First, I would like to make one thing perfectly clear. I did not bring the cold weather of the last few days to Florida with me. If I thought for one moment that I had, I would indeed stand up and say so, because I do believe in taking personal responsibility for myself, and my actions.
Yes, these words on this Wednesday are coming to you from the great state of Florida. I am currently in Cocoa Beach. I’ve been in Florida since Saturday and had been staying with one of my writing friends for a few days. We’re having a visit and a writing retreat all rolled into one. We’ve moved to a hotel so that we could take in the ocean. Nothing invigorates me like being near water!
As I’ve said many times, there is nothing that quite compares to being with fellow authors, and so I seize any chance to surround myself with like-obsessed individuals. People who will not turn a hair if you say, “huh, who knew my character was going to say that?” When you’re an author spending time with fellow authors, you don’t have to explain yourself. When you’re chatting –about writing, of course—and then suddenly that bit of inspiration hits, and you turn to your keyboard and begin, really quite frantically, to pound those keys, leaving that conversation in mid sentence…well, that’s ok. Nobody minds, or holds it against you.
I need these breaks more than I have words to express. I need to feel surrounded by and immersed in the compassion of my fellow wordsmiths. Writing is a damned lonely profession, for all that it is the great passion of my life. I really don’t have many friends, because I really am a shy introvert at heart. Except for two long time girlfriends that I touch base with from time to time, my writing friends are it for me.
As the youngest child of three, I became the lonely, withdrawn one—my sister and brother are six and ten years older than I am, respectively. After my father’s passing when I was just 8, I felt that sense of being alone even more keenly.
No matter how hard we try to eradicate our formative years from our psyches, I do believe we carry a tiny bit of the child we were inside of us for the rest of our lives. Sometimes—and often without our conscious awareness or consent—that inner child emerges.
In addition to the shy child I was, for some reason, I never really had many girlfriends during my growing up years. Being shy is not conducive to making friends. In addition, I seemed to have the worst luck with picking girlfriends, most of the time.
I would inevitably choose as my friends girls who, for reasons I could never fathom, seemed to need to play games—power games, I guess—and the next thing I would know, I’d be cut out of the “herd” and once more be on the outside, looking in.
Once more reduced to that lonely and withdrawn child I once had been.
That trend followed me into adulthood, much to my annoyance.
Looking back over my life now, I believe my naiveté persisted and yes, persists, in making me believe that everyone was and is as open and transparent as I [y’all know me by now, warts and all]. I could never really see those warning signs, those tells, and thus I was and continue to be unprepared for the inevitable “surprise” when someone I counted a friend does something very un-friend like.
For the most part however, life really is terrific now. I may still get the occasional unpleasant surprise, but I am learning the lesson I needed to learn all of my life, and that was to not let the barbs, or the machinations of others affect me, personally. I have in recent times been rewarded with true friends. I know who they are! And I can count on them to remind me, when I need reminding, to “be the duck”.
And I’m especially lucky that my true friends are also authors, and Christians, and finally, and at long, long last, the beloved sisters my heart has hungered for.
I am, as I have said many times, blessed and highly favored.