May 24, 2012
A few years ago I had a great writer's group. One Friday night we met in a funky little coffee shop near my home because it's just so hard for me to leave my baby behind. At the time, he was 1 and 1/2 and two to three hours without Mommy was his max. The coffee shop was five minutes from my house in the old downtown square. My group has like fifty members but usually only 15 to 20 people show. And now that I've scheduled it closer to home, even less people come because they prefer the meetings in the heart of Dallas. I figured the people that truly wanted to come would show, right?
Well, I only had four people show up that particular Friday night but it was a great night because it was much more intimate. Everyone shared a bit of their work. We had a new guy show up. Bruce is a friend of one of my regular members. He's 79 years old. He showed up and read a love letter he wrote to his wife. His wife died the previous October. He became emotional toward the end so his friend finished reading it. I was crying my eyes out as I listened to this beautiful letter about a doll he found in a doll shop. The doll was over 100 years old and he bought it because it reminded him of his wife and her beautiful face. This beautiful letter reminded me of something. We are all writers. Published or unpublished. When we put our thoughts and feelings down on paper, we can remember it for a lifetime and it will be there when we are gone for others to enjoy.
I hugged this special writer after the meeting and asked him to come again. He smelled like a pipe and I made a mental note to choose a location where he can smoke his pipe next time. I love the smell of apple woodsmoke. He bought one of my books and I tried to tell him that he won't enjoy it because it's a romance. He protested and insisted that he reads romance. Bruce called me weeks later to tell me how much he enjoyed my book, particularly the Indian legend within. I have to admit I was worried he'd cringe at the sex scenes, but I reminded myself that even though he's 79 years old, he's still a man. A man that has lived a big life and loved big. I can't tell you how much that phone call meant to me. I've asked dozens and dozens of readers to please email me when they read my book and let me know if they liked it. I stopped asking that because back then, I rarely received feedback from my readers. And now I wonder if Bruce knows how much his letter to his wife meant to me as we all sat in a cozy coffee shop. It started pouring down rain and my heart began to ache for Bruce and his loss. He said this after he read. "I was in love with my wife." He shook a little when he said it and I could picture his face when he was younger. I could picture his beautiful wife and their life together. And how fast the years must have flown by.
I was happy to be only five minutes from home so I could rush home and see my family. As I pulled into the drive in the pouring rain, my headlights shined into the carport. My husband was sitting there with our two little ones on his lap, waiting for me, watching the rain. I slammed the car door and ran to keep from getting drenched. My husband asked me what I was cooking and I couldn't help but smile. It was good to be home.