Tuesday, January 17, 2012
A Blustery Day, A Quiet Meeting
Yesterday I left the office about 5:25 PM to attend the first meeting of the year of BNC Writers, planning to stop at the public library along the way. The reason for the library stop was only to see if my book Documenting America, which I donated to the library, had made it to the shelves and into the electronic card catalogue.
On the short walk from building to pick-up truck I fought the wind, now coming out of the east across the front of the building. It was from the south earlier in the day. A sailor would probably describe the wind as “fresh”, though this land-lubber doesn’t really know what that means. It seemed like more of a gale. Certainly as blustery as A.A. Milne’s blustery day. The shift to the east means the center of the storm is south of us, and moving past. Although, radar doesn’t show an actual storm. But a shift in the wind means change, and change is good, right?
Three miles later I was at the library, and it was closed. I forgot that the City and most governmental offices had the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday off. Most businesses in this part of the world don’t, so I lost track of the status of the library. Checking on my book being impossible, I drove the half mile on to church, arriving 45 minutes before our writers meeting should start. I unlocked the upstairs, outside door, posted the sign, went to the room and made a minor re-arrangement, and waited. This was to be our first meeting after the holiday break. Two of our regulars had e-mailed me to say they wouldn’t make it. We have fifteen on our mailing list, so that left twelve other possible attendees other than me. Of those twelve, only four had ever attended any meeting.
But I refused to be pessimistic, as difficult as that is for me. I pulled out scrap paper and wrote my next column for Buildipedia.com. It’s not due until Friday, so I’m way ahead of schedule on it. Then I made up a to-do list for at home after the meeting. Then I began writing this blog post on paper. 6:30 PM came around, with no one else there but me. It promised to be a quiet meeting. I decided to give it till 7:00 PM before leaving.
Five minutes later Linda walked in, afraid she would interrupt a meeting already begun. She often has work or family conflicts, and hadn’t been at a meeting in over two months. She brought nothing for the group to critique. Ten minutes later and no one else having showed up, I read my short story, “Too Old To Play”. As I read it I saw a number of typos, and one or two places where the words could be better. Linda found a couple of redundancies. Ten or so minutes and we were done.
We talked on for another half hour: about childhood experience with death (the subject of my short story), about writing in general, about our writers group and how we could help our fellow writers. We had a productive meeting, the two of us, if kind of quiet. I could hear lots of background noises. The sounds of a major basketball practice in the gym were evident, as was a vacuum running somewhere. The wind blew against the building side, and I recognized uplift noise of the roof.
So we parted. The next meeting is not until February 6, unless I can convince anyone to come on the fifth Monday for an extra meeting. And we retreat into our quiet little writer worlds, interrupted by day jobs and family responsibilities and church activities and…a thousand other things. The writing dream seems as strong and as elusive as the winds, buffeting all around yet impossible to catch. Constantly shifting. Some days blowing a gale, other days as still as the inhabitants of a cemetery.
I will continue to chase that wind, obeying God, and doing what I can to see the dream come true.