Monday, August 9, 2010

How Writing Friends Are Like The AAA-Guy

This past weekend, I spent my time in Florida at a Club Med resort with several other writers and three agents. This was my seventh year attending this retreat, hosted and organized by my agent, Barry Goldblatt.

Every year, I meet new people. New writers and experienced writers. People from all over. And every year, I am amazed at the kindness and warmth these writers provide.

We talk about our families and our work. We share ups and downs. Triumphs and challenges. New ideas. Tricks. Advice for writing and for life. A little gossip. Fears and hopes. Ourselves.

After I left the airport (after a delayed flight), I decided I still wanted to stop at my favorite Thai place so I could bring take-out home to the boys (and selfishly because I have been craving it for months). But when I came out of the restaurant, my car wouldn't start.

Do you know that feeling? When you are beyond exhausted and you just want to get home so, so badly and suddenly you think you never will? I was on North Main Street in Concord, NH, right in front of the Capitol building. Traffic was whizzing past. Couples walked by holding hands, heading to dinner—while I sat trapped in my car, the heat starting to cook me. The smell of Thai food was making my stomach twist in knots because I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and now it was 7:00pm.

But I took a deep breath and called AAA. The woman who answered told me there was only one mechanic in the area and he was out on a job so it would be at least an hour before he could get to me. We hung up. I sat in my stifling car and tried not to cry. Or rip into the bag of Thai food.

A nice man and his daughter came over to see if they could help. He said "Bless you" when they walked away. A homeless man paced back and forth in front of the car. He stopped to look at the engine because I'd put the hood up. He shook his head. This was not comforting.

Then, Jim arrived. Confident Jim who said not to worry. And in five minutes, he had my car running. As he stood under the hood, the homeless man joined him and gave him advice and Jim kindly told him he was wrong. But he calmly explained why. And it was really thoughtful. And then he gave me advice for getting home and told me not to worry about running out of gas and lots of other stuff that just made me feel better and confident that I'd make it.

And I thought Jim was an awful lot like the writers I'd just spent the weekend with. Writers who knew how afraid I was of some things, but reassured me that I would make it just fine. These are the writers I can call when I feel stranded. Broken. And they send help. Always.

I am so, so grateful that I have that AAA card in my pocket. But I'm even more grateful for the other writers' AAA card I have in my heart. This weekend was a reminder of how important it is to have that insurance. It is priceless.

Writer friends, thank you for being my Jim. I love you.


Monday Morning Warm-Up:

Write a note to a friend to tell them how much you appreciate them. :-)


  1. Nothing worse than having car trouble... or manuscript trouble. Glad things worked out for you.

    I would think that Club Med is the perfect place to discuss writing. I mean, where better? I can't think of any place.

  2. Stephanie: <3
    Brian: Club Med is a very strange and wonderful place. :-)