Monday, September 8, 2014
Happy Anniversary, NCW!
I remember the day we met. It was a sultry Saturday in August. You had a booth at New West Fest, where you drew me in with a story-in-progress being written, line by line, by passers-by. After an inordinate amount of thought (strangers would read what I wrote!) I added my sentence and continued on with my patient family, the hot asphalt slightly gooey under our sandals.
I was intrigued by the idea of a writer’s organization in my hometown, but it wasn’t until January that our paths crossed again. Kerrie Flanagan, your esteemed director, held an open house. I went alone, feeling nervous. You see, although I’d been writing for years, I’d never really owned it. It was something I told only family and good friends. Not that I considered it to be an embarrassing secret, like an Elmer’s glue addiction or an inhumane number of housecats (neither of which I have, by the way…as far as you know). It was just that I felt a lot of pressure to succeed. Publish or perish is what they say in academia, and that about covered it for me, too. (With my ‘perish’ being, of course, death by chocolate.)
Anyway, I went to the open house and told Kerrie that you were my New Year’s resolution. She looked a bit nonplussed—I am the Queen of Awkward Encounters when I’m nervous—but welcomed me nonetheless. I talked to a few friendly members and then skedaddled before I turned into a pumpkin. I knew I’d be back, though, because you were the real deal. I needed you. The romantic notion of the solitary writer in the dusty garret (or in my case, the chilly basement) wasn’t cutting it anymore.
I don’t have to remind you that I’m not the most visible, active, or prolific person on your membership roster. In fact, I’m sure I have let you down many times with my general insouciance and vexing inability to remember which Tuesdays are the dang member coffees. But we work pretty well together, and we’ve had some good times. Holiday parties, Wine and Words, your fabulous conferences…
Thank you, NCW, for all you do. I hope it won’t embarrass you to know that you’re the reason I’m no longer afraid to tell people I’m a writer. I’m sticking around for the long haul because (cue the swelling music) you complete me.