Dear Friends, Readers, and Writers,
When I was a kid, I didn't realize money was tight. My mother was a single mom before it was in vogue, and I don't know how she did it on a nurse's salary, but we always took vacations. We'd pile into the car late at night--my grandmother who lived with us, my little brother, Mom, and me--and take off. Usually, we went to Daytona Beach, where lodging was cheap if you didn't mind being a few blocks from the ocean. But one especially hot summer, we headed to the Smoky Mountains.
As an adult I know the bluish tinted smoke is the product of harmless VOC (volatile organic compounds, released by the vegetation). But I prefer my grandmother's explanation, one held by the Native American Cherokee. They called it Shaconge, or land of blue smoke and thought it was magical.
I became enchanted with the notion and dreamed of being a fearless Cherokee princess. I turned my little brother into the unfortunate cowboy who tried to conquer my tribe. I reveled in being part of an imaginary community bound by blood and purpose.
If you're wondering where this whole Where I Went on Vacation story is going, I'm almost there.
Recently, my dear friend and fellow Wild Women Who Write colleague, Kim Conrey, identified me in a post as part of her "tribe." Memories of my imaginary tribe came flooding back and led me to what should have been an obvious revelation.
I spent so many happy hours with my pretend tribal members because I wanted to be associated with real ones. And, like most people, I found that connection. Friends from childhood, school, work--I bonded with all sorts of wonderful people and am still close to many of them.
It wasn't until I started writing that I realized how important tribal affiliations were.
In her recent blog post, Kim describes eagerly awaiting the arrival of copies of her first novel, Stealing Ares. She credits getting by with a little help from her friends as a big part of her success. And I agree.
Without the support and encouragement of family, friends, and mentors, I would never have had the courage to call myself a writer.
For me, there's more. It's a long line of connections going back to the land of blue smoke and dreams of belonging to a group of ferocious, like-minded people who care deeply for each other. It's the reality of those associations continuing in the future for as far as I can envision.
For me, it's going tribal.
Join my tribe.
I'll be at the Sharpsburg Book Fair, Saturday August 27 from 10-5
Acworth Cultural Arts Festival Saturday October 22 from 10-5.
If you're a writer looking for a tribal affiliation, check out Atlanta Writers Club Conference, Nov. 4-5.
Sisters in Crime Atlanta is looking for both writers and readers.
Check out the Wild Women podcast Wild Women Who Write Take Flight. Available on Anchor, Spotify, and Google.5