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Sunday, July 30, 2006


Birds of a feather

Last week had been roiling up inside of me for a very long time.
In my slightly less dusty and rusty writer's mind, I decided to do some serious journalistic work.
My idea was to do an article on women just like me, women who had gone through a major career change after age 40. What steps and plans they took. Were their friends and families supportive. Afterwards, were they pleased with what they had accomplished and why?
So I went on the message boards of several e-mags and asked if anyone out there in cyber-space would volunteer their stories. Brave and wonderful souls these women. Let's face it they didn't know me or my intentions, but they gamely jumped in, with both feet. Okay, one was actually a close friend from the time we were 6, but she put her story in my hands along with 2 others. I thank them profusely for their support.
What was unexpected was that the other two ladies had also been journalists at some point in their lives!
When I was through with the first of several drafts, I asked several cyberspace editors to indulge me and read my work. Not one said "no" and all were more than happy to do what they could to encourage my endeavor.
In my younger days, I don't think this would have happened. Truly. We would have thought of one another as competition. Many of the women in my college courses may have even looked for ways to either sabotage my efforts or worse-take the idea and claim it as their own.
Fortunately, the women I have "met" on-line have a wonderful camaraderie about each other.
We encourage ourselves to keep writing, suggest websites for research materials, help to edit and give suggestions on how to tighten and refine our work.
Writing is a solitary, even lonely job. One, that only those who are involved in its pursuit, understand. Don't get me wrong, I love the feeling I get when the last draft is complete and I am almost pleased with the result (is there a writer out there that doesn't think that whatever they've written can't be somehow improved?), but it's hard work.
A now long removed acquaintance once asked me what was so difficult about writing? In his mind, all I did was sit down, type a few lines and voila! An article was born.
To describe how "easy" writing was to this man, I told him I agreed, writing is quite easy. All one had to do was sit down at their desk, put the paper in the typewriter (I know I just aged myself several decades) and then open a vein and let it bleed onto the onionskin. When nothing more dripped out and one was "dry", then and only then would they know their article/book was ready for publication/airing. I had also likened the event to giving birth-Painful beyond all reason, but that when the baby came, you forgot all of the labor and could only rejoice at the outcome.
He never did get it. Thought it was one of my sarcastic jokes.
Thankfully, my cyber-writer friends do. They are there for the "coaching", the labor and then the delivery. Plus, as an added bonus, they too are joyous at the outcome.
And for that, I am eternally grateful.

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