TRIBE It’s been awhile. I have several partially written blog posts which are unfinished because, on second thought, I didn’t want to fuel the fire. I still don’t. The fire scares me, and I’m not going to add to it.

go This post is about tribe, defined as a group or community that shares a common culture and is linked by economic, social, religious, or family ties. I rolled my eyes when I heard that word a few years ago. Here we go again with the trendy and catchy label. I dislike it. The other thing is I never quite fit in.

get link A few days ago, I read an article about women over sixty and what they need to keep living a healthy and active life. One of those things was a tribe, a group or community with a shared culture, language, ideas, religion, etc. You get the idea. We need to be part of something. Do you belong to a tribe? How about your family? Do you spend time with siblings, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, or cousins? Maybe you belong to a church group and spend time going to church, teaching Sunday school, or helping the poor and homeless. Your tribe could be the bowling league you belong to, or the hiking club, a book club, other gamers, or people you work with. Maybe, like many people I know, you are a writer and hide yourself away in your office alone while you work. Do you have a tribe then? I hope so because many writers still reach out through the internet and connect with people that way. For me, I’ve always wanted to be part of something, to be included, to be accepted. I’ve skittered along the borders of groups, invited in, but not absorbed into the group. Over time, and I mean decades, I’ve come to realize that’s who I am and I don’t need a specific group, what I have are individuals that make Venn diagram of several tribes. Recently, I met a friend I hadn’t seen or talked to for months. We chatted about what was going on in our lives beyond our Facebook posts. We got on the subject of tribe and agreed we belong to each other’s tribe despite the fact we don’t see each other very often. We share interests in writing, astronomy, pets, and travel. She talked about her friends from New York who are still her friends and part of her tribe even though they don’t know her like they did when she lived in New York. I have friends and family like that. We are scattered all over the country, yet we still belong to a tribe.

click here Facebook connected me to some of my high school classmates. I wasn’t close to most of these people back then, but almost forty years later, I love these women. We have lived diverse lives, but we’ve connected on some other level and I consider them a tribe. I have a couple of friends from work that love fantasy and superhero movies. We read similar books and go out to lunch and a movie. There are women in my life that like to preserve food and I’ve spent time canning peaches with them, or going to a you-pick-it farm to get apples, or corn, or cucumbers for pickles.  One of those women is part of my work tribe and the movie tribe.

here My writing group is my tribe of words. Their insights help me fashion comprehensible stories. I couldn’t do it without them. Then there are the Superstars Writing Seminar people that are another tribe of writers, editors, publishers and they have their own circle in my Venn diagram.

I recently visited my ninety three year old Godmother. Yes, 93. She takes care of the other old ladies in her tribe by taking them to the doctor or to get their hair fixed. Yes, she still drives and goes out for meal with her friends. She is a long time member of the German club. She still sews. She showed me these beautiful curtains she made for her house. The curtains were much nicer than any commercially made ones. During the hours I spent with her, her phone rang at least four times. Her friends were calling to chat. Two years ago, she went to Germany for a month. She has a lovely attitude towards life and this is what I aspire to.

I am over sixty. I retired after thirty four years in the telcom industry and went back to work ten months later in the same industry. I had to go back to work to help pay for all the things I’m interested in doing, like traveling, attending workshops, concerts, and working on my house. My tribes keep me interested in life and doing things and push me to improve myself, my writing, and my knowledge base. As I age, I appreciate my tribes more and more. I am not bored. I am interested in more things than I can absorb. I want to keep moving and learning and experiencing things.

The point of the post is to encourage you to stay interested in life, be a part of what is happening around you. Stay positive and take some time to figure out your own tribes. In the long run, they will help keep you going.


Networking and Superstars

This day, it doesn’t really matter which day it is, but the day you read this is the inaugural day of my blog. Blogging isn’t something I ever thought I would do, but over the last year I have come to believe that writing about what is going on in the world, my city, my life can be shared through the almost magical means of the internet.

Recently, I attended the Superstars Writing Seminars in Colorado Springs. One of the things that impressed me the most about the seminar was the professionalism of the faculty and how talented the attendees are. This seminar isn’t about how to write; you can learn that in many different ways. This seminar is about the business of being a writer, publishing, and networking. Let me stress the networking.

I am not comfortable in groups of people making small talk. I’ve never been comfortable or good at starting a conversation with people I don’t know. However, during the seminar I met young people, older people, shy people, and everything in between. I had great discussions about writing with people that write, not just talk about writing, but actually write and publish. I met people that forced me to ask the questions and be the extrovert. I met editors, publishers, writers that are successfully self published, meaning they can support themselves on what they write, and writers that are just starting out, like me. After five days of making myself be a part of the Superstars community, I understand how important networking is. I’m still uncomfortable in large crowds where I know few people, but I will continue to put myself in that situation so I can practice my networking skills. One of the benefits of networking is finding like minded souls.

As uncomfortable as I am in a group of unknowns, I love talking with one or two or three other people. I love to listen to people talk about their experiences. One woman I met had a career in the military and listening to her stories clarified why she writes. She is a wonderful storyteller. Other people shared their unfortunate experiences with self publishing and traditional publishers. People talked about their book covers, how lucky they were to have a great writing group, and how they got into writing. Many of the people I talked to worked at other jobs, like I do. Writing is a passion for us and we hope to be full time writers some day. I file the information I learn away for later, when I start to push my way into being published.  Yes, push my way into publishing.

Being published isn’t for the weak willed. It is unlikely that anyone will walk up to you and say, “Hey, I like your writing. Let me publish you.” Everyone I’ve talked to had worked hard to get their stuff out there. They’ve had to eliminate passages, paragraphs, or whole chapters that didn’t move their story along even when those passages were beautifully written and perfect. It is a slow and tedious process even when it is a labor of love. After you’ve polished your work and it’s “out there,” you have to get people to read what you wrote. I don’t mean just your family and friends. You need others to pick up your spark and carry so it catches on. Remember what I said about networking. It’s important.

Be professional, be friendly, and go out there and make some connections. You never know where it may lead.