My childhood friend, Gloria, came for a visit this week and we took a drive to Sedona. This is her lighting a candle at the Catholic church which is carved into the dramatic red rock which makes Sedona such a special place to visit. Gloria is a writer, too, and she lives in Connecticut now. We grew up together in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. As little girls, we rode our bicycles up and down the street and made up stories. We stretched our legs and our imaginations together. She was there when I won first place in the tall tale contest in the seventh grade. My prize was two sticks of juicy fruit gum. I wrote about how the Grand Canyon was created by a girl giant. I guess I was tired of flat Illinois. Gloria was also there when I wrote my column for the junior high newspaper. It was an advice column titled "Dear Daisy." I have no idea why Daisy. I think the teacher thought of the name. My first experience with the odd ideas editor have. Why not Dear Susy? I have to laugh at the thought of me giving advice at the age of 12. Did I give opinions on eye shadow colors (teal green or baby blue), whether to wear hot pants or a mini skirt? Who was better The Monkees or the Beatles? Thankfully, that newsletter is long out of print. When I was in my mid-20s, and ruminating what I wanted to do with my life, Gloria said. "Why don't you go to college and study journalism? You always liked to write. And you are good at it." Her belief in me was priceless, and shone a light in me as bright and sweet, and spiritual, as the candles Gloria lit in Sedona.
Here's Gloria at Bell Rock. It's a vortex that I was told can be a very happy place to hike due to the positive energies. I was happy even before we hit the trail to have my good friend walking beside me.
It's important as writers that we have people in our lives who believe in us even when we question our own talents. Your supporter may be an old friend, new friend, family, another writer. It takes a village to make a writer, and even the most famous scribes surely had a friend saying, "you can do it. You've got what it takes. Don't let anything stop you." Gloria has some ideas for writing a novel, and so do I. We shared our ideas. "Finish that novel," Gloria said. I told her the same. Her encouraging words remain with me long after she has gotten back on the airplane and returned to New England. I hope all writers have someone who believes in them, who will hold up a higher vision of what is possible in his or her life. If not, let me say now to you: Write the Novel, the Memoir, the Essay, the Poem.
You can do it!