A casual run-in, or the next exciting chapter?
One of those awkward days. I'm in public in our small town, which inevitably means running in to someone I know. I wish I'd done my hair. Time to put on the smile and come up with some small talk.
It's easy with this fellow mother-of-small-children who is the sister of a friend and the wife of a colleague. We joke about how this town has no use for six degrees of separation, we usually only need one or two to connect seemingly random individuals in this web of community, business and family relationships. Also an educator, she says she's not ready to go back to work as the end of summer approaches. Again, I can identify. This opens me up to share a little about my summer and my kids, about how hard it is to be with them all day long, as much as you love them. So far, it's been a safe, surface-level conversation. Nine times out of ten, this is when we'll allow ourselves to be hauled away by our antsy kids and say have a great day. But not today.
She offers the most courageous statement, one I've been grappling with all summer. "I'm a writer." Immediately envious and feeling like a nerdy wannabe, I say "Me too..." Our similarities topple from there like apples from an apple tree in a wind storm.
The best part is admitting the trepidation that accompanies the sending out of any writing for others to read, and finding that she feels the same way. The hardest part is answering the question, "What do you write?" Oh, I desperately need a name for this. I'm floundering. Self-discovery? That sounds so psycho-babble, but probably accurate. Essay? Narrative nonfiction? Memoir? I think you have to be famous, a politician, or some type of royalty to call it a memoir. For an ordinary mom like me, it's just a journal.
When I've nearly convinced myself that my journaling is hardly worthy of this conversation with a fiction writer and dismissed the entire pipe dream, a very interesting proposition comes up. A writer's group? More apples tumble as we share ideas about a possible group of people who want to be pushed to grow as writers. Excitement has ignited by the time I allow myself to be hauled away by my antsy kids. The smile is real and my hair doesn't matter.