I was able to attend the Table Rock Writers Group in Little Switzerland, NC, from August 28-September 2. I was told about the Memoir class specifically by my dear friend Darnell Arnoult, who was slated to teach the Memoir class. So I signed up for Memoir, excited to be working on my on-again-off-again project Chasing After Rainbows, about the Summer I spent 28 days in the UK and Europe, 10 with my husband and 28 with my good friend Tasha. Darnell was familiar with the project, as I have been trying to write it for nine years now, so I thought that she would be the perfect instructor to help me get to the heart of what this book needed to be about.
Fast forward to Saturday before we were to leave for Table Rock on Monday afternoon. I received a Facebook Message on Messenger from my good friend Denton, asking if I could maybe cat-sit for him the next week, apologizing because he knew it was really last-minute. He went on to explain to me that Darnell, who is a mutual friend of ours, had contacted him and asked if he could teach a class for her the next week. She had tested negative for covid, but had been exposed to it within her household. I laughed and messaged him back. “I’d love to cat-sit for you. Except that, if this is the class that Darnell is teaching at Table Rock, it looks like you’re going to be my instructor!”
Long story short, Denton found someone to take care of his babies, and we caught up with each other shortly after I got settled in at Table Rock. The scenery was beautiful. Although I have called Hindman the “Home of my Heart” for years, I have already come to think of Table Rock as “the Song of my Soul” after just that one week. I’m already putting money aside in hopes of going to both workshops again in 2023. I’d never had the privilege of being in a class taught by Denton. I cannot say enough positive things about it. Because I have worked on Chasing After Rainbows at The Orchard Keepers, his Writers Residency, at least three different times and have talked to him at length about the ideas and my frustrations with it, Denton was quite familiar with it. And daily, he made sure to talk to me outside of class about how important it was for me to stick with it this time, to keep at it. To tell these stories. He helped me look at the experiences through a different lens and made me realize that these stories were not about Duran Duran; this memoir was about me and my relationships with people. Somehow, I had never considered it that way before. It clicked for me now, discussing it with Denton. Writing new material for it daily in our classes. Being encouraged by my classmates. Having Denton lighting a match under my butt daily, coaching me, telling me not only that I could do it, but also that this book has potential, that he truly believes that there is a real audience waiting for it, and also publishers who will be interested in it. I’ll be honest with you: when someone else believes that intently and intensely in what you’re trying to do, it makes it a whole lot easier to throw yourself into it completely and believe in it yourself. It makes it more meaningful to you. It makes you want to do every little thing that other person tells you is possible, and to do it to the fullest potential you possess!
I met some phenomenal people there. I’m keeping up with most of the people from my class — especially Sharon Shadrick and Sharon Waters. I’ve joined a couple of writing groups (well, I took a week off because I lost my footing this week, but if they will have me back, I’m hoping to go back by next week). I feel like my writing has purpose now. I’m not just writing here and there. I’m writing with a specific goal in mind: 100 typed pages towards my memoir by the beginning of December. If I keep at it, if I remain diligent — if I stick to my guns and get this done — Chasing After Rainbows will be a reality! It may have taken me a decade after the actual trip, but it will happen. Without Denton lighting a fire under my butt, I really don’t know that that would have happened. I’m sorry that Darnell didn’t get to be at Table Rock; and I still want to take an in-person class with her. But I honestly believe that Denton Loving was meant to be the Memoir Instructor at Table Rock this year. Everything that transpired happened just like it was supposed to. And I could not be more thrilled for any of it. I also can’t wait for for 2023