When I entered the conference room, I hoped no one could tell my knees were shaking, as I approached the twenty-five writers seated at four long rectangular tables laden with laptops, yellow lined tablets, and pens.
It had taken two weeks to unpack and get settled into our new house. I didn’t feel settled, but my husband did and he was happy with his new job.
Every morning I choked back the tears, as I struggled to become accustomed to the view from my new kitchen window in the Nevada desert. I saw unfamiliar mountains looming in the distance and cacti and drought resistant evergreen and flowering shrubs growing in the front yard. I missed the ocean and lush greenery of our former home on the central coast of California. Also, I missed my life there and my friends. Relocation wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
“You’re very lucky to be a freelance writer and able to write from anywhere on the planet,” my husband said when he left for work that morning.
I knew my husband was right. Indeed, I, too, had to settle in. After all, I was a writer and most writers lead reclusive lifestyles, but we do need an occasional break to rejuvenate our senses. For me, that entails having lunch with a writer friend or hobnobbing with fellow writers. I’d left those fellow writers behind and even though I was grateful for being able to stay in touch with them by phone, e-mail, and social media, it wasn’t enough. I needed up close and personal to fill the void in my life.
An Internet search located two writer groups in our new community. I chose the group closest to my home that met every Tuesday afternoon at the community center.
The following Tuesday I joined the group. When I entered the conference room, I hoped no one could tell my knees were shaking, as I approached the twenty-five writers seated at four long rectangular tables laden with laptops, yellow lined tablets, and pens. “I’m a writer that’s new to the area and would like to join your group.”
I relaxed as a smiling face welcomed me, “Sister friend, my name is Mimi. You’ve come to the right place. Have a seat.”
A member of the group pulled out a chair for me, “Hi, I’m Richard. Please join us. We need some new blood in this group.”
Once introductions, genres, and writing information were shared, a fellow writer read the first three pages of his new novel from the lectern located in front of the room.
My stomach churned…I didn’t know these people…I was new. Surely, I couldn’t be truthful. His story needed work… a lot of work. As I pondered what to say, my thoughts were interrupted.
“It’s boring,” Mimi said. “Your story needs dialogue.”
I was stunned by Mimi’s directness, then amazed at the camaraderie between the two writers. No offense was taken. He admitted he needed help in writing dialogue and Mimi offered to help him.
After the meeting, Mimi and I lingered over coffee and chocolate chip cookies.
Mimi clinked my mug, “Sister friend, we’re meant to be friends.”
In between sipping coffee, nibbling cookies, talking, laughing, and swapping stories about our lives, we bonded. We became best friends that very afternoon.
As we left the community center, we discovered we were not only going in the same direction, we lived four blocks away from one another.
We discovered we had so much in common. In college, Mimi majored in psychology and minored in journalism. I, too, took courses in journalism. Our love for writing began when we were both eight years old. We had empty nests – her four children and my two children were launched into adulthood.
Mimi writes fiction – both short stories and medical thriller novels. I write nonfiction stories and essays. We’re published authors. We love words. We encourage and support each other’s writing. The letters on our keyboards are worn, because we write for long hours each day, even toiling during the wee hours when our creative juices are overflowing. We each submit our work and anxiously await a reply. We celebrate with a glass of wine whether it’s an acceptance or a rejection.
Sometimes Mimi and I finish each other’s sentences. We look alike. People who don’t know us think we’re sisters. We know each other’s secrets. All but one… Mimi would never disclose her age. I never pried, but I’d come to the conclusion we were the same age.
Recently, Mimi asked me to tag along with her to her favorite eye wear shop to have the frames for her reading glasses repaired and to buy a new pair of sunglasses. After the eye specialist typed Mimi’s name into the computer, she needed to verify the year of her birth. Mimi hesitated for a moment, and then whispered her birth date.
“You’re the same age as me,” I giggled.
“I knew you were sisters,” the specialist remarked, “but I didn’t know you were twins.”
“No, just sister friends,” we said in unison.
Thanks to Mimi, I see a spectacular view of the mountains from my kitchen window – I am happy dwelling in the desert.
Finally, I, too, have settled in.