Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It Takes a Lot of Flapping to Fly

Thought for the day:  Do you think people who jump off bridges in Paris are in Seine?

Have you ever seen an albatross in flight? With their huge wingspans, ranging anywhere from six feet to an unsubstantiated report of more than seventeen feet, when these birds take to the air, their grace and maneuverability are unsurpassed.

But they do have a slight problem with take-offs and landings.

With a wingspan that can be as much as three times their body lengths, their attempts at getting off the ground and back again are awkward, clumsy, and when set to music, as Jack Paar did many years ago, hilarious. Also known as gooney birds because of their awkward antics, these guys run and run and run ... and run ...  with heads bobbing, big clown feet slapping and enormous wings flapping, until you're sure they'll never get off the ground. But after several up-a-little and then boom-back-to-the-ground false starts, with their big feet flopping and wings flapping the whole time, they finally achieve flight. And their landings? Let's just say they aren't so much landings as they are bouncing on their butt crashes.

Yesterday, I was a gooney bird.

As I told y'all on Monday, yesterday afternoon was my first writers' group meeting. Since I'm rather directionally challenged, my sweet hubby drove me to the meeting place on Sunday, in kind of a recon mission, so I could find my way there yesterday without burning a whole tank of  gas, and manage to make it back home in time to put his dinner on the table. (He's no fool.)

So yesterday, I got my favorite notebook and pen ready, and printed out some of my writing to share with the group. Decided to go with the prologue to my WIP, since no one had read it before, and I figured any input would be fresh, and hopefully, helpful. Took a shower. Put on shorts with an honest-to-God waist band and shoes that didn't go flop flop when I walked . Even swiped my lashes with mascara and put on a dab of lipstick.

I was excited.

Driving to the meeting, I wondered if the others would like me. Wondered if they'd like my writing. With hands sweating and heart pounding, I headed into the building, feeling like a kid on the first day in a new school.

Two hours later, I returned home. Since I'd told my hubby about some errands I planned to run after the meeting, he was surprised to see me so soon.

I announced, "Everybody at the meeting knew me!"

He was like, "Huh?"

"And," I continued, "they were all married to you!"

After another split second of "Huh?" on his face, he got it. Nobody else showed.

Crap. I'm not even a gooney bird. At least THEY eventually achieve lift-off. Me, I just flapped my wings and looked awkward.

I posted a comment on the community website about the writers' group meeting. Got three responses, all apologies, and one sweet comment about how she could "tell I was a writer" because my complaint was so funny. Today, the writers' group page is conspicuously absent from the webpage. So, I don't know if the group will ever be meeting again, or if it's kaput for good. (sigh)

You know, all writers are a bit like gooney birds. It takes a lot of running and flapping to get our careers off the ground. Even though we may make some false starts, we've got to keep on running, and got to keep on flapping if we want to succeed. After all, the flight is such a beautiful thing to behold, and well worth the effort. Heck,  I'm not even worried about crash landing. I've got plenty of padding.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. That must have been extremely dissapointing.

  2. I'm so sorry Sue - I would've been crushed. Post your story for us, pls?

    [yes, still hve the crppy key-o@rd. giggle]

  3. I totally understand being directionally challenged. I can get lost going around the block.

    So sorry about your writing group. I can understand your disappointment after you went through all that mental preparation, not to mention the lipstick and mascara. Many times the school districts have classes in the fall and you might want to investigate those. Even better might be a community college.

    The hardest part of flying is the take-off. I think you have already accomplished that. You are a wonderful writer.

  4. Hi Delores- It was a little disappointing, but at least I got my errands done early!

    Skippy- Thanks. A tiny piece may have crumbled off, but I'm not crushed. I was hoping for a daytime group, since my nighttime vision isn't all that swell, but there are still other groups in the area that meet in the evenings, so I may have to pull on my night vision goggles and take a look into one of them. Not sure if I want to post my prologue, but I'll think about it. (Publishers don't look favorably upon taking on a project that's already been "published" online.)

  5. Starting Over- Aw, shucks. Thank you, ma'am, but I still have a loooong way to go before I'm airborne. What this group was, or what it was supposed to be, is a (teacher-less) bunch of people with writing aspirations who critique each other's work and provide support. So it wasn't a "class", per se, but thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Aww Susan, I'm so sorry. I wish we lived closer, I would love to meet up with you and talk about writing.

    Actually I've always wanted to host a writer's weekend retreat with a whole bunch of us who live down here in the south. Maybe I'll have to look into that and see who might be interested. If my basement was finished I could have a slumber party. I do have 4 extra beds. 5 if you count the air mattress.

  7. Oh, I would have been crushed. In fact, when I went to my very first book signing after WHTD came out and only 1 person showed up, I WAS crushed. (It was an hour from my home, in a place I'd never been before, and not advertised at all ... so maybe not my fault ... but I was still hideously embarrassed.)

    If you'd like some feedback on the first page of your WIP, I still have openings for July ... and I usually get a nice response from my readers. :)

  8. Aww. That just sucks. I know if I'd put on mascara for something, I'd be really ticked off if nobody else showed. I mean, I don't put on mascara for just anybody--that stuff makes my eyes itch!

  9. Oh, no! I'm so sorry that happened. I know that if it had been me, I'd probably have come home in tears. I'm glad to see that you're holding up and still have your sense of humor.

  10. Hi, Ladies. Y'all are so sweet. Thank you.

    Anne- I wish we lived closer, too, because I have a feeling we'd be the best of friends. Jeez, a writers' retreat sounds like an off-the-scale wonderful idea.

    Dianne- You poor thing. (Well, maybe not "poor" exactly. After all, your book IS published ...!) Still, it's easy to imagine the fanciful expectations and sweaty palms you must have experienced during that entire one-hour drive to your signing. What a crappy experience. Makes me think those first book signings should be held closer to home, at a location where you're already known.

    OK, I'll take a deep breath and send you a specimen for July's dissection. Thank you, ma'am.

    Linda- Makes my eyes itch, too. (But I can last most of the day before I scratch it off ... )

  11. I set up a meeting to meet writers one time at the local library. I advertised in the local paper and handed out flyers.
    I sat there two hrs and nobody showed.
    Then I was in groups that others started and everyone was serious about their craft.
    Then a friend and I decided to start our own group again and posted a flyer at the library for several weeks. By the time the meeting rolled around we had four or five people wander. SOme serious some not so much. WE're still together and we have five or six regulars with occasional drops ins so don't give up. Keep writing and keep your eyes open for any opportunity to join or start a group. It will be the best thing you've ever done for yourself when it gets in real swing.
    Good luck.

  12. Sounds to me like a close shave; a bunch of lazy would-be writers. No, they should be enthusiastic, hold me back, let's meet again tomorrow, types.

  13. Hi, Connie. I was a little disappointed, but not to the point of being tear-worthy. C'est la vie. (la vie)

    Hi, Barb. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm glad your group worked out okay. And don't worry; I'll keep on flapping.

    Hi, Cro. I like the way you think! Thanks for the fresh perspective. You are absolutely right.

  14. Oh no! That's awful! Glad you're such a trooper about it.

  15. Sorry you had to go through that! What a great line that everyone at the meeting was married to your husband! At first I was wondering if you married Mickey Rooney! Hope you're able to have another writer's meeting in the near future. Julie

  16. Hi, Sam. It wasn't all that awful. Really, it wasn't. Disappointed, yeah, a little. But in the scheme of things, not a big deal. Maybe next time.

    Hi, Julie. Thanks. What will be, will be. In the meantime, I still have all you wonderful bloggers to "meet" with, and that certainly counts for something!