This weekend I took part in a critiquing workshop at the main branch of the Public Library.
The creator of the workshop sloppily foretold in emails what s/he was planning. Declan, an obscure male traditionally-Irish name, turns out to a be a young woman. She is probably in her early twenties and proactively decided to begin her own writing workshop to built her resume. I appreciate the gutsiness.
About 12 of us show up, as soon as I walk in I see my son's grandmother. The woman who served us with papers filing for full custody at the behest of her son, who took part in the brief time when we were denied access to our child until the courts rectified that. This all took place after a painful and unfortunate accident that left our son injured, a time when he needed his parents (all of them) the most. I was shocked, but being who I am it was easy to hide shock and I only said, "hello".
She didn't recognize me at first then, registering shock in her wide blue eyes, she stuttered "I'm so happy to see you here."
It was all I could do not to say "I'm so NOT HAPPY TO SEE YOU here." I felt invaded, scared, irritated, angry. Then, I took a deep breath, let her sentence hang in the air and said something non-descript like "what a surprise."
In typical steam-roller fashion, I had agreed to share one of my poems at the first meeting. I waffled, thought of reneging then just decided whatever the world has in store for me, it will out. So I guess I'll go back next week. I am thankful that such a program exists in this city for broke writers such as myself, even if it comes with unwanted lessons in forgiveness.