piece of fiction we’re working on, Maribel Cardez asked if there would be any conflicts between our versions of the story all of us are telling from our own perspectives. I said, “I hope so because our versions of the story compare to eyewitness testimony. And those testimonies frequently conflict.” Maribel then wondered what our versions of the main character looked like.
It turned out that two of us — Laura Staley and I — never described the appearance of that character at all in our drafts. Yvonne Jones described how she envisioned the character. And I commented that since Maribel and Yvonne were the only ones of us present who were describing the character (Tom’s the wild card, of course), since Yvonne is Jamaican and Maribel is Hispanic, and since darker complexions could be traits of either of their ethnic derivations, there may not be a conflict of anything after all.
At that, Maribel lit up like a Christmas tree and said she’d just figured the whole thing out. Do you think she’d share her bolt of inspiration with us? Not a chance. She’s a writer. And good writers keep things to themselves until they get a chance to write those things somewhere in something.
Then they summon up their agency and keep going.