This is a post by Susan Barocas, JBFC Power of Story Student
Following a decades-long career in marketing communication and public relations, Susan Barocas joined the Power of Story workshop to explore her skills and potential as a writer beyond the professional world. She is discovering new, inspiring aspects of the creative process, learning how to process constructive criticism and enjoying the company of talented, supportive people. Since moving to Westchester form Manhattan 12 years ago, Susan has been an avid supporter of the JBFC, attending countless films and special events leading her to the Power of Story.
Wednesday – the Power of Story group gathers. I love listening to their stories.
I am transported to Starbuck’s for a morning coffee with a shattering ending. I feel the cold air and crunch of snow on a winter night as a woman remembers a childhood scene. I hear the frustration and confusion of motherhood told with humor, humanity and song. I learn about a young man’s adventurous road trip in the 60’s and his honeymoon in a tree house in Hawaii. I’m introduced: to an indomitable grandfather who escapes enemy hands time and again in World War II; a young girl who dreams of a new living room couch representing the healing of her troubled mother; a newly-arrived Chinese student beginning life in America; and the hurt caused by a selfish sister, neglectful parents and denied birthday trip to Coney Island.
Anne Marie Santoro, our facilitator and friend, helps us become better writers by creating an unconditionally safe environment. She begins each workshop with photo images of the boundless magic of nature – including standing eggs and tiny unfolding creatures. She tells us “Words are powerful — you never know where they land”, “Everyone has a story they’re burning to tell”, “You never know when or where a story will find you”. She encourages us to identify our goals and dreams while supporting and literally applauding every effort.
After years of writing professionally, reading passionately and working alone at my computer composing sentences and stories, I decided to join a workshop to find out if I had the ability, discipline and courage to share my work.
I entered the first Power of Story session surprisingly nervous about reading aloud though I believed my pieces well-crafted and interesting. I quickly realized there’s much to learn and am consistently impressed and inspired by the honesty, clarity and creativity eloquently expressed at the Wednesday sessions.
Although it can be frustrating, challenging and difficult work, I enjoy composing and sharing my works, hearing constructive and supportive feedback, incorporating critiques. I’ve learned to trust, not be defensive or offended and value the spirit and positive energy of the group experience.
Whether painful or joyous, writing is no longer a solitary endeavor but a rewarding process with a thoughtful, generous, nurturing community enriching my life.
Interested in joining Power of Story this fall? Registration is still OPEN!