A friend from childhood is an author. Two beautiful books in print. She listens to me as we sit on the back porch of a restaurant that sits out over a pond. We drink water, eat salads. She is patient as I talk about writing. Not yet. Soon. A little. She has her M.F.A., graduated from a prestigious program, has won grants. Asks me questions, encourages. She tells me about a current project that she hesitates to finish. When she types The End, she has to send her child out into the world, with no power to protect it, with only the belief she has done what she can to make sure it stands on its own two feet.
Months later, I finish edits. I don’t tell anyone. It may need another revision; the third time, fourth, or sixth, may be the charm. It needs to be packed into gray cardboard boxes and delivered to Group and two friends who have read bits and pieces through the years. Even if they are at their most constructive, no holding back, it will be only the kindergarten of my story’s venture into the wide world. I wait to make copies.
A neighbor stops me in the library, invites me to a women’s night out. I can’t, I tell her, I’m going to Writers’ Group. “Oh,” she says, “a writer’s group?” The door is wide open. I nod and smile. I can’t tell her about the group, beyond stating how wonderful they are, without getting into the fact that yes, I write. I have a draft novel. I change the subject. I want to hide it behind my skirts, protect it.
I watch my son play jazz drums at a concert. The 1,000-seat auditorium is packed with students and s. My daughter is impatient; no chorus tonight? That's her favorite. My husband and I tap our toes, smile. This is the first thing our son has done on his own. As long as he keeps time, we can’t even tell if he’s making mistakes. This is between him and the drums and the teachers; it’s all his. It takes time to reach that point; when it happens, it’s exciting.
I decide to make the copies, to ask the Writers Group to read my query letter. I am going to send it out into the world. The writing is all mine. I'm excited.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007