authors rockValentine’s Day was twelve days ago but it’s never too late to celebrate. On Saturday my writers group, VIRA, held our annual luncheon. At one time, we held a formal ceremony with volunteer awards, writing awards and mentorship awards.  Over the years we’ve simplified. We’re all volunteers, so we all got a box of chocolates. Instead of a few door prizes, we all took home a party favour. I got a painted stone that says “Authors Rock.”

We used to arrange a set meal, now we all order individually from the menu. It makes life easier for the organizers and each attendee gets her own choice of food.

What hasn’t changed is the good will and good wishes. With 27 women and 1 man in a small room with bare floors, bare walls and a bare ceiling, the din was deafening. But it was a cheerful din, punctuated with bursts of laughter and lots of cheers.

We heard from a writer who wrote her first book while living in the Yukon with three small children at home. The weather was too cold to go outside and the view from her window presented only a landscape of white.

In search of her sanity, our author decided to write a book. She composed at twenty-one words per minute on an electric typewriter. By the time the book was finished, she’d achieved 60 wpm and a request from a publisher. Major celebrations followed. Sadly, the publisher decided to pass on the finished ms.

More stories followed and life went on. With the children grown and gone, our author re-edited her masterpiece. This time, 37 years after she first put fingers to keys, her book was published with a traditional publisher.

From the joy in the room when this tale was told, one would think we’d all been offered a writing contract. Writerly kindness in abundance.

It’s been said many times that writing is a lonely and often discouraging business. That’s why it’s important to celebrate even the smallest of steps, and to find a group of friends who “get” what it means to be a writer.

It was a lucky day for me when I found this group of authors. There is so much kindness and encouragement — and the most interesting people.

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