This post is dedicated to my writers' group and my blog-world friends who constantly amaze me with their support and encouragement. The awards above came recently to me, courtesy of Cheryl and Shadow. Thank you ladies, these symbols of friendship will support me for many months.
The Bandon group, pictured above in an unclassical pose, is the group that knows me best, knows my frustrations, my limitations, my ambitions. Each of us has gained immensely from participating in the group; and in turn, we have influenced others too.
My friend Lilly Mars presented a long essay to the group, in response to a prompt about what we learned from each other. Here is an excerpt from her essay, with her permission.
"What I learned in Monday School.
"In his book, The Courage to Write, Ralph Keyes claims: 'The esprit of good writers' group resembles that of neighbors battling a hurricane. Everyone is in equal jeopardy. Shared danger forges a bond...Writers' gatherings of all kinds are, or at least ought to be, settings where we learn not so much HOW to write but how to DARE to write. No single task is more important to the process of becoming a writer.'
"...I have arrived feeling doubtful and hopeful and anxious and proud. I have skipped aerobics class because I did not want to show up sweaty. I have been late because of the nocturnal pestilence of words, words, words. Emily Dickinson has shown up at 3 A.M. accusing me of plagiarism and demanding a credit line. I have laughed and cried along with members of the group. I have listened to many pieces of noteworthy writing, and also some gobbledygook. I have watched many lovely people come and go, three of whom have passed away. This is the only place I know where I can be with people who get passionate about semi-colons. These are the only folks who call me Lilly."
Lilly's words, (not her real name), reflect much of my sentiments. Every Monday I feel doubtful and hopeful and anxious and proud. Yet, after those two hours hearing others' words, sharing my thoughts, struggling to learn how to improve the output, struggling to keep my ego tucked safely away, I return home exhausted and elated. I have never felt more alive, more understood.
Thank you Lilly for capturing that feeling so well.
I wish for all of you who aspire to write, to have friends like these.