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  • Writer's pictureBenita Garvin


Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Just under two years ago we were facing impending lockdown number whatever… I had tried so many online classes to pass the boredom (drawing, improv, sourdough bread baking, candle making) and they had stopped working, if they ever did

At about the same time my favourite podcaster Elizabeth Day posted a story on Instagram introducing her teacher. I think the caption read ‘if you want to learn to write - you must meet Bonnie’ Benita (Bonnie) Garvin

Aside from work emails and Christmas cards, I had never written. When I spoke to Bonnie for the first time and told her this, she said ‘you’re perfect for Storytelling Telling Lab’

And so began my journey of joining words together.

In the first 6 weeks of class I spent time online with Bonnie learning alongside 4 wonderful women.

I was so intimidated

These were no ordinary women, all of them already living brilliantly creative lives

- a theatre director in New York

- a trained artist now at Google

- an interior designer and former lawyer, and

- a senior executive at a successful communications agency

Comparison and Imposter syndrome hitting me simultaneously from all directions

What am I doing with these women? My inner critic berating me

You do not belong!

I was so shy to read my work out aloud each week, especially after hearing the other’s

I heard my writing as clumsy sentences forming dreary stories… I was boring myself

Until week 5. Our assignment had been to write our life story starting with ‘once upon a time’

So that’s what I did. It was the first time I had written it all down. And there’s a lot; much of it tough, sad and violent. There was also deep love and grief.

Bonnie said I had found my voice

I had simply spoken from the perspective of the little girl in me who observed her life… feeling trapped and not knowing if she could escape or if better was possible.

Two years later I continue to write as the observer. The LinkedIn challenge with my fellow cosmic antlers has fostered this and I am grateful.

But writing has given me so much more than the ability to put words on a page

My life is enriched by friendships formed with people who’s lives I would have never crossed except for our shared desire to be better writers; with the Storytelling Lab women and Bonnie too. In fact, this weekend I flew to Spain to meet Bonnie, as she was over from LA.

What a treat!

Despite the past 2 years conversing only over Zoom and WhatsApp, it feels like we have known each other forever.

And by posting on LinkedIn I have found a way to share my internal world of child-like wonder and vulnerability, sometimes combined with the sharp knife of satire. Writing is thinking out loud.

I never know if people will appreciate what I write and each day I am trying to care less.

With every story, I am still exploring my voice and also being nourished with every word.

What gives you nourishment?

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