Writers always held a certain mystery and glamour in my mind. I pictured them at computers, with fabulous views out their window, perhaps a fireplace at full tilt, an espresso close at hand...or wine if evening. They dreamed up fabulous scenes, crisp dialogue (I wished I'd said that), interesting characters, always had the thrill of surprising me. I elevated their stardom and yearned to meet these idols of my imagination. I also thought they'd be unapproachable to a common person like me, a mere reader.
Then in 1999 I began to study writing. I wanted to be a part of the action, make others want to read my stories. I quickly realized I had a lot to learn. And the best place to learn was at the feet of masters. I trembled at the thought. I didn't mind their criticism but actually meeting them was daunting.
Over the years I've met, chatted with, studied with many great writers. It shocked me just how much they were real people, raising teenagers, trying to buy a home, having a spat with their mate. All the same every day problems. The star studded cast of writers I've encountered include Alan Furst, Dorothy Allison, Abigail Thomas, Ann Hood, Clive Cussler, Francine Prose, Steve Almond, Judith Barrington, Thisbe Nissin, Anne LaMott, Valerie Miner, Kelly Corrigan, and many others.
I need to single out two very special women who have mentored me from green to where I am now. Dorothy Allison and Abigail Thomas. Both have extraordinary skill, are expert teachers of the craft and gifted as writers. If you haven't read any of their works, check it out. It is not often that you meet accomplished artists who still remember their early struggle well enough that they can aid others with kindness and a generous spirit. The picture that you see attached is actually of Dorothy Allison, a fellow writing friend in the middle and me on the right. It is always good to see Dorothy and have her (still) share some pearl of wisdom.