On Friday night I donned black and mingled with the literati at the lovely Leitich Smith home. Greg and Cynthia hosted a launch party for Cyn’s new novel Tantalize and it was a swanky delight, complete with vino, Italian cream cake and a glossy, hardcover copy of the book!
Most gratifying, though, was being in the company of other writers and talkin’ shop in such an easy, intimate way. There was no particular focus but so much good conversation about all things books and blogs, libraries and letters, editors and endings.
I felt like I was brushing elbows with the muse, just being there amongst Mark Mitchell, April Lurie, Brian Anderson, Brian Yansky, Frances Hill, Don Tate, Jeannette Larson, Nancy Jean Okunami and many others. When I left, I knew more than I had when I arrived – about myself, about my work-in-progress and about these amazing and generous talents. I was a good deal fuller on cream cake, too.
The next afternoon, I took off on an overnight retreat with my Goodness gals. This is the Mama-Artist group I wrote about when I launched this blog and let’s face it, I can’t hardly breathe without ‘em anymore.
We settled into a lovely, spacious home loaned to us by a Goodness grandmamma, and ho boy did we settle. We’d brought food enough for a week, and wine and yoga mats and a massage table and journals and markers and music and more. The eggplant was so garlicky, the chocolate so dark, The Hustle so easy to remember after all these years.
(Yes, we danced The Hustle and lemme tell you, we were good.)
In the morning, waking up from deep sleeps with no little folks asking to be fed (except two remarkably satisfied nursing babes), we turned to talk.
We talked and listened for seven hours straight – I kid you not – in our loosey-goosey round-robin way. This equates to nearly an hour devoted to each one of us. An hour – to share our latest projects, tease out worries, weigh suggestions – during which the mutual respect and admiration were thick as goat’s cheese.
Oh, the sense of well-being and privilege and contentment – I cannot do it justice here.
What I can say is that what I got this weekend is what I wish for everyone – a community of people who love me and love my work, and the time and space with which to really, truly appreciate one another.
I wish this for writers who work off-stage, alone with our own thoughts, a few too many hours every day.
I wish this for mothers who work under the blinding lights of judgment and exhaustion and threatened immortality.
I wish this for women and for men, for students and for teachers, for workers and for leaders.
I wish this for my own girls, now and when they grow up to be whoever they’re meant to be.
Which reminds me. When I arrived home from my kinship binge, there were two dirty daughters and their dad – just back from a camping trip to Enchanted Rock where they’d backpacked their gear in, spelunked in the limestone caves and crevasses, and sung under the stars.
They hadn’t missed me, they said, but were glad to see me. They wanted to know what I’d done. Ditto.
More community. How lucky can one gal get?