Friday, November 12, 2010

What We've Been Missing

Since moving here life has done a 180. Yesterday was a perfect example.

I joined the library's writer's group that meets every Thursday for 3 hours. It was amazing to walk into a room of strangers and be welcome. People gathered round to introduce themselves and ask about my writing experience, the books I was currently reading and why I'd chosen to move to this area. I was so stunned I teared up.

It seems my friend Deb has been talking me up. "She's written for newspapers and she's always listened to me talk about my writing. You'll all really like her."

To put this in context, I've known Deb since I first moved to this area 30 years ago and she was recommended as a babysitter. She was married with three kids and didn't work outside the home. I was single, had three kids and worked for GM.

We're about as different from one another as two women could get. She left school in the 9th grade; I have 3.5 years of college. She's been in an abusive marriage for 35 years; I would have killed him. She's the youngest of four; I'm the oldest of four. She has very little self confidence; mine could be tempered at times. But somehow we've been supportive of one another.

Deb joined the writing group because she realized she needed something to do now that her children had all left the nest. "I felt like I didn't have a mind left," she said. "I thought writing would help me think."

She cannot spell or punctuate but she keeps trying. She has so much enthusiasm for writing that she sent a story to a vanity publisher. Of course, it was published. She was so proud of being an author that she sent me a copy. I had to restrain myself from taking a red pen to every page.

Everyone at the writing group has read her book and they've all realized the same thing I have. It's a terrible piece of work. Despite that, it has given her a new sense of purpose, pride and determination that no amount of counseling, crying, praying or demanding has ever done.

During our meeting the group's leader gave us a series of writing exercises which we then read to the group. Members responses were amazing. Laughter, jokes and respectful critiques filled the air.

My email was added to the member list. As of this morning I've heard from all but two of the group.

I am still amazed that we get phone calls from live people other than telemarketers.

When we needed to pick up truck parts Deb gave me a ride. When we needed help unloading the U-Haul, help was here. We've been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner - the first holiday invite we've had in two years, maybe more.

While we're up north for the last load, someone will be here taking care of our cat and watching the house.

When we go grocery shopping or stop at the gas station people stop and talk. The librarian knew who I was when I asked for a library card. She even offered a list of books she thought I'd be interested in based on what Deb had told her.

I could go on and on about how welcome we feel. It's such a contrast to being ignored and left out and judged on our past, our location, our lifestyle, our ages and whatever other determinations had been made about us.

And something else I just remembered. At the writing group someone mentioned a wringer washer in her story. Deb laughed and said I could identify with that because I had one. The most elder of the writers group looked up and said, "Have you ever made your own laundry soap?" When I said, "Yes and I still do," no one laughed.


Anonymous said...

Well now, welcome to a civilized society. Sounds like the right place to be for you guys right now.
Good for you .

Mayberry said...

Sounds like you've found your niche! Sounds like a wonderful place.

Kyddryn said...

Oh Mizz Treesong, it sounds like you've found a community - hurrah! I hope the trend continues and you find yourself surrounded and supported by kindred spirits. It's a lovely feeling, that of coming Home...I DO hope you've found it!

Shade and Sweetwater,

Anonymous said...

Tree...I have been reading your posts for quite awhile and I'm sooooo happy for you and yours.
It must be like taking a huge breath of fresh air and feeling it reach all of those places inside that haven't had any oxygen for sometime...good luck

Anonymous said...

Hope Deb doesn't read your blog, she might be upset about the critique of her book...but seriously, if she is willing, be her critique partner and help her learn to write well.

I'm an editor, we look for folk willing to improve as much as we look for good writers.

Patsy said...

Good for you! I live in a small town (3,000) and the library is one of the main places to be. Everyone is friendly here and always willing to lend a helping hand. There are judgments by some but they are really kept to a minimum. So glad you landed where you are. God bless.

2 Tramps said...

What a great post - you seem so much happier. And that will lead to better health for you, too. Enjoy your new friends and community!

HermitJim said...

Glad to hear that things are going good for you, my friend!

About time that some good fortune smiled on you and the family!

Stephanie said...

So glad to hear the new place is comfortable for you!! What a great feeling! I just moved back "home" to the small town I grew up in after being gone for a few years, and its so nice to know the person behind the register, or at the garage, and be able to be comfortable.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember seeing your wood cook stove in your for sale items. If you are interested in selling it let me know what price you want for it. Thanks. B.
I can give you an email address...but I can't find yours on your site.