closing thoughts on the forge writing program

Closing Thoughts on The Forge Writing Program

The Forge Writing Program — That's a Wrap!

The Forge Writing Program wrapped up last month with a public reading at the Downtown Bend Library. I thought the ten Smithys in the program would be reading to each other, our mentors, and a few parents joining by Zoom, but the room was packed. The Smithys already knew each other’s work intimately, after the peer workshop phase of the course, but to hear my classmates read was a joyous procession. I had a swelling sense of pride for my classmates and the courageous stories told in that room. There were wildly different excerpts of novels, short stories, and personal essays read aloud.

The Forge Sheet Cake
We celebrated The Forge Reading with Bend's friendly ​​writing community and sheet cake.

When it was my turn to read, my daughter followed me up to the podium. This was somewhat unplanned and raked my nerves. I had dressed her as a magic mushroom, foraging her closet and costume options to patch together a purple-ish outfit and a silky wand.  The plan was for me to read, alone, for about three minutes and then she’d wave her wand through the audience and join me for a trippy mushroom song at the end. I must have over-sold the “You get to be on-stage with mommy” bit because as soon as I started walking up the center aisle, she was by my side. There was no way my man was going to wrangle her back to her folding chair. I was worried  because my child has never let me read anything in peace for four minutes. However, I’ve got to say, as I read she waved her wand, made her momma proud, and only interrupted to tell me, "Dad is taking pictures." Now I look back on it fondly, glad she insisted on being as much of an integral presence in my reading, as she is in my writing and my life.

The Forge Writing Program Certificate
The Forge Writing Program Certificate of Excellen​​ce: The only professional certificate I'm willing to frame 

The Forge Writing Program — Mothers Approve

Because my daughter was a baby not long ago, I gotta show mad respect to the three women who either gave birth, tended a diapered child, or spent the first trimester of a pregnancy in The Forge Writing Program— they completed the course with flying colors — producing short stories, and the seedlings of a novel and memoir. The only thing I was doing with flying colors at that phase of motherhood was wiping splattered smoothie off the kitchen cabinets. 

I tip my hat to these women and offer, “How the %&*$ did y’all manage?” and “We need to erect a statue for y’all in the new roundabout” and “I wrote your names in for Bend City Manager.”

Video: Closing Thoughts on The Forge Creative Writing Program

Farewell to The Forge Writing Program — So Hard to Say Goodbye

It’s so hard to say goodbye to the experience and the shape of the connections forged there (you knew that pun was coming), but truly, The Forge Writing Program was an experience that left smiling like a creep in the afterglow and writing by the ember light.

Now that my Forge Writing fever has broken, I'm tapping out, and no longer obsessed with encapsulating the experience, but if you want to read more about my eccentric and mostly non-tangible takeaways, check out one of the other articles in this series:

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