I have lived near Vegas for a little over two weeks now. I am adjusting to the new climate, the new home, the new, well everything. I’m not sure it’s all hit me yet because it still feels like I am on vacation. Check back in a month or two. But one of the things that I think has helped me “cope” with my relocation is the fact that some things are just universal.
The love of my family and friends has not changed just because I moved away. I still text, email, tweet and facebook like we did when I was in Arkansas. Sure, I miss chatting with my kids every night, lunching with my friend every day and experiencing The Walking Dead with my friend and fellow fanpeople, but so far we’ve found a way to stay connected electronically and flights have already been booked for the future. It’s not the same, but it’s still good.
Last weekend, I just happened to find out about the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I couldn’t resist the chance to get my writer feet wet within a week of being here. Sure, I had to muster the courage to drive all by myself into downtown Las Vegas for the event, (Went right past the strip!) but I did it. I’m so glad I did.
I sat in on three different YA panels during the day. I learned a lot about some exciting authors and their works and I got some great craft tips from published professionals. It was during one of the panels after I asked a question about crafting the love interest (YA LOVE AND LONGING panel) that it hit me. The writers on the platform and the writers in the audience were just like me and just like my writer pals in Arkansas. We all have the desire to produce great words and have our MS published. It doesn’t matter why each of us chose to begin writing, the genre or age we write in, or the path to publication we end up traveling. We’re all in it together. There’s a common thread that connects us all together. We writers are the lovers of words, the spinners of stories, the witnesses to the world.
Suddenly I didn’t feel like I was sitting alone in a (very warm) tent miles and miles away from home. I was sitting in a (very warm) tent with my tribe that extended beyond that tent, all the way to Arkansas and beyond.
Most writers I have encountered are unfathomably supportive people. We want each other to succeed because we know the struggles and we have felt them. We understand the odds of publication, the anguish of crafting the perfect pitch or query letter, the bite of rejection. I have seen it time and time again–in every Twitter pitch contest I have entered, in the responses to my crazy emails from my amazing Crit Partner, in every writing group Starbucks gab session. We feel for each other and we root for each other.
And it doesn’t stop when (not saying IF, saying WHEN) we are published. At the festival, I had a great conversations with authors C.L. Gaber (*ASCENDERS), and Brian Yansky (*ALIEN INVASION AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES) Not only were they excited to talk about their works, but she was interested in mine too. The spirit of community was overflowing at the festival. It made it feel like home.
No matter how long we stay in Vegas, my heart and my home will be in Arkansas with my friends and family. But it will also be here in my new community. It will be on Twitter and Facebook and other places I can’t yet imagine.
*These two books have moved up to number 1 and 2 on my TBR list. Can’t wait to read them!