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  • Writer's pictureBenita Garvin

The Best Medicine and Why You Should Take It

Note: I received the following email two days after my London workshop. My head swelled and heart burst. I LOVE all the women Storytelling Lab attracts and eternally grateful for their presence in my life.

Dear Bonnie,

As per my subject line, I simply cannot put into words my deepest, sincerest but also most inspired and excited thanks for your especially wonderful and truly amazing Storytelling Lab on Saturday. I truly had the time of my life and can say without a shadow of a doubt that it was the best course or class I have ever taken. It was brilliant, fabulous, wonderful, transformative, and every bit as fun (wasn't expecting that) as you had promised. Thank you!!

As I mentioned on Saturday, I have been very unwell for 19 years (I have periods of being able to go about in small ways but nothing since late 2018) and this was the first big thing I have done since recovering my health earlier this year. I felt quite nervous coming into the room, and found myself feeling anxious that I wouldn't be able to do it in the early moments. I sat thinking 'Oh well you can just type anything, they don't have to know it's not any good or not a story' and even 'gosh all these women look so accomplished, no one knows six months ago I couldn't leave the house, a year ago, my bed'. And here is the point where in other stories I might say 'but I dug deep and got through it and it was worth it in the end'. Bonnie, I did not have to dig deep, all I had to do was listen to you speak and explain your story telling ways and I was amused, but also moved to invest in myself, my imagination and the story I wanted to tell. I could barely believe it when I found myself opening my laptop and picking a 'disaster' just like that and then writing the beginning of my story. Your talent is priceless and beyond impressive. I was only one of twenty or so women in that room and all of us were inspired to write, how incredible. Janvi was so inspired she barely stopped typing the entire day! From the moment you said 'off you go' she was off! I could easily have done the same but I was so aware of the rare air I was breathing and all of the wisdom that was coming not only from you but from the other women, that I wanted to soak it all up.

When we got to writing our endings, I wanted to gasp and exclaim out loud because I figured out a really neat, and hopefully poignant, way to end my story with a real 'full circle' kind of way without spelling it out to the reader (show don't tell ;) ). I was so delighted I worked out how I want to do this and it is all thanks to your incredible creative genius and the beautiful and supportive space you created for us all on Saturday.

The whole day was a perfect mixture of writing, listening and talking and if I could have made it stretch out into an entire week, I would have. From about 3:30 onwards the repetitive thought in my head was 'I don't want this to end, this is the best day, I don't want this to end'. You advertised the day as 'life-changing' and although I anticipated it to be a good day I did wonder if it would really change my life. Well, it already has! I began writing the story I finished in Storytelling Lab last autumn, when I was emerging from 18 months of brutal treatment. I was really enthusiastic about my idea but when I hit a block I couldn't restart it. I really needed other writers to talk to but knew none. Now I know 20, plus you! I am thrilled that I have been able to re-begin telling the story I began and even more so that when I told you my idea you said 'Oh, I love it!'. That will stay with me while I write for sure. I came to the lab thinking I may need to tell a different story for the workshop and leave the one I want to tell to one side. Initially, I did begin telling a different story, but as we progressed through the day and you imparted all of your glorious wisdom and sensational knack for imagining people, scenarios, and much more, I picked it up again and worked it into what I had begun that morning. What an incredible gift.

All of this is to express my enormous gratitude to you for such a magical day, it was just an outstanding experience, and one I will be looking to replicate for sure if you ever do any more in London. Hell, who knows, maybe I'll find myself booking a flight to LAX! I will definitely be checking out the Zoom ones too.

Thank you one more time, Bonnie, you have made me so very happy and excited for what is next, and I hope in reading this I raised something of a smile, (you've more than earned it!!)

Very best wishes,


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