A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Publication

One of the most important elements in any relationship is the ability to laugh. What a dull tragedy life would be if we didn’t have humor as the mortar between bricks of sober reality. Humor has taken our writers’ group through times of inertia and disagreement. The three of us are blessed with the ability to find a ridiculous note when the symphony of writing rigor turns somber and Sibelius-ish. Maybe not all at the same time but whoever finds it first is quick to share it so that we all can take a fresh look to get back on track.

At one point in the editing process, we were so frustrated that we talked about futility and maybe our baby wouldn’t be birthed after all. A particular outside editing partner was giving us fits for several weeks. We were spinning our wheels trying to make sense of the snarls and tangles, the jumble of misdirection caused by the person we were relying on to help us to publication. Amazingly we were able to stay focused on our goal and keep each other’s spirits up with humor during that trying process. I don’t know how someone could go through those times as an author without the support of sympathetic compatriots.

Since Jackie now lives in Colorado and Sally and I are in Tucson, our weekly meetings are by necessity virtual. Zoom is our meeting room, our moaning room, our bitching room. We have certain phrases and code words that will send us into hysterics when things get too heavy. None of them would mean anything to others because they have developed throughout the years of writing together. Only a word or a look can send a misaligned partner into laughter or at least smiles. We can reference a silly scene that took place during one of our trips and it immediately changes the mood. Sometimes a meeting will be a happy hour when we each bring our favorite adult beverage(s) to the table and toast each other over something grand or ridiculous. And nobody needs to call an Uber. We’ve had crazy hat or crazy shoe meetings. We know each other’s foibles so well and we know how to tease each other without making anyone feel bad. Most of our meetings, even the really down-to-business ones, include gales of laughter. And we always end a meeting in good humor. My husband, who is in another room in the house when we meet, hears our voices and often comments on how much fun we are having even after I’ve warned him that we are going to be discussing really serious subjects. He says, “You guys are having too much fun for your size.” Some of those stories are in our book Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets as part of our goal to encourage other writers to explore the experience of a writers’ group.