I went back to my critique group last night. I haven’t been in months as a result of my old job being so overwhelming. I’ve missed those folks – they are an amazing group. Between (there are 9, including me), they have close to 100 books published and more years of experience than I care to count. Louise has been in the world of publishing kids books for close to 30 years. She is the grande dame of our group, and one of the most thorough and honest critiquers I have ever been involved with. Kerry is on the cutting edge of children’s lit. She teaches at Brigham Young University, is working on her PhD and is so knowledgeable about trends, genres, and subgenres that she is like a walking encyclopedia. She also writes deliciously dark and twisted books. Ann is another veteran whose quirky sense of humor makes her a joy to be around. You can count on her to make us laugh at least a hundred times during the evening. John is a successful author for adults who also teaches at Brigham Young University. His ability to bring a scene to life and make you feel as if you’re walking beside the character is something I strive to emulate in my own writing. Lisa writes haunting, spare prose that are as elegant as she is. She is also our resident task master, keeping us on time and making sure we submit according to schedule. AnnDee is an award-winning author who has the ability to make you feel as if you’ve known her characters your entire life. Cheri is another BYU professor, a total crack-up, but also one of the finest critiquers I’ve ever worked with. She digs so deeply into the elements of plot and character, and she shows you clearly and concisely how a reader perceives what you’ve put on paper.
The last member is Carol – my good friend. I could go on for days about this lady. Her writing is amazing. She is a lovely woman whom I fully credit with helping me to be successful. She is caring and supportive, and I am proud to name her not just as a writing friend, but as a soul sister.
It was a delight to be back among these people and to connect in this powerful way with that part of my life that has been neglected for too long. We chatted nearly an hour past our end time, but I was energized and enthused as I drove home. I knew getting to sleep would be a challenge, so I ducked down to my office to try some quiet meditation before attempting sleep. I focused on the wonderful energy I feel when I’m around these incredible people. I heard their words of guidance and support reverberating in my head, and I felt the buzzing vibration of something returning to life in my soul. Exhilarating!
All night my head swam with vivid images and dreams in intense colors. I woke up a full hour before my alarm went off – which never, EVER happens – and felt the drive to write. Now, even as I sit at work, that energy is still pulsating through my veins. I’m excited about writing in a way I haven’t felt in literally years. I didn’t think I had strayed so far from this connection, but apparently the plug had pulled out of the cosmic wall and the real energy had stopped flowing.
It tingles, it sings, it prickles and crackles, and I am in love with this experience.