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The owner of a yoga studio next door to the Tik Talk Cafe asked me the other day if I would write a testimonial for a brochure she was putting together. The request didn’t come totally out-of-the-blue — the day before I had taken her Introduction to Gentle Yoga class and had sung it and her praises afterwards. It was a great class and the first time I had done yoga sitting in a chair! Imagine! My knees were smiling all the way through every chant, asana and deep breath.

I’m not a total novice to yoga so I can judge quality when I see it. I have, after all, experienced the best in my favourite yoga teacher/guru of all time, my friend Judith. I didn’t know her or her skills when I signed up for a night course in Beginners Yoga the first year that I was here in Oh Canada. The class was held in the boys’ gymnasium at Central Tech High School but that didn’t matter. Once she started teaching, she transported us from that dirty, smelly floor up to a higher plain. She was/is fabulous. When I walked home after her class, I felt 2 inches taller and so sexy as my hips loosely swayed from side-to-side. But that was back in the days when I could still get down on the floor and back up again. (When I told my Boot-Camp-Drill-Sergeant-No-BS Trainer that I had not gotten on the floor for the yoga, she vowed that one day I would! I’m not always enthusiastic about her proclamations about what my body is going to do in the future because I know what that same body is going to have to go through in the meantime. She said we’d start in two weeks practicing getting down and back up again. It might just be worth the pain if I can take one of Judith’s classes again!)

Back to writing this testimonial — I said, sure, I’ll write something for your brochure. She gave me a serene smile, “Thanks,” she said. I asked her, “When do you need this?” Again, that calm yogi demeanour, “Today.” No problem, I told her. But when I said to her, “So what do you have in mind? Do you want me to use certain language? Who’s the audience?” She looked at me in a confused sort of way — like I was speaking a different language. Then, she said it. She let loose those five little words that this writer hates to hear: “You’re the writer, write something.” Whenever someone says that to me, it makes me feel like I should be able to perform like one of those little monkeys that can flip backwards at the clap of your hands. Writing is not easy, folks. It’s not dishwashing, for heaven’s sake. If I was a professional dishwasher and someone said to me, “You’re the dishwasher, just wash the dishes,” that I could do. No problem. But wordsmithing is not dishwashing.

Before I can write, ideas have to churn and churn and churn around in my head until I get to a point when they start making sense. Only then, can I start to form them into words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters. I repeat: Writing is not easy! — at least not for this here writer. Words don’t come to me like a drippy faucet whenever someone asks me to perform. I remember all those months ago when the divine-social-media-and-all-things-technical guru, Sarah, had set up this blog. When she had finished with all the inputs and outputs, she turned to me and said, “So, write your first blog!” Just like that — just like I could go from being a social-media ignoramus to a seasoned blogger in five-seconds. “What should I write?” “I don’t know, you’re the writer.” I just looked at her — she typed: “This is my first blog.”

For sure, writing Mediterranean Journey and every one of these blogs would have been a whole lot easier if I could have just turned on words with the push of the computer on-button. I’m sure there are lots of writers out there who can scribble a masterpiece without a second thought. But not me — no I need things to mellow. I think the next time someone says to me, “You’re the writer, write something,” I’ll smile and carefully, cursively write my name.

As for the testimonial, I finished it that afternoon. We were both still working at the Tik Talk, so I called her over to see what I had written. As she read my words, she had that serene, pensive look back on her face and then she bobbed her head up and down slowly. I took that as approval. Then she said to me, “I can edit it later.”