Grandma Knows Best

One of the rules of life I learned from my grandmother was to be a good friend.  I don’t always achieve that, but I try.  She told me to be genuine, generous, and to say thank you (so grateful to round out the g words).  For her, it came so naturally, but I work at it.  I attended a community organizer training in New Orleans 18 years ago, it’s the basis of the work I’ve done ever since, and they repeated all the same information my grandmother taught me.  I’m good at it at my job, but as a writer, I have found it less natural.  The writers I’ve met are so giving with their skills, time, and connections that I want to repay them.  My writing group spends hours combing through one person’s piece each month, I know how much that’s meant to me when it’s my turn, so I try to provide as much feedback as I can when it’s not my month.  I’ve been to three workshops so far, and everyone has gone out of their way to be critical and useful.  I want to hold my own with people who have MFA’s, are younger, have more experience, are better with grammar than I am, and I do what I can to share.  I love reading other peoples work and having deep conversations with them about where they want to go with their piece.  Since returning from my three weeks away at writing workshops, I’ve felt homesick for the people I’ve met and the time I was in writerland.  It reminds me of the value of people even when an activity is as isolated as writing.

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