A writing group serendipitously sprung up on Facebook the other day. It includes a few of my writer friends, each from a different strata of a past or current life. A friend from childhood whom I met when I was 11 years old in the church parking lot when we both were ditching church. A friend I met at age 19 when I was obsessed, in a musician envy sort of way, with the band her boyfriend was creator of. A writer dude who used to be in a cult-popular local punk band and lived on my street briefly before moving away. A dude who reads in the same literary circles I read in and is friends with a number of mutual friends: writers and punks and musicians. A Russian friend who is a total female rock star writer blowing up the literary scene in the Bay Area. A friend who I met when we read at Lip Service West together, and who I often bump into while loitering at an Oakland coffee shop seemingly everyone we know either hangs out at or works at.
The group started when one of these friends tagged me in one of those posts where you tag a number of people, you know, those posts you usually ignore. The game was that you had to look on page 7 of your manuscript and transcribe 7 sentences to post on Facebook, and then tag 7 other writers.
I was bored, and sick, so I pored through a bunch of my crappy writing to find a story that was actually seven pages long. I had to go back to my early twenties, when I was going to San Francisco State and studying Creative Writing. I tagged some of my writer friends, and the thread became super entertaining as they all posted excerpts of random stories that were either tragic or hilarious in a disturbing way. Then one of my friends said the thread, which got to over 90 comments long, was making her want to start a writing group.
So we did.
I went off about the ebils of Facebook a few weeks ago. I had decided to disconnect from it for a while, went all crazy on it in my rants. It helped. A couple of guy friends asked me if I had deleted it because of some dude. Wouldn’t they like to know.
Anyhow, I got a necessary pause and when I came back to it, I learned to let go of the outcome, to use it like a tool. I now observe everyone’s awesomeness without getting caught up so much in comparison and envy. I have given up (mostly) on expectations of any specific result from others, instead focusing on what is cool about it for me. If I share things with people without making it too personal, writer and musician discussions abound. Connecting to friends of friends, learning more about family, finding awesome music and bands…the pros outweigh the cons for me right now. Who gives a who who thinks what about who.
My whole philosophy on this upcoming year is, instead of trying to find out the purpose of MY WHOLE LIFE, to ask myself, “What’s next?”
I was talking to a musician who had just gotten back from tour. She was floundering a bit, because the tour had been her goal forever and now it was over. “I don’t know what to do with my life!” She said.
“What’s next?” I asked her. Baby steps.
Instead of comparing myself to others seemingly further along the path than me, the myriad of friends I have who are currently touring or have multiple books published, instead of letting the green-eyed monster consume me…just bloody DO something already. Take action. Don’t stew. Move along. There’s no time to be jealous unless it propels me along on my path, spurs me to action. If I want something I feel I can’t have, what can I do to obtain that thing, if it’s possible for me to obtain? Can I at least try?
There is no room anymore for being grouchy or sulking, playing a victim or blaming anyone else for my success or failure. There is only room for growth.