Here’s what happened —
I was already feeling giddy when I got together last week with others for our weekly writers group meeting. Maybe I was still riding the high that comes from writing something new after worrying I would never be able to again. It had been so long since I’d tried to cohesively form words, sentences and paragraphs into a story. I overthought every time I sat in front of my computer. No stories coalesced for two full weeks. It was an awful feeling.
Eventually, just forcing myself to sit, focus and write one afternoon, I found myself twenty-five pages deep into a new story. What a relief! Even though that story’s still a work-in-progress, I ran what I’d written by both Lauren and David and got their blessings. More importantly, they laughed. Again, I felt that sense of relief. So, I printed out five pages of this new story to read at writers group.
When I arrived, I was — hopeful. And giddy. I was in the mood to laugh. I couldn’t wait to share.
Another person read first. I could tell she was just as excited as I was about reading what she’d been working on. As she read, something struck me as hilarious — absurdity at its finest. I laughed.
Is there anything worse than not getting laughs when you’re trying to be funny? Yes. Yes, there is. That’s getting laughs when you’re being serious.
My writer friend demanded to know what was so funny. She wasn’t laughing. I tried to explain. Explaining only made things worse. I’ve got to admit, she was grace under pressure. She held her cool. Didn’t stomp off or start crying or screaming or getting hostile. She was disappointed, though. I could see it in her eyes. I thought I was laughing with her. She thought I was laughing at her.
I apologized — for whatever that’s worth.
If she reads this — and chances are she won’t because why would she read my blog after I was so mean — but if she does, I want to say, I’m sorry. Again. I won’t say her name or divulge any extra details. I’m sure y’all understand.
I’d take back my laughter, my explanations — all of it — if I could. I wasn’t trying to hurt her, especially my good friend who was sharing a memory and her truth with a group she trusted. The real problem is that I didn’t read the situation as well as I should have. I was caught up in my own sense of giddiness. Not that that’s an excuse.
Also, every person who has the courage to write and read their story and their truth to a writers group should feel comfortable and safe without fear of harsh criticism, judgment or feeling like they were being made fun of. I’ve been on the receiving end of that — more times than I care to admit — but not with this group. That kind of stuff can do real damage. I know this firsthand. I hope that isn’t what she felt, but I worry she might have. She doesn’t deserve any of that. No one does.
So, again, to my friend: I’m so sorry. Also, thank you for sharing your story with me and all of us. I encourage you to keep writing and sharing. You have so much to offer. You’re kind and smart and I truly appreciate your friendship. You definitely have my respect. Please ignore me when I’m being an idiot or just give me a Gibbs’ slap to the back of the head when I need one. I will do better.
I inserted my foot firmly into my mouth.
Not for the first time. As much as I’d like to believe it was for the last time, my guess is that it won’t be. Some of us *raising my hand* have a knack for getting into trouble, of having situations go awry despite good intentions.
Also, toe jam isn’t nearly as delicious as you’d think it might be — even if you’ve weirdly acquired a taste for it because you’ve had no other choice but to.
I’d appreciate any words of wisdom y’all have!
and music —
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Sparkle on Wayward Friends,