I don’t know precisely how the saying goes or if it is even really a “saying,” but the gist of it is: A sign of a good friendship is that no matter how much time passes between seeing each other you can pick up as if no time has passed at all.
Well, time has in fact passed since the Keys…a small group of would-be writers bonded over creative decisions and discussions and the pursuit of a Master’s Degree…have seen each other. It’s been at least two years since we last sat around that table discussing our writing endeavors, and five years since some of us finished that Master’s Program. And yet, last night it felt like no time had passed at all. We picked up our glasses, our banter, and our critiques with comfort. It was good to be in each others’ company, to be reassured that while some things change…projects, voices, opportunities…some things don’t…intention, interests, camaraderie.
But if we’re on the subject, the question that now presents itself to me is, do I have a good “friendship” with my writing, in all its forms…this blog, “the book,” short stories, new ideas? Time has indeed passed since I’ve given attention to any of it. Will I be able to pick up as if no time has passed at all…?
We shall see…
Has anyone been to the Berkeley Hills? I was there Thursday night for the first time…somewhere off Grizzly Peak Road amidst beautiful homes, a sunset and stars, and a small host of writers & readers gathered in one of those beautiful homes to hear Susan Shea and Cara Black discuss their latest books. I carried in a caramelized onion and mushroom quiche and was transported to France, where Susan’s new series is set in a small fictional Burgundian town and Cara’s long-running Aimée Leduc series is set in Paris (with New York best-selling results, I might add).
The event also helped me to see how I’ve matured…like a good French cheese. (Sorry…too good to resist!) What I mean by this is that I am finally appreciating spiritually what I’ve always known logically…that it isn’t the destination that brings the greatest reward, but the journey. In the past I would have gone to such an event with some aim in mind…to network, to make an impression, to get somewhere or get something. And I would have left feeling icky, unsatisfied, and unsuccessful. And I understand now it was because I was so focused on my expected outcomes that I was closed off to the magic and synchronicity that might have unfolded naturally…I was so focused on the results, that I missed the joys offered by the process.
So Thursday night I had no goal but to get to those Berkeley Hills before the event started…which was no small feat with quitting time traffic that took two and half hours! But with that accomplished and people tucking into the quiche, I took a seat and let anything or nothing happen. As it is, I met some lovely people, soaked in the discussions of setting (very pertinent to my own novel) and French current events (always interesting), and let myself be dissuaded by Susan from a drastic POV revision to my manuscript. In fact, that two and half hour drive might just have saved me weeks of work!
Good morning! As I was taking Oscar for his morning walk…(for those not following on Instagram, Oscar is on his way to becoming a bona fide “Adventure Cat” under the alias of Licorice…hence the camo vest and far-reaching gaze)…I was getting caught up on Social Media and came across this quote…
“I’ve worked too hard on my happiness to be affected by people and things that don’t understand the energy and time I’ve put into myself” ~Billy Chapata
…and it gave me pause…enough pause to sit and write a post. Why…?
Perhaps because I’ve always been a people pleaser, and part of being a people pleaser is not letting others feel uncomfortable or put out, even at your own cost. As a result, we people pleasers apologize for our unique beauty, greatness, accomplishments…we diminish ourselves so others don’t have to feel less than. What many of us fail to understand before too much time has gone by or before it’s too late is that everyone’s greatness and beauty is individual…your accomplishments can’t diminish mine and vice versa because we each have our own gifts to give…and we each have our own spectacular beauty to fill the world with that that only we can offer. Unfortunately, some of us convince ourselves otherwise and spend too much of life apologizing, hiding, and negating ourselves.
Maybe it’s turning 40 or just a natural accumulation of life experiences which has made me intolerant of certain things…things like lies, cruelty, ignorance, and self-deprecation, just to name a few.
And so begins an unapologetic era…
It’s one of those lovely, foggy July mornings in Sonoma County…and a Saturday. Which means that, not only will the temperatures stay down today, but I can wrap myself up in socks and a sweater, have extra coffee and toast, and spend guilt-free hours in the house.
The focus of this weekend is preparing my first submissions to send out to agents. Tuesday’s the big day. My husband asked, “Why Tuesday?” First, because it takes time to make sure everything is just right, and this is one of those things you want to do absolutely right. “We’re incredibly busy people. Don’t give us an excuse to say ‘no’ with careless errors.” This is something I’ve heard from more than one agent…and I’ve listened. The second reason for Tuesday is that it’s a full moon…and I’m going for all the good energy I can get! In seriousness, I believe I’ve crafted a professional query letter, managed an intriguing yet concise synopsis, and, most importantly, written a great book! As I was finishing the final read-through and line-edits, I found myself caught up in the story and unable to stop turning pages. Since I already knew the ending, this seems promising.
Time for another John Williams’ soundtrack, more toast with homemade lemon curd, and back to those submissions.