Monday, September 10, 2012
Meet My Writing Friends
These nice women are Kathi and Martha. We meet every month or so in a local eatery in order to discuss our writing: what we are working on, what we plan to do with it, how successful we've been with our latest projects, how much support we need to keep on plugging away. These women are crucial to my writing life, because only they understand the particular joys and sorrows associated with writing novels.
We first met back in 2000, when we all took a writing course under the tutelage of a local university professor. That class morphed into a writing group, and four members of that writing group (and a fifth who came later) still meet today, twelve years later, to critique each other's manuscripts.
But our weekend breakfasts are independent of the writing group; they provide psychological support in the form of good friends, good food, good advice (and afterward, some retail therapy). It is a chance for three women either nearing fifty or past fifty to share the view from mid-life, and to laugh about the things that once made us cringe.
Why are they such good influences for me? Because no one understands a writer like a writer.
Kathi, who recently published her first YA novel, does extensive research in her genre. She got her MA in creative writing with an emphasis on young adult fiction, and I've never seen someone work so hard on honing her craft. She is my inspiration with her willingness to revise, revise, revise. She pursues excellence and achieves it. At the same time she has a career as an occupational therapist, and works to provide support for her son, who is midway through his studies at DePaul University.
Martha is a natural writer with an impeccable sense of timing and character. Like all good writers, she gets inside the skin of her characters and lives their lives as she writes them. I'll be very excited when she publishes her first book, because it will be a hit. She too has a very busy professional life that has her working long hours and even leaving the country now and then. She finds time to write, though, because she says writing is more entertaining than watching television. Her three children are either just out of college or in graduate school, so she's finding a bit more time to perfect her craft.
We laugh together, at least once a month, about the way writing becomes a sort of disease within us--we sometimes become angry about its hold on us, but we'll never get "over" it and stop writing. So we've given in, knowing that we can rely on each other to help us through the adventures that a life of writing brings.
They are two of my best Muses, and I'm grateful for them.
Who are your Muses?