On the Camaraderie of Friends
And yet, there is no struggle to fit in, to be accepted; we all have our own niche, our own brand. Our own signature style. I’ve been greeted with open arms, even if cyber. I know three, count ‘em, three, personal friends who are also authors. In-the-flesh friends, in-the-flesh hugs. At last count, however, my circle of cyber writer friends had surpassed 50, and is now more likely at or near 100. Probably past that by now, even. And I get to count, within this cyber-circle, some authors who were favorites before I realized my own gift and calling to write, Eileen Goudge and Coleen Coble to name-drop two good names. That’s a heady notion to interact with people you have so admired for several years! And to be counted as a colleague? I’m still in dumbfounded awe!
This is my second stint at guest posting; Mary and I became friends over her upcoming anthology, to which I naturally submitted. 😉 Dialogue was initiated between us, and a more personal bond was established. Cyber yet, but one-on-one interaction nonetheless. And I count her as my colleague-friend. My first guest post is done, but not slated to “air” until November. Another one of my colleague-friends (whose book I’m now reading incidentally) who is a nurse and writes about medical stuff. I focus on psychology stuff, and she asked me to contribute to her blog. It’s still kinda heady stuff to me!
When I first launched myself into this cyber community, I really was naïve about it all. I only got serious about writing my novel a year ago, and created my Author & Artist page on Facebook. Didn’t do anything with it at the time; it just sat there, collecting cyber dust. When my novel released digitally I promoted the heck out of it, posting multiple times (ad nauseam) on my page and a few writerly pages. I started blogging. Not much happened. Weeks passed. Months went by. I submitted queries to agents, and have pecked away at novel #2. Three rejections. Sigh…
I’m not sure what triggered this thought other than Papa God. But it occurred to me to repost others’ posts on my author page. And by repost, I mean Twitter too. I soon added LinkedIn, and changed my profile there to reflect my author persona. I lagged and joined the Google + gaggle although I’m still not sure what that’s about. (see #cheeksflushed #embarrassed) I’ve joined a couple more Facebook writer groups, too.
And a funny thing started to happen. As I commented on and shared others’ posts, I began making friends! Isn’t this true in the “real” world, though? When we notice others, show genuine interest in them, in who they are, and their interests, then they take notice of us in return? Isn’t that really what the Gospel is about, even? Didn’t Jesus Himself come to tend to our needs, and wants, and hurts? Did He do anything solely for the purpose of drawing attention to Himself? To salvation, yes, of course. [obviously] But not to Himself as a person, a man. He came to minister to us, to pay attention to us. To love on us.
Am I comparing my reposts to Christ ministering to my needs? Not really. But then again, maybe in a way, yes. Does He not say that the least of our concerns are in His hand? Does He not tend to those? And if I may, does He not use us to do so? At the very least, is this not our example? Perhaps commenting on a blog post isn’t sharing the Gospel. Per se. But perhaps, the connection made by commenting, is. Isn’t the Gospel, and the Kingdom, all about connections? Divine connections? Personally, I count every connection as a God connection, either to build myself, or the other. Or as a stepping stone on the way to another connection.
So, this Circle of Camaraderie of which I speak? I’m loving every minute of it. Yes, even the moments I was rather harshly critiqued for my work, that’s part of it. That’s part of any relationship; without it, there can be no relationship. Without freedom to speak honestly and openly to another, relationship cannot flourish, but withers.
I have joined an Elite Society. Exclusive by definition, and yet without defining. One who is not an artist cannot grasp the process of art. It is foreign, an alien thing to the non-creative mind. We creative types see things differently. And we seek out and cling to like-minded others.
Like Mary. And me. We have connected via writing. Even better, we have connected via our faith. And that’s the greatest camaraderie of all, that’s the greatest connection and community. The Camaraderie of Christ. And that’s not exclusive to anyone, but open to all.