Literary Nonfiction at the Kenyon Writers Workshop, Rebecca McClanahan had the following rule: If you apologized for your writing before you started reading, you had to pay $5. Of course that quickly became a class joke, and almost all of us contributed to the fund, including me. Then, on the second to last day, Rebecca announced that she knew what she was going to do with the money, but it was going to be a surprise. Little did I know.
She proceeded to the Weather Vane Boutique in the village and told the shop keeper that she was looking to buy a gift for her fellow.
"Well, how old is he?" asked the shopkeeper.
"Oh, no, it's a she, you know, on a fellowship in my writers workshop."
The shopkeeper showed Rebecca something, to which Rebecca replied, "Well, she's kind of tall."
"Is her name Annette?" the shopkeeper asked.
"What? As a matter of fact it is. How did you know?"
"Well, she was just in here and bought two skirts!"
Next thing you know, the shopkeeper is advising Rebecca on what jewelry would go well with my newly acquired wardrobe.
Which is how it came about that this morning, thanks to Rebecca's quirky rules and thoughtfulness, and the generosity of a wonderful workshop of talented nonfiction writers, I was presented with a red necklace that just happened to go very well with the blue and white outfit, and above all, the red and blue shoes I was wearing today! A thank you gift for all my hard work, which really was not hard and a privilege through and through.
Is that serendipity, or research, or both? For sure it is a great gift! Thank you, Rebecca, and thank you workshop participants! I am touched, and I am honored.