The Importance of Tribe

Apparently not everyone’s brain works the way a writer’s works. This was a shock to me. One of my writer friends told me a story about how her mother once commented that she was a weird child for always making up stories about her dolls. That blew me away. Of course one makes up stories while playing with ones dolls. Right?

I’ve been the odd duck out most of my life. I remember being in high school and not seeing things the way other people saw them. Mostly I tried to hide being different, but that usually didn’t work very well.

Eventually, there was the Internet, where I found out about Romance Writers of America. I joined the national organization. Several months later I called to find out if there was chapter in my area. They gave me the name and phone of the president of Central New York Romance Writers. I called. Turned out the president was Maggie Shayne, whom I knew from the Romance Foretold forum.

I went to my first meeting…and knew I’d found my home. These people “got” me. They understood me. They, too, saw the world in their own “off-kilter” way. Their world was a world I understood. Their world was the world in which I belonged. I had located my tribe.

Many (most) of the faces have changed since that September Saturday. Publishing has changed. The outside world has changed. The one constant is that remains is the sense of belonging. Of knowing I can ask a question about the fiction in my head and I will be presented not with weird looks, but with a helpful dialogue. Because my tribe “gets it”.