Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Several years ago I went to a writers' workshop--an adult writers' camp, if you will--for a week. I submitted a manuscript, one of the first iterations of the first chapter of my novel, and was assigned a teacher.

I became weightless for weeks, perhaps months. Not only was the writers' workshop held at Simmons College, my alma mater, where I was clearly comfortable, but also I would have an opportunity learn from Elinor Lipman, a sister Simmons alumna, who was my favorite author. Before I even packed my bag, I was sure I would have another reason to be grateful for Simmons College, something else to add to my list of How Simmons Changed My Life.

Indeed, "writers' camp" turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Every evening we read fellow classmates' manuscripts and the next morning critiqued them. We participated in writing exercises and spent our afternoons rapt while editors and publishers spoke to us. And if this entry were about the New England Writers' Workshop, I could tell you how nervous I was when my classmates critiqued my work, how I felt when I left, but it is not.

Rather, it's about time and friendship.

While at camp, I became friends with another writer, close to my age. I must say that I have never had much trouble making friends, but Kim and I really clicked. Although I am older than Kim, both of us were younger than others in our class, so we pal-ed around all week and exchanged emails when we left and kept in touch. After camp we shared drafts of pieces we wrote and even got together in DC for lunch, where she lives, while I was visiting Deanna in Baltimore.

Then, as often happens, we lost touch.

Until today.

I do not share a hometown with Kim or a vomiting episode at a basketball game in high school; I share with her a passion. We became friends because we love writing, and because we were both brave enough to put our words on paper and let strangers read them. And even though it has been some time since we communicated, it made me smile to see her name in my email in-box today.

I'm not even mad that she mentioned it's actually been 13 years since our camp experience.

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