Today, I attended a free workshop at the Jacksonville Public Library in Downtown Jax. It is the ‘main library’ of the city housed in what looks like a heritage building and appears to be larger than the other public library centers in the city. The workshop was organised by the Women Writing For (A) Change, Jacksonville Chapter. The organizer was a friendly and welcoming host, writer Jennifer Wolfe.

Since we were a little late we drew chairs and joined the circle of about 20 women belonging to different age-groups sitting engrossed with handouts. They were reading a poem, titled Hallow-een by Winifred M. Letts. We grabbed our set of handouts and joined in the reading. I quickly glanced at the center of the circle at what appeared to be a colorful mat with a mysterious bowl on it. I drifted wondering how the bowl was connected to our workshop for the day. After the reading was complete, we passed on a stone. And then I realized that these mysterious objects were attributed magical powers based on the host’s imagination. How nice! The stone was passed around to all who were present giving the cue that whoever held it was conferred the magical power to speak. Everyone got a chance to pick their favorite lines from the poem… The workshop continued with some writing and discussion. It was a fun day out for me and I was happy to be in downtown Jax after so long. I still haven’t completed my driving test so usually end up being stuck in the suburbs. Feels like a bubble.

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Anyways, we had a free write task to do with a couple of starter options. Here’s what I wrote in the 6 minutes were given. I chose to start with ‘Alone in the night she waited for…

My free writing assignment submission.

Alone in the night she waited for someone to knock at the door or ring the bell. The lonely door which she had decorated with vermillion glitter, a garland of plastic pumpkins and friendly ghost cutouts. She had painstakingly handpainted white grimaces on the silver canvas skin of the ghosts to make them look welcoming. Inviting little trick-o-treaters was a front-yard fenced pathway decked with dancing fairy lights that were not too bright, not too jazzy, just perfect for the festive season.

Inside, she had three humongous bags placed on a sturdy rack, very close to the door. It was almost as if the bags were packing to leave on a month-long international tour. But the bags were filled with three different types of goodies. The first one had candy, the large packs which you get at Walmart and Costco. The second one had sour candy and cracker pills that shock your tongue when you wet them with saliva. And the third one had something unusual. Something only she would have thought of handing out to little sugar-crazy children – Strawberries. Strawberries because she wanted to send out a message – sugar is good but natural sugar is better and healthier. After all, she was a nutritionist.

(Added a few details after the event)