Sometimes that’s all it takes.
I have some really great friends. Two in particular come to mind, both writers, both having written fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Good people. They’ve experienced challenges in their lives, like the rest of us, but both contain a generosity of spirit that allows them to nurture someone else who’s hurting even in the midst of their own travails. They’re an inspiration to all who meet them, and if I manage to return even a bit of the kindness they’ve given me, I will do it without question or reservation.
At any rate, I’ve written here about the effect the past couple of years has had on my ability to write. A lot of people rallied round and rah-rah’d, assuring me that I’d come out of the malaise, that my words were waiting and I just needed to knuckle down and try (as though I hadn’t), but these two particular friends built a nest of eider around me; not to protect me from life’s hard knocks (nothing does that), but to give me space to hurt and mourn, because that’s what I was doing – mourning not only the loved ones lost, but the cherished occupation I could no longer access. These friends were gentle and encouraging, and when the time was right (notice of open submissions to Tupelo Quarterly) they encouraged (not nagged) and put on just the right amount of pressure.
Yes, I must have been ready for it, otherwise no amount of encouragement would have made me submit somewhere I didn’t want to, or didn’t feel I ought. And though this submission comes with a bit of uncertainty, well, hell, don’t they all? We never know when we’re going to be published. (At least most of us don’t.) So, yeah, the girl has picked up the gauntlet again…with a sense of relief I can’t quite express.
But as for these friends — John and Shifra — you’re lifesavers and I love you.