Anxiety, Connex, Gertrude Street, Love, Making friends, molè, My friend L, Signs of love, Writer's meetup, Writing
My very good friend L has been away, over the pond visiting her family in New Zealand. Given everything that’s really, really sucked recently, it wasn’t great timing from my perspective (though, I wish she’d had a better time there, too – argh, families!)
Commenting recently on Michele’s PTSD blog, I found myself trying to describe just how brilliant L is. She’s had her own dalliance with depression in the past, and knows the territory.
L is gracious. She cares about me but gives me the space I need to work stuff out. Still, she checks in to see how I’m doing regularly. And despite me dropping off the face of the earth from time to time (as I’m prone to)… she makes plans for us to do stuff anyway. I love her to death and I tell her so often.
She doesn’t compromise her own needs, but purposefully includes me in her life. And encourages me to acknowledge positive things about myself, from the way I look, to various small triumphs of life.
Today, I have much more to thank her for than usual.
Lately, she’s been (very gently) trying to get me to go out and meet more people, knowing it’s something I want for myself. Yet, she also knows I lack the confidence to do just that…
So, recently she sent me to a website listing a range of meetup type groups. This is gonna be kinda naff, I told myself and did nothing… And still, L sent me a list of groups she thought I might like. Then I had a proper look and immediately, I noticed a writer’s meetup.
And guess what? Their next meetup date was today (Sunday), which I told L about over dinner on Friday (our favourite Mexican place – the molé was as gooooood as ever!).
However, this morning I awoke to howling demon winds that could lift even the sternest of hemlines, and angular rain falling in frequent dumps, extreme enough to render umbrellas useless. I quivered, and pretty much convinced myself I wouldn’t go after all (too wet and cold to go across town on public transport!!).
But around 10.30am there’s a text message… Have fun at your meetup and let me know how it goes! L xo
Damn! Such a sweet message, it couldn’t be considered as pushy. More a gentle nudge.
You know, given the weather, I think I might just stay inside…
Thought about it for a bit and decided that was ridiculous. So, I started sorta getting ready… printing out pieces of my writing, making sure I had the address… and L calls.
Don’t use the weather as an excuse! You’re the one who said you want to meet more people, so what are you waiting for?
Damn! Okay already! I’m going!!
And despite my misgivings and general anxiety, the tram perfectly times itself, arriving just as I get to the stop (when do trams ever do that?). The connecting tram from the city is prompt, too (what is Connex doing being reliable all the sudden?). Strangely for me I arrive on time, despite my usual disorganisation.
And there I was, sitting in the back room of a cafe on artsy Gertrude Street, with a grab bag of eight people. A mix of novice writers, published authors and those in the midst of writing their first novel.
It was great to discuss common frustrations, insecurities and issues we all face as writers, how we edit our work, and the sometimes debilitating self-doubt that wracks the soul of many writers.
Then it was down to readings… the thing we all came for the most.
Such a diverse range of topics, both fiction and non-fiction… and the best thing was feeling really supported by positive and clearly talented writers, really willing to provide a constructive critique.
I’d brought a few pieces, but decided to read Signs of love… something not too personal, though it skims over a number of sensitive topics.
What a different experience it is, reading your work out to a group of people you’re in the same room with! I’d always thought of that piece of writing as very lightweight, but was amazed to find myself feeling so emotional while reading, probably speaking a little faster than I normally do when reading aloud.
Happily, I received some fantastic feedback – they liked my writing! There were suggestions of turning it into a short story, or something bigger if I felt like it. That perhaps I could slow the pace of some sections and flesh out topics I kinda glossed over.
While the weather raged outside, we ate lunch, drank tea, wine and revelled in discussing words, words, words... everyone was really lovely, so I’ll definitely go again when the next one is on.
I came away from the group feeling more like an actual writer than I ever have. Felt as though I’d purged something in that cafe, strangely my belly felt empty and… pleasantly warm. Weird but good!
So once again I have to thank my dearest L, who takes her time to think of all her friends (not just me) and creatively does what she can to be supportive.
Warm hugs for L, everyone!
Fantastic! I am so thrilled to hear that you took the brave steps you needed to and didn’t use weather or anything else as an excuse to delay what turned out to be a very positive experience from happening in your life!! L does indeed sound like a wonderful friend – firm and soft in all the right ways an ideal friend can be.
I haven’t had the same outcome with the meet ups that I’ve tried to take part in – showing up and being the only one to do so is kind of a let down 😦 so it’s great to hear a success story!! Once it turned out that the restaurant had suddenly closed, unbeknownst to us! Guess it simply wasn’t meant to be, which yours certainly was.
I agree with Jay – OF COURSE they liked your writing!!! but it is wonderful to actually see your audience respond, and to be with your peers, get feedback and suggestions to take it to that next level. Looking forward to hearing how this keeps you evolving as a writer and social being out in the world 😉 xoxo K
I remember that was one of the first comments I made on this blog– about your wonderful writing. So this is no surprise to me either. I’m glad you’ve taken that forward step. Associating with people of like minds is always invigorating. Go after what you want– you have the power to get it.
I just wanted to let you know that Zoe the Rabbit and I awarded you the Honest Scrap Award today for your honest and beautiful writing!
Check it out: http://ordinaryenchantment.blogspot.com/2009/04/thank-you-thank-you-very-much.html
Michelle Tackabery said:
Way to go! I’ll bet some great things will arise from this . . .
@Karin – I almost very nearly didn’t go! If L hadn’t of called me, I might’ve just stuffed around til it was too late to get there on time and then… not gone. L is a wonderful friend!
I guess those meetups could be very much anything goes, including no one showing up and restaurants being closed. This was my first ever, and yeah, luckily things worked out. There was a funny older guy there, rather pompous and I think a little offended he wasn’t given more ‘respect’ or something, given he’d had a book published. He was a little strange, but pretty much everyone else was lovely.
@tricia – It was a little scary, and then even moreso when it was my turn to read (talk about nervous!). But yeah, it was more than worth it in the end.
@Marcy & Zoe – Why, thank you very much! I’ve never been given an award from a rabbit before, and I think that’s very special!!
@Michelle Tackabery – Thank you! We’ll see! I plan to do some more writing and yeah, take it from there. It was nice to talk to other writer-types in the flesh. 🙂
This is a great story. And I think it’s wonderful that those people liked your writing. But I also know that only you can make your own self-esteem and that you can hear something a million times and not believe it. To me, the best part of this is that you DID go and you DID leave the house and you were brave. These are things you know for yourself and they will always be true. Those things will make you confident and strong. Having others tell you how awesome you are is just an added bonus. 🙂
I agree with Dr. Jay–of course they liked your writing! You ARE a good writer! (silly!).
I have often thought of how serendipitious our lives really are–if we are open to what the universe holds for us and allow us to go in the direction of the wind, I think we are rarely steered in the wrong direction. This seems to be the case in your amazing day! Your friend, ‘L’ steered you in the right direction, didn’t she? I’m so glad that you allowed yourself to go in the direction you were supposed to rather than fighting it (as we all try to do from time to time).
I’m so glad you got a lot out of it, Svasti–this was a great feel good story!
Uh-oh, I think my last comment didn’t make it through, so I’ll try this one again. Svasti, it seems to me that the universe had a direction you were supposed to go in this day. I always do better when I allow myself to drift in whatever direction I am suppose to and when I interfere as little as possible in that direction. I’ve always believed that we know in our heart what we are supposed to do–and I can honestly say that every major mistake I have ever made in my life was done when I did not follow my heart.
L helped you follow your heart–that’s all. And I also agree with Dr. Jay (silly)–of COURSE they liked your writing! You *are* a great writer, after all!
I think there’s a tendency for many aspiring writers to have that inner dialogue…”Do I share? Do I not share? What if…?” I’m so glad you had the courage to share and put it out there. You’ve given me some inspiration to head into the weekend and work on some material. The tram came just in time…
@RB – Its never really been about having other people tell me I’m awesome. I mean, its nice, but I tend not to believe them anyway! Yes, self-esteem is something we have to work on for ourselves. That whole day seemed to conspire to get me out of the house and make it work. Having a friend who seems to know just when to call and help me, well, that’s something else.
@Melinda – Seems like both your comments made it through – how strange you couldn’t see the first one straight away! I think I had the feeling that if I’d stayed at home, I would’ve been missing out. Even so, I nearly did. And yes, L was a very bright and wonderful help that day (she’s always helpful). I agree, I do better when I don’t fight things that just seem to unfold… the trick would be recognising those things. Or if you can’t, just getting out of the way!
@Josh – I’m glad Josh. I think most of us could all do with an extra dollop of self-confidence. The tram did indeed, come just in time (so often I’m left waiting and waiting and waiting for them!!)
Loved this. I’d be terrified to go to a writers meet-up and read anything I’d written, so needless to say I’m really impressed that you did…..and also am certainly not surprised that they liked your writing. Your description of how you felt afterward made me have second thoughts about ever doing something like this myself!
@Lydia – Well you know, I was pretty terrified when it was time to read my piece. I really enjoyed talking to the others there, and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to read. So its up to you. Perhaps you should see if you can find a meetup and just go along? See what happens, with no need to do a reading if you don’t wish to? Could be very enjoyable, and I highly recommend it.
I am SO happy you found me through BlogCatalog and added me as a friend. Your blog is lovely and thoughtful and exactly what I need to read. Thanks also for referring me to Michelle’s blog. Also exactly what I needed to read. You both have great courage. I am hoping it rubs off on me. 🙂
@omyword! – I’m glad I found you, too. I’m enjoying reading through your blog, so its good things all round. 🙂