No, that is not a typo, and I don't have an Elmer Fudd speech impediment. FOW is the unofficial name of my monthly L.A. based kid-lit writers critique group. Judy Enderle and Stephanie Jacob Gordon started the group a few years back, when I was still "green" and silly and hopeful (and a really BAD writer, but that's a story for another day!). Okay, so I'm still silly and hopeful. But with the help of this extremely generous and talented group of women, I am hoping my "greeness" has become a little less neon and more of, say, a light mint or celery color.
Over the years we've lost a few members for geographic reasons. But when one leaves, Tina Nichols Coury (who so generously provides housing, snacks, coffee, tea, puppies, candy, and sometimes special gifts, for our meetings) always seems to round up another insanely creative and special writer to fill the spot. Oh, and did I mention Tina is the queen of marketing (both BEFORE and after selling a book!), an amazing golfer, a prolific painter, a world traveler AND knows the business of writing inside and out? Seriously, when does the girl sleep?
I'm humbled to work with these women, and often feel out of place. Remember that song, "Which one of these things is not like the other...?" Not because we don't connect on a personal level (we do!) or a political level (we definitely do!) or have things in common (oh, boy, do we ever!). But, as I sat yesterday critiquing the masterpiece works (NO JOKE) of Barbara Bietz, Denise Gruska, June Sobel, Barbara Jean Hicks, and Tina Nichols Coury, I realized that I have SO much still to learn about the craft of writing!
I mean, my goodness, these people know a lot about A LOT. I used to wonder why Judy and Stephanie chose me to join this group in the first place, having been so new to writing and all. But, then I stopped and thought, WHO CARES? I have to believe that some serendipitous forces tossed us together for a reason, and I'm certainly enjoying the ride! So, why ask why?
Just yesterday I had an incredible chat with Barbara Bietz, who somehow miraculously balances working, writing, parenting, and still manages to look fashion-model put together, keep up on politics and Hollywood gossip, and read seemingly every book that hits the shelves. Superwoman personified, you know what I mean? Anyway, just before we hung up the phone she said, "There are no accidents, Eve." I didn't used to believe that. But now I think I really do!
For some reason, the planets aligned perfectly, I found this unique group of writers, or maybe they somehow found me, and every time we get together it's complete magic. Our manuscripts are transformed, our feelings and fears are validated, our views on the world listened to, and spirits are brightened. I always drive home (2.5 hours for me each way) feeling like I just finished an amazing workout, had a massage, a home-cooked meal, and a breakthrough therapy session all at the same time!
Seriously LOVE these girls. Long live the Fellowship of the Wing! When attempting a group picture, we were unable to figure out the camera timer thingy, so there we are, one pic sans Eve, one pic sans Tina. We're better writers than we are photographers, trust me!