It was a grey, snowy Saturday afternoon over South Jersey. Today was Valentine’s Day and I was feeling creative. I wasn’t in the mood to sit at home and spend the moment writing on my living room sofa. I already did enough of that earlier this week. Also, the temptation of turning on the television was too much for me to handle. I needed, no, wanted a change of scenery to break up my typical creative routine. Packing up my laptop, some reading books, a few ink pens, and my journal, I headed over to the local Starbucks in my neighborhood. Arriving at the coffee shop, I purchased my typical order of hot chocolate and slice of banana nut bread and retreated to the meeting room with my items in hand towards the back room, away from the front of the store and the majority of the customers for some much needed privacy. The room was occupied by two individuals, a young twentysomething female college student and a thirtysomething male professional, seated at the large wooden conference table with their laptops engaged in their personal, separate worlds. I sat down in one of the four comfortable chairs with my belongings as I settled into my creative zone, taking bites of my delicious snack and sips of hot chocolate.
Fifteen minutes had transpired when I was engaged into crafting my latest blog about overcoming my frustrations of dealing with a torn ligament in my left wrist using positive psychology (a future blog in the works). I was into my flow, feeling confident, making progress when I noticed two ladies enter into the back room. The student, appearing to know the individuals, asked them if they needed to use the table. The older one said, “Yes, we’re about to have a meeting.” Both occupants started packing up their belongings. I asked her if I needed to relocate so they could have some privacy. She replied, “No, you’re fine. We’re just having a meeting with a bunch of writers. That’s all.” I said, “Really. That’s interesting because I’m also a writer.” The lady told me that they were waiting for other members from their writing group to join them but extended an invitation for me to join them if I’d like to do so. Something inside me felt like this was like a Forrest Gump moment, and I decided to participate in the afternoon group.
The group’s leader, a gentleman, was the next to arrive. I exchanged introductions with him and the other two ladies before they made their orders at the front counter. Moving my belongings to the table, I mentally prepared myself for the writing exercise, uncertain about the assignment’s topic. Everybody returned to the table and got themselves together, ready to engage in writing until the final member, a lady, arrived in the room, searching for the group. After another round of introductions and a brief history of the writing group’s origins, all the participants dived into the group’s assignment for that day: write for an hour about the word swoon in honor of Valentine’s Day. I looked up the word’s definition online and decided to do some free writing for my assignment about a Valentine’s Day card I purchased earlier this week. Fifty minutes transpired when we decided to share what we wrote, if we felt comfortable doing so. I was the second person who read his assignment and this is what I wrote:
Is it weird for a single guy to purchase a Hallmark Valentine’s Day card when he’s not dating and has nobody to give it to? Yes, it’s weird but I had to purchase this card I saw earlier this week when I went to the local Hallmark store to purchase a birthday card for a friend. I loved the card’s design of a brown skinned lady’s legs in the air wearing high-heeled, bright red shoes. The words YOU BRING OUT THE BAD BOY IN ME were prominently etched onto its purple cover in metallic, black lettering. The image was very attractive, sexy, and seductive, but it didn’t compare to the card’s content inside, which I can’t remember for the life of me even if you placed a gun to my head and asked me to recall the words. I do remember the message was very sensual, making me think to myself, “Damn, why couldn’t I have written that?” My ego replied, “Bill, you can write a better statement. Matter of fact, this experience could lead to something else. A potential future scene in your next manuscript? Maybe a short story? Or a poem?” Okay, ego took control and I felt something creative was festering inside my spirit. I may not be have a girlfriend or a wife yet that I could give this card to, but I have to buy this card. One, it was the last one in the store and two, there are no guarantees that Hallmark would manufacture the card next year. There was something about that card that touched my spirit, and this was one of those life or death moments I needed to choose, or I’d regret it forever, and I don’t like living a regretful life. Been there, done that too many times. I did and it now sits in my home along with its accompanying red envelope. I hadn’t given much thought about coming up with something creative despite my initial enthusiasm when I saw the Valentine’s Day card. At least until this moment. The image of the card could be a painting created by an artist of his lover’s legs wearing high-heeled, bright red shoes. What if she’s offended by the painting instead of feeling honored? That would be very interesting to say the least. How would he feel by her rejection? That’s also interesting. Perhaps it could be a Valentine’s Day card that a man gives his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. Let’s go with this thought. So, where does it take my creativity? Great question. Erotica is creeping inside my thoughts. A romantic Valentine’s Day between two lovers. Yes, that has potential. It sure does. Didn’t I have an idea to incorporate that card into my next manuscript? I sure did. Not sure where at this moment since the manuscript’s setting takes place in September. Does it have to be a Valentine’s Day card? Could it be a card for another romantic occasion? Hmmm. Wow, that could be, but I do like to keep the Valentine’s Day card theme going. I’m definitely swooning over this damn card. LOL. No doubt about it. How about poetry? No, that’s something I’m leaving untouched for the time being. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Poetry is too easy for me to fall into and I want to avoid my comfort zone and play inside the discomfort zone with this idea. I want to go with the flow concerning this idea to make something out of nothing. I love the challenge the idea presents. Okay, ego, take a back seat and let me get back to this idea. Of the two ideas, the one that intrigues me the most is the artist painting his lover’s legs and she finds the idea disgusting. Or, maybe he’s been commissioned to paint another women’s legs for a client who wants to surprise her husband/boyfriend/lover with this gift for Valentine’s Day? That would definitely piss off the artist’s lover. It sure would. Okay, I’m on to something. Yes, indeed. Saving my work.
The other participants gave me good feedback about gaining insight into my writing process, an area that some writers are reluctant to share with others. Everybody joked about wanting to see the actual card and reading its content for the next meeting. We had a fantastic time sharing and discussing each other’s assignments, creative aspirations, writing process, and social marketing for writers. Before the meeting concluded at 4:30 p.m., we exchanged contact information and I got the group’s information so I could look up their social media website. Although I didn’t complete my original blog post (and I will before this holiday comes to an end), I feel fulfilled. Sometimes my creative aspirations travel down another journey than their original course, I have no problem going with the flow and adapting to the situation. After all, you never know who and what you may encounter like I did today. And when it’s beneficial for a writer’s creative growth, then it makes things that much better.
Take care and be blessed!
P.S. – BTW, if you’re curious to know what the Valentine’s Day card looked like, here’s the picture: