I’ve been meeting once a week (more or less) with the same four women to share our lives and our writing for the last ten years. Sadly, our leader and connector passed away a few years ago. Now, another member, J., will be moving to Montana in August, and it seems that at last our little Writing Group is breaking up. Here are my reflections from our meeting last week…

I’m trying hard not to think about how this is one of the last times the three of us will sit down, gab, eat, then at last say, “Shall we write?” I don’t know how to process the end of this group (though I know it won’t be the end of our friendships). On the one hand, I can see clearly how the end is also the beginning. J. will start a new adventure in Montana, and H. and I will find new opportunities to develop community and connections with others, to continue to create… On the other hand, my heart is a heavy squeeze of lead screaming, “Noooo!”

So I sit at the table, fingers poised over the computer, waiting for the words that will either take me away from the sadness, or pull me deeper into it. Maybe both. Meanwhile, J.’s left hand spins over her notebook, her sandy hair spilling over words she won’t be able to read in twenty minutes. And H.’s right hand loops along over her notebook, her left clutching a napkin tightly as she gives herself over to the page more and more. If we still met at the Starbucks on 49th St., I’m sure that the soundtrack playing us out would be “If This Is It” by Huey Lewis and the News, or Adele’s “Turning Tables”, but our current meeting-place of choice, the Le Pain Quotidien cafe, offers us something decidedly less funky and dramatic. It’s a Mozart/Stravinsky/Saint-Saens mix that’s probably fitting, seeing as we’re not really saying good-bye forever (nor are we living in an 80’s film).

(I should preface this next paragraph by saying that I wish I weren’t so terrible with metaphors. These lovely fellow-writers know my pain well…)

At times, this group has been my cocoon, a place to take refuge while I transform myself again and again…and again. At other times, it’s been my well, the place I know I can go when I’m bone-dry and leave refreshed, with a bucket of joy to spare for the week ahead. This group has seen me in my absolute lowest times, and in my most triumphant…

Sitting here today, with these women, I have that graduation feeling. A flutter in my stomach, a fear of the unknown just months away. If I ever gave a graduation speech (which I’m sure I never will) I’d probably say something like this:

This is the end. It’s also the beginning. Get used to this. Saying good-bye. Starting over again. You’ll be doing this in ways big and small every day your whole life. Most things probably won’t be as great as you dream they’ll be. And some things will surely be greater than you can imagine. There will be days you feel lost in the endings, and not sure how you can start over again. But if you’re very, very lucky, you’ll have the one thing, the only thing, you’ll need to see you through…

I know one thing is for sure. I’ve been very, very lucky to have had the one thing I’ve needed to see me through. And I am so grateful for these women, and the time we’ve spent together.

Advertisements