Yesterday, I drove an hour east and south of my home to attend a writer's meeting with a group by the name of Cat Tales. A writer friend is the coordinator of the group, and she's invited me to attend many times, but they met on an afternoon when I have another commitment. This summer, the meeting time was changed to morning, so off I went after breakfast to visit the group.
I enjoyed my drive through the rolling Flint Hills along the interstate on a summer morning bathed in sunlight. I reached my exit and followed the mapquest directions. Found myself on a two-lane, no-shoulder country road for about seven miles. I didn't meet a car coming or going the entire way but did see farmhouses here and there, so I didn't feel like I'd left civilization. But almost! Finding the cafe where the group meets was no problem as the town is very, very small.
The first thing I noticed as I approached the entrance of the cafe was a bench with a large International Harvester logo on it. I had to smile when I noticed it, as my dad worked for that company his entire adult life. The first thing I heard as the door opened for me magically (I didn't see the man standing behind it who had graciously opened it for me) was noise. Lots of it!
This had to be the town meeting spot, and a joyous place it was. The cafe was one very large room, and I found the Cat Tales group seated around a large round table in a corner. My friend greeted me and said to bring up a chair. Everyone around the table scooted closer to one another, as I joined them. Eleven women and one man all introduced themselves to me. Those who had brought something to read did so, moving around the table with comments from the group when finished.
The group was made up of mostly senior citizens. I gathered that a few have been published, but probably more have not. Many write for their own pleasure. One woman told about pursuing writing as a way of healing after a long, abusive marriage. But one thing stood out amongst the people who sat around the table.
They share a bond in that they are people who write. They are people who like to write and who have done what many others have not--they've pursued their desire to write. And they have come together as a group to share their writing, to talk about writing experiences, and to encourage one another. I don't think their intent is to become another Danielle Steele or Stephen King but to put their thoughts on paper for self-satisfaction, to leave for family members and sometimes in hopes of publication. They are hobbyists, not freelancers working to put food on the table. They call writing fun, not work.
They won't spend their senior years rocking on the porch, hands in lap. No, they will be using hands and mind to write myriad stories, poems and memoirs. They're all on the same page in this writing world.