Monday, October 3, 2011

Who's got your back?

By Pamela

Last week, the six of us spent the evening at the Richardson Reads One Book event, hearing Jamie Ford discuss his bestseller: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. As we were standing in line to talk to Jamie, the six of us began discussing our upcoming retreat. We really weren't all that quiet while we talked about what we loved about last year's place, where we might want to go this year, who was willing to room with whom, and so forth.

Eventually, we realized, since we were almost the last in line, we might as well let the few behind us go before us. Just like having a few more than 15 items in the express lane, we figured it was only fair not to make the others wait. (We knew we'd want to chat with Jamie and maybe talk him into a photo op.)

As we let the others go ahead of us, a lady who graciously moved up in the queue leaned in and asked me, "Are y'all related?" I wondered if she thought we might be planning a family reunion--a gathering of sisters or cousins who really don't resemble each other that much.

"No," I said. "We're writers."

But maybe I answered too quickly because we are a family. We're bonded in a way that makes me know I have five women who have my back. And while we've never lived under one roof (except for during our annual retreats, which last three days and nights), we do reach out to each other--either over lunch, phone calls or emails.

Not a day goes by that I don't hear from at least one of the other five. And even though, due to work and family commitments and the distance between our homes, we don't get together as often as we'd like, we might meet two or three at a time.

When Susan transitioned from full-time, work-at-the-office employee to work-from-home consultant, she and I met for lunch and talked for hours about her new role. When Julie's book deal went to auction, Susan grabbed lunch and half a dozen cupcakes and went over to Julie's house to hold vigil, while we all eagerly waited to hear the news. This week, Elizabeth and I have a lunch date planned to discuss her new manuscript and figure out some details about where mine is heading. And next month, Joan and I are driving to Austin for a Writers' League of Texas workshop we both thought would serve us well.

Last week I paid the deposit on our new retreat location at a lake house that usually hosts scrap-bookers. (A couple of emails went around to explain to Susan what the heck a 'crop table' was; we'll use them for critique sessions.) When I told the home's owner that we were a group of writers, she said, "Oh, we've never had writers before."

"Well, we're a lot of fun," I told her. "We're like sisters."

If you write and don't have the support of like-minded souls, I urge you to get out there. Write in public, don't hesitate to tell others that you're a writer, attend author events, seek out writing groups, go to conferences, check out online groups like Backspace. I know my life has been made all the more richer because I got out from behind my computer and met My Fabulous Five.

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