Who, you ask?
Melinda Walker, dear heart, you have won the Patti Hill library of books! Now all we need is your address. Would you please contact us by clicking the contact tab above, and let us know what it is? You're in for some happy reading hours, and we can't wait to send you your gift.
"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day." ~ Ernest Hemingway
Ahem. We should note that Hemingway took his own life. In all due respect to the great icon of Western literature, um, well, we can do better. At least in one way. At least we can palliate our loneliness and feel just fine about it.
I remember too well how it felt. I had some notable encouragers, but they were up against formidable foes, both inside and outside my skin.
You've heard the inner voices: "Look at your work: it's amateur stuff. Why waste your time on it when you could do something useful? Something profitable? Something practical? Something normal? Anything, anything else would be better..."
Then there were the outer voices, notable not so much for what they said but for the way they said it. I remember telling people I wanted to be a writer, and they'd get this wonky look on their faces and say, "oh, really?"
I must be fair. Perhaps those folks were giving me encouraging looks, and it was those voices, those endless voices in my head that turned the whole thing ugly.
But it was ugly. I faced eternity, or the lack of it, each day. And nothing got written.
Then I met a friend, Sharon Huffman, who talked about literature and thought as though they were the most important things to talk about. One day I ventured six timid little words: "I want to be a writer." And she took me seriously! She told me I had to get myself to The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.
My husband, who also took me seriously, gave me money we couldn't afford to waste, and pushed me out the door.
When I got there, I met hundreds and hundreds of people of my own species. I didn't know I had a species, but there we all were, pecking for sustenance among the words, ideas and dreams growing low to the ground beside the blossoming cherry tree.
I tried to start a short story and found a mentor, Gayle Roper, who said I'd goofed and started a novel, instead.
I found a friend, our own Sharon Souza, who had made a similar mistake, so she and I began pacing each other, all the way to finished, published manuscripts. Two of 'em apiece, so far.
I found other friends, among them, Debbie Fuller Thomas, who shared the journey.
And most recently, my agent, Janet K. Grant and her partner, Wendy Lawton, introduced me to Bonnie Grove, Patti Hill, and Latayne Scott, so that the circle of friendships could expand to include each other.
And to include you.
And what is the good of such friendships? Let me haul out my Bible, and turn to Hebrews 10:24 (WEB): "Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works..."
That's what we're here for, all of us friends. To provoke each other to love for our readers, for our craft, for the God we write for. To provoke each other to good... well, ultimately, to good books.
Now, some footnotes:
- Garrison Keillor has a great page about famous literary friendships.
- Perhaps you are a writer looking to find more of your own species. Please consider attending The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference this coming April 3-7. There is still time. All six of us Novel Matters ladies will be there, and we would love to meet you. (Let us know if you're coming so we can share a meal together.) Not only that, but the place will be crawling with authors and agents and editors, and you need to acclimate yourself to their presence if you ever want to take your writing seriously. If money is an issue, contact us by clicking the tab above. We may have an idea that will help.