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Thank You, Writer Friends

So I had this dream that my right arm, just below the elbow, was severed. It was a clean cut — so clean, in fact, that there was no blood. Just a limp, unattached, arm. Someone attended me, a man whose face was, conveniently, out of view. In a rather soothing voice, he said I would have to be cryogenically frozen until they could figure out how to reattach my arm.

I suddenly woke up.

To my relief, my right arm was still connected.

I lay in bed pondering the disturbing nightmare… and then it struck me. Some writer friends were to blame.

About a year ago, Becky Miller invited me to visit a small group of Spec Fic writers who met in SoCal. Up to that point, the majority of my interaction with writers had been over the internet. I’d never been in a real life writers group. So combine that with an aversion to introversion and a reclusive bent, and I was kind of nervous. I had to meet actual people? Nevertheless, I joined Becky, Merrie Destefano, and Rachel Marks for coffee and discussion. We shared current projects, highlights and lowlights from our writing journeys, brainstormed. And laughed a lot. My fears were allayed — these were really fun, encouraging, talented people. We have met four or five times since then. And I can honestly say, this little writers group has pretty much revitalized my writing. From a technical standpoint, a business standpoint, and from an inspirational standpoint.

So last weekend, Merrie asked us to bring “drawer manuscripts” — stories that we have shelved for one reason or another. We took turns reading our stuff. I read the first chapter of a novel I had discarded… and they loved it. They asked questions about the plot and characters, and encouraged me to finish the tale. It was very humbling. Then, after bemoaning my personal quirks, poor time management, and overall ADD-ness, my writer friends reminded me that the devil wants to prevent me from writing.

You know, I’d forgotten that.

I am not one to look for demons behind every distraction, but it makes sense. If writing is a calling, at least a gift from God, it only stands that the enemy would want to stifle it, squelch it, sever the flow and muddy the approach. But for some reason, I just hadn’t connected the two.

And so as I lay there in my bed, pondering the dream, the interpretation seemed obvious. My right arm. The arm I use for shooting a basketball, throwing darts, signing documents, and pecking out words on the keyboard. Severed. Disconnected. Cut off from life. Coincidence?

Call it reaching. Call it creative license. But I couldn’t help but feel it was an omen: the devil wants to sever my writing arm.

Thank you, writer friends, for the reminder. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement, your fellowship and your inspiration. Thank you for nurturing your talent, affirming mine, fighting the good fight, and wising me up to enemy.

And thank you, above everything else, for keeping me from being cryogenically frozen.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Jay February 17, 2010, 2:03 PM

    I have maybe one or two writer friends with whom I have contact over the interwebs, and maybe a few people here and there in the real world — but nothing much (although I'm in a book club). I NEVER have gone to a writer's group or a convention of the sort…just because I, like you, have a strong introverted streak. That, and I'm also too self-absorbed to really care what other think of my output.

    Maybe I cut my own arm off?

  • guy stewart February 17, 2010, 2:05 PM

    And thank YOU for sharing…and reminding me that "we do not strive against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities…"

    I often forget, too.

  • Nicole February 17, 2010, 3:14 PM

    Very cool.

  • Merrie February 17, 2010, 5:18 PM

    You're a blessing, Mike! I'm so glad you are in our little writer's group. And I am so looking forward to reading more of that book you brought out of the drawer. It's fabulous. Just like all of your writing. 🙂 Great post, by the way.

  • Rebecca LuElla February 17, 2010, 5:38 PM

    I agree with Merrie, Mike. And it goes both ways. You give helpful insights and encouragement and the much needed man's perspective. After you left, we all said how glad we are that you've joined us.


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