I went to a mixer last night. I dragged my attorney husband along; sure he would suffer through the night armed with wine and patience. It was my mixer, not his, a mixer comprised of my people- actors, writers, producers, creative souls in all varying levels and success in their chosen pursuits. It was titled “Monsters Among Us” and we were given the opportunity to read a short, 500-word story about any kind of monster. It was Halloween night after all, and what could be better than a monster story on Halloween night?
Sixty, seventy, there may have been as many as eighty people came to the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica CA. to eat, (free food a great lure), and drink wine, (an even better lure.) The woman running the meet-up, Nancy Fulton (the best lure of all), a brilliant creative woman who knows film and the business of books and just about everything and anything, organized the stories to be read with a movie screen backdrop, photos that captured the stories being told, and links to the author’s websites.
Only six of us had a story to read. Six monster stories read aloud to a group of people who live to tell stories, one way or another. I was second to last, our fearless leader Nancy closing the night with a devilish story of her own. I was surprised at my nervousness, my anticipation; glad for the glass of wine I’d had to calm my nerves. I’d been an actress, I know how to read, I can project and give nuance and flavor to my material. But always, always, no matter the setting no matter the number of people, as a writer I want people to like, to feel, to applaud the work. It is a risky business to offer up a literary child for review. It is a bit like walking into a dance and wanting to be asked out onto the dance floor so to show off a lifetime of lessons, without stumbling.
I read my story. The moment I was done, someone called out, “Brilliant.” Just that one word and the applause that greeted me gave me a moment of validation. I was among my “people” and their affirmation was worth something intangible, something hard to describe, something priceless and soul lifting.
I think no matter what you do in life, sometimes you need to find your people and get their support. I also think we all have a responsibility to give praise and recognition to the people who inspire us, who lift us up, who give us reason to plow ahead to face rejection, and failure and the downside of life.
Take a look on my home page to see the monster story…