For as much as we WWWers all think about each other, and as much help as we give each other, it's really not all that often that we manage to get together. That's one reason, I think, we all look so forward to our annual retreat, which now feels like a tradition. Hey, this will be our fifth year--laugh if you want, but if you've ever had a five-year-old, you can attest that they know precisely what tradition means come Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas or Passover.
Throughout the rest of the year, we grab each other's company as we can. Two or three meeting up for the odd lunch, four or five of us for an author event, three or four of us delightedly finding each other at a Writer's Guild of Texas meeting out of the blue.
But life is busy, and though all of our kids are getting older (nearly half of the collected bunch are now in college or in the world!), and you'd think things would get easier, that's not seemed to be the case. For those who need driving, the driving seems to have multiplied, and that alone keeps some of us away from opportunities to see each other. Family obligations, too, seem to be more and more pressing, both for wonderful reasons and bad, and though we are each of us blessed to be able to respond to the call when needed, it takes up time. Lots of time.
Our writing itself, too, eats up time we could perhaps sometimes spend together. Not a one of us would ever lament a good day in front of the keyboard, but at the end of it, a hot cup of tea and a chat with one of the blog ladies would sure be nice. Doesn't often happen, though with phones and texts and email, maybe a dose of virtual tea would be advised.
Our retreat is only a month away, but with Thanksgiving still ahead and the crazy-busy month of November mostly before us (quick: does anyone in the world NOT know half a dozen people with November birthdays? Could Valentine's Day be to blame?), it seems a long while yet. Before we can pull out our laptops and comfy pants, settle in for good food and intense and funny and warm conversations, before we can just ignore the rest of the world for a little while and just be writers.
Until then, we will do what we can, here and there, to get together when possible. A cup of coffee, a quick lunch, maybe just an exchange of messages or a few words when something big or small or funny or sad or exciting happens. If we can. Always, always, if we can. We are all of us writers, but we are first wives and mothers and daughters and friends. Which makes us better writers, all of us.
Happily, tonight several of us will make the drive to Highland Park to see Elizabeth Gilbert, but--sorry, Elizabeth--a major portion of the delight of the evening will be seeing each other. Saying hello, reconnecting, wishing each other well on our current projects, lamenting with each other if things aren't going so well. Above all, feeding the writer's space that needs other writers, especially those writers we know and admire and trust. It's a necessary meal, and since it's been a little while, we are hungry. Should be delicious.