As everyone who was not me predicted, the three-hour hearthcraft workshop I led on Saturday was a success.
I thought it had been three years since I've led a class or workshop, my brief presentation at Hamilton Pagan Pride Day 2008 aside, but I realised that it's been more like four. I felt really rusty, and quite anxious about how it would all go. I deliberately over-prepared in order to have a couple of extra modules available to switch to, depending on how the topics of discussion went. I try to do that as a rule, because every class is unique and follows different bits that interest them. In the end I didn't use any of the extra modules, because the group really focused on a few topics that took off in discussion.
Avalon Naturel, the meeting space in which I gave the workshop, has a wonderfully welcoming and comforting energy. I learned that the Avalon regulars are as equally comforting and welcoming. There were, to my astonishment (and, yes, initial panic) over twenty people crowded into the single room, some in chairs around the edges, some on mats on the floor. And they talked, bless them; they responded when I tossed questions and discussion topics out, for which I was heartily thankful, because nothing kills a workshop quicker than attendees who don't respond. Respond these excellent people did; I had people talking to me throughout the break and afterwards, telling me how much they'd learned, both beginners and experienced people assuring me that I was making sense to them, giving them new ways to think about things or the opportunity to share their own techniques and ideas. I loved it.
It went so well, as a matter of fact, that less than halfway through it I was already thinking about what I could give from my existing slate of workshops for them. I'd been tentatively sketching a pregnancy workshop, but one of the co-directors told me that the Avalonians tend to be of below or beyond childbearing age/mindset so there probably wouldn't be much response. But the other co-director in attendance caught me after most people had left and proposed co-leading a workshop around Harvest, which got us both very excited as it expanded and evolved into two different things.
So yes: A success, and the Avalonians are going to have a hard time getting rid of me. We have an informal agreement for me to show up one evening next month for a kaffeeklatsch type of thing once the hearthcraft book is out, so people can buy the book and I can sign them and we can all talk about lots of stuff instead of just what we can cover on one subject in three hours. (I sold every one of my previous books I'd brought except one, and signed dozens more people owned and brought along with them. Good grief.)
I know I always feel better after I've given a workshop or class, which is part of what gets me through the prep and anxiety leading up to the event. Part of that post-workshop feeling is relief, part of it is the sense that I've accomplished something, and part of that is coming away with what the attendees have given to me in the form of energy and interaction and appreciation. I came away from this one feeling so much better than I'd expected to feel that I amused myself. And frankly, I just sat back and let myself enjoy it for the rest of the weekend.
So thank you, Avalonians! I had a wonderful time, and your response meant so much to me. I can't wait to actually share the book with you all next month.