Have you noticed time streaming, screaming past? Like water through your fingers? Like sand through the hourglass?
Yes, these are the days of our lives.
And once again, I have been reminded how sacred and fragile life is.
A late Sunday night when a child announces a friend is dead.
An email with someone telling me the cancer is back.
A call from a dear friend saying the chemo isn’t working.
You know (oh, you know) I could go on.
But this morning, for just a moment, I want to share what my writing life has done for me.
When I mailed that first novel off so many years ago, I had no idea how my world would open up. At the time I had three babies and was so very shy I couldn’t talk to people. (Really.) I’d worked on the novel called Me and Kelly for several years until I’d realized how it needed to end. When it was very nearly ready to be published, I was on bed rest with my 4th pregnancy and I got a phone call from a guy named Rick Walton. He’d heard about me from a writer named Louise Plummer. Did I want to talk about books and writing?
Yes! I did.
Every day, Rick called me. We spoke for a couple of hours. By the time I went to the critique group run at his home, Rick was my friend. And at that group I got to know several other people who changed my life. Made my life amazing. I wrote books with some of them. Ran the first really successful writing conference in the Provo, UT area with two of them. Became fast friends with nearly all of them.
The other day, after the telephone call from my dear friend, I realized just how far-reaching my writing life has been. I’ve met teachers in other states who’ve become my friends. Other writers from all over the country who have changed who I am. I’ve gone to school in a place hot as hell, watched my writing career completely stop for seven years, lost loved ones, a marriage, hope. I’ve made more and more and more friends, had my heart broken more times than I can count, agonized over family situations, known editors who I’ve known–without a doubt–wanted me to succeed. Who helped me make my books better and better. I’ve gotten letters from adults about my books. From children. Spoken to translators who have lost children. Learned to love people I thought I would never have anything in common with. I’ve run conferences, been to conferences, accepted awards, been passed over for awards, and all along what has mattered most are the people behind it all.
I am not who I was when I started that lonely process of writing a middle grade novel. I am better because of the people I know and love.
The best part of my life is my religion and my family. But a very close second is my writing world because it has afforded me so much–the friends I would have never met. Those people who have made my life richer. The people who have been my example. Shared experiences. Shared their love. Who have cared for me, no matter what.
How grateful I am for the people I know.
You all have made me better. I am touched to know you. So grateful I do.