Bob, and John, and another John, and Bill and Mary and Anne, and...Names blurred those first weeks. What didn't blur were the stories each told. I began to look forward to the stories.
Bob read his poems in a soft voice. Funny, I thought, he looks like he'd have a big voice. His poem on that first day, was about a kid in a playground, throwing sand at another kid and then running away in a hurry. In this poem, he revealed the need to get back at a bully, to attack him and make him pay for the acts he had committed. (That's what I remember about that poem.)
I was beginning to share some memoir pieces at that time. First person narratives. While everyone was concentrating on "fixing" my syntax here and there, Bob told me that I didn't have to fix anything if what I wanted to capture was the very essence of my soul. "That's who you are now, as you retell your story, and your reader will feel and know you intimately if you use the language you normally use."
On days when I need to get something out on paper, I think of Bob Cohen, now dead and gone. I think of how he would start to capture that feeling, that scene, and I accept who I am, the limitations of my skills, the ordinary topics I concentrate on.