I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Stella, Streetcare Named Desire
Writers have ever relied on the kindness of strangers. We hope someone will pick up our work, read it, love it, and tell others about it. No amount of self promotion works if that doesn’t occur. While I would never want to lump myself with poor, sad Stella, I have to admit that a person goes from stranger to friend quickly when they do me a kindness.
Social media has flooded us with “friends” in the guise of strangers. As an essentially extroverted person, I have navigated the cocktale party atmosphere of twitter and facebook chitchat fairly successfully. A bigger surprise came with “friends” began to become friends indeed.
I’ve long enjoyed a group of email friends formed when I belonged to Central Ohio Fiction writers. We call ourselves the Debs. While we offer one another encouragement and outright cheerleading as we lurch forward with our writing, we’ve come to care deeply about one another’s lives.
Another good example (but far from the only example) is my recently acquired circle of friends called the Bluestocking Belles. The Belles banded together to support one another’s work. I was a latecomer, slipping in just as they are getting ready to launch. I quickly discovered that they are a remarkable group of writers that are not only friendly and approachable but characterized by a basic decency and generosity of spirit. One obvious example of that is the group’s fierce support for The Malala Fund to support education, something we fold into our events. Another is the basic kindness individual Belles show one another, assisting with technology information, promoting one another’s work, and respecting individual needs, lives and schedules. Since we live in many places across the globe, we may never all meet face to face. Still I have begun to count them friends. I’m lucky to be a part of it.
The Belles are also fun! Our Launch Part on Facebook, Twitter and our Web site isn’t until next month but somehow our characters wandered into the event page early and we now have a crowded coaching inn full of characters from many books all interacting with each other, flirting, eating, searching for a cat, dancing. . . The formal ball will be a huge event! Plan your dress and bring an escort. Be there March 14. Links are on my Bluestocking Belles page (menu to the left).
There are others who’ve become friends. My partners at History Imagined have been very kind, as have authors of various review services and blogs. This week I have the privilege of hosting a good friend in the real world. She journeyed here from Ohio. We plan to thumb our nose at the ice and snow and go to the Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens. Stay warm! I wish many generous friends.