“Because I thought by the time I reached this age, I’d have a lot more to show for all my years of writing.” But there I was, with no published book, not even a contract for one. For me, the birthday would be a reminder of my failures.
My sister Pete (yes, Pete is my sister’s name) said, “But look at everything your writing has given you. You love it, and you’ve made a lot of friends through your writing.”
She was right, but at the time, all I could see was my lack of success. I’d been through revisions for a couple editors who liked my writing, but in the end, did not offer a contract. And my tunnel vision wasn’t ready to see the whole picture. I stuck to my guns. No party.
But last year I finally thought seriously about Pete’s words. I DO love writing. It’s as much a part of me as my crooked teeth and hammer toes. And I’ve critiqued a number of books that went on to be published.
And I thought about those friends:
-critique partners & critique group friends
-successful author friends (Kathy Erskine “liked” my facebook post yesterday!)
-editor friends and friends in the publishing business (One of them is now my husband’s fishing buddy.)
-friends who extend hospitality and the warmth of their homes to me & Jim when we’re away from ours
-the friend who asked my daughter to illustrate his book
-the friend who dedicated one of her books to me
-friends who have mentioned me in their acknowledgements
-friends who respect my writing ability enough to want me to teach them how I do what I do
-the friend who reaches out a financial hand when I’m scraping up funds for a workshop
-friends who come over to play Balderdash every Christmas (I met them in critique group.)
-the friend who made sure I got my muzzleloader question answered (see AUTHENTICITY post, 1/5/12)
-and the friend who showed up, muzzleloader in hand, to teach me how to use it
-the long-distance friend who believes in the art of letter writing & makes me eager for the mailman’s visit
-the friend who urged me to attend a writers' retreat with her in February
-and the new friends at that retreat who welcomed me as one of them
-the friends who shore me up when the rejections come, and encourage me to keep plugging away
-one of my dearest friends who I’ll have dinner with tomorrow (I met her in critique group.)
-And of course, the Swaggers, that close group, whose love & friendship reaches across miles.
This blog was the brainchild of Kim, who returned from an October walk and said, “We could do a blog.” Kim recently forwarded an e-mail from an old friend of mine who’d seen my name on the blog & wanted to get in touch again after more than 30 years. One more plus garnered through writer friends.
Last year I reconsidered Pete’s words and asked myself, if I had the choice between a published book & the friends I’ve made through writing, which would I rather have? An easy decision. I’d choose the friends.
Of course, I still hope I can have both, but in the meantime, I’m a happy writer—and I’m ready for that party!
|Kathy (far right, back row) with new friends at Carolyn Yoder's Highlight's retreat in February 2012|
Kathy Cannon Wiechman