Homage to My Critique Sisterhood

Nancy Clover

Nancy Clover

I was welcomed first by Annis then one by one so many others. Had I been a shy person I know that Annis gentle yet encouraging hug would had pushed my fears aside. As it was, my extrovert self said: I am where I need to be.

Our critique group was formed that first meeting. Nan, our group leader, and I laughed because Nan and Nancy were the first members. The sense of comeraderie was prophetic, had we but known. Bethanne and Dawna joined and then Mikie. And so we began. First we shared our stories, then ourselves. Nan opened her home for the Tuesday meetings and Dawna opened her home for our critique meeting/lunch after the Sat. WOK meeting, for you see one of our sisters came from Tahachapi and we felt we should make her trip down the mountain a major accomplishment. Jacque joined us and we were complete. Then Fate stepped in when Nan announced that she was moving to the East Coast, because Mikie had a friend and neighbor, Sharon, who wanted to join WOK and our group. So as we sadly loose one member we joyfully embrace another.

Our group, in my humble opinion, can be compared to a master chefs menu. Did I say humble?

Sharon and Mikie are the appetizer. Appealing, complimentary, leaving you wanting more of their company.

Bethanne is my perfect foil for the main course. She sits so quietly, speaks so softly, that I try so hard not to be so acerbic and blunt (maybe not that hard). And so she softens my excess spice.

Jacque and Dawna are our dessert. They sweeten the palate at the end of the meal.

In truth, we have no leader. While I have been chosen to represent us at the Jan. leaders meeting, we all take turns starting the meeting, depending on who’s present, and once it starts, it develops it’s own momentum. While we are all grown women, each at a different place in our lives, when we come together we’re like a well practiced team, each stepping up to fill whatever position needed.

At our last meeting, our sister Dawna said: “I feel like I really belong.” As she opened her arms to figuratively embrace us all, knowing I was a part of the reason for her feelings was in truth humbling.

I came to WOK and the critique group to become a better writer, to learn how to get my work published, to learn more about the writing business. There was always the expectation that I would read something by someone that would move me. I did not expect to join a writing group that would touch my heart, as I keep it well guarded. Is our connection because we’re all women?  Possibly. I like to think that there is a reason why I was guided to read the paper that day and joined with Nan to start our group. I was blessed that day and hope you are all as lucky in your writing critique groups.

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