I took half of a writing class once. The teacher recommended we try to free write every day for ten minutes, because that was where the potential of beautiful things grew. I tried for a week. Not that I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t keep up with my life at the time and had to stop going to the class. I told her my family had gone through an emergency. While the truth is I needed some sort of triage, my family just had to endure the emotional baggage of it all with me. I guess that’s family emergency enough.

I always wanted to go back to that class. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend those long nights the dark black sky was refused to be snuggled by that bright white moon.

I’d go home alone and learn to sleep without the heat radiating from the right side of that new queen sized bed anyhow, so I’d might as well stay away until we had to face the lonely existence of each other. Maybe I could avoid cold toes tonight; turn on the hot water and wait until it sunk my ankles deep enough I’d need to roll up my jeans. They used to fit just fine tangled in radiating heat.

We were supposed to write freely for ten minutes, which would bring about some strange pieces if I can be honest with you. “Ten minutes of writing; no stopping, no erasing,” she’d say it full like a child waiting for a good story to be read. She’d ask us to share after she poured her tea and sat herself loosely on the front of that overused university desk. But ten minutes never seemed enough; and how was it okay to share something I couldn’t stop to think about or delete what I didn’t like? Such strange pieces in which I’d avoid eye contact with her like a grade three student who hated eyes on her. Oh wait, that was me too. I didn’t need the attention. I’d look out the glare of florescent lights against that shining moon. So bright against such a black winter sky. One person would read, and then another. We’d laugh, we’d imagine. We’d appreciate and we’d breathe deep. We’d live through ten minutes of unedited writings and our hearts would become full.

I’d stop looking out that window while she told us the importance of an unedited life. No stopping, she said. No erasing, she’d point an old writer’s finger like it were freedom itself…

…that’s where the potential of beautiful things grew.

(Well yes, this is a free write. No stopping, no editing.)