The Bandon Writers, two males, many women meet weekly to share their writing and receive feedback. From the left, sitting, Martha, Lilly, Ava and Oliver. In the back row, from the left, Ginney, Mary, Mike, who is bending to match Joyce, and I, the one standing, with the blue sweater. Holding his fingers up, is Oliver Lange; he and Joyce are my anchors in this journey. Both of them are octogenarian, old enough to be my parents. They are active with community projects, art, and writing.
I joined the group a couple of years ago, when I began writing my memoir. Oliver Lange, not his real name, is the group's titular head, the only published novelist in the group. If you google his name you'll discover he has written a dozen best sellers, some made into movies, too. If Oliver likes what I write, I glow and sputter and grow taller. If he doesn't, I retreat in the corner, and pray.
We all need friends and mentors, people who will show us the way, help us along the journey. I'm lucky, and grateful to many more people who respond to this blog, interpret my words, and leave thoughtful remarks. We are all pilgrims, sharing our stories on the way to Canterbury, understanding that what connects us is our human experience in this moment in history. Some of us will express our sentiments through poetry, or jokes, or dreams. Revealing pain and hope, we share our lives, we honor each other's voyages.
My best friend Joyce and I take long walks and have over a century of stories in three continents to share with each other and with the group.
Every one of us needs to be heard.
We don't know who'll be missing at tomorrow's meeting. At this time in our lives we don't want to postpone talking about the important things.
We are not young; our days are numbered, measured by the stories we tell, the connections we have made.