Some of you know, I’m in a writer’s group. I sort of accidentally founded it.
OK, detour to explain how you accidentally found a writer’s group:
I had this friend. He seemed like a normal person when I got to know him…he was a very large man. Not particularly attractive, not particularly unattractive. He would have been somewhat better than average looking except for his exceptional size…which I wasn’t about to judge anyone for, being somewhere north of 200 lbs at the time myself.
He lived with his parents, but hey, it was the 90’s and a LOT of 20-somethings had to live with their parents to get by.
He didn’t get along with his parents. His mother was a loony and his father was sort of spineless and let the mother push him around. Well, hey, that’s common enough to be a recognizable character archetype.
He had a lot of ex-friends, and when he talked about them (which he did increasingly over time), his reasons for “exing” them seemed a little….petty. Eventually, they seemed nonsensical.
It took about four years for me to realize that this guy was having a slow-motion melt-down. He was going in tighter and tighter circles of helplessness, hopelessness, and feelings of persecution and betrayal.
Right around year three-and-a-half, he told me he wanted to start a writer’s group, and asked me to help (I had started one before). I said sure…just let me know what I can do. After all, he said that HE wanted to start it, right?
A couple of weeks later, he called me up and said “We need to get started on this writer’s group. We need a meeting place. Could we have it at your house?” (No these aren’t direct quotes…I don’t remember his exact words…I’m paraphrasing what he said as I understand it.)
I said “sure”. Then, he said that maybe we should have a flyer, and put it up on bulletin boards around the cities to get people to join.
I thought that sounded like a grand idea.
So a couple of weeks passed, and he asked me about the flyer. Was it done yet?
I hadn’t realized that I was supposed to create the flyer, but OK…I created a flyer. I put his contact information on it.
Well, that wasn’t OK, because his mom didn’t like people calling the house for him. So I put my contact information on the flyer…and did the initial contact interview with people, then passed their contact information on to him so he could interview them.
The first guy who called was a man who has since become a dear good friend of mine. I thought he sounded a bit wild on the phone…but hey, science fiction writers are not the most normal people, are they? He sounded intelligent, thoughtful, hard-working and just weird enough to be interesting. My kind of people.
My co-founder thought he sounded deeply disturbed and disturbing. He was probably a psychopath. We didn’t need this guy.
I urged him to meet with him in person and find out more…give him a try. After all, this was our only bite so far, and he was rejecting him based on one interview.
He agreed to give it one more try with this guy…but that never happened.
A little while later, in an unrelated phone conversation, I joked that conservatives were shooting themselves in the foot by calling liberals “the intellectual elite”, and I couldn’t believe that liberals were fighting that label. I said something along the lines of “If they want to call me a member of the intellectual elite, that’s OK with me. I’ll accept that. I don’t see it as a bad thing to be one of the intellectual elite.”
He said something along the lines of “You think you’re one of the intellectual elite?”
I said, still joking, “Yeah, whatever that means.”
He hurriedly ended the phone conversation, and the next one we had was him telling me that I should just run the writer’s group, because I had basically taken it over from him anyway, and if I wanted to be in charge that badly, he would let me have this one, and just start one of his own.
He went on to suggest that he stop by my place and pick up the books he has loaned me, and return the books I had loaned him.
We haven’t spoken since. I’ve seen him at Convergence a couple of times, but he pretends that he doesn’t see me. It’s like I’m a blank spot in the air that he is looking through.
It’s weird. It's a “huh?“ moment that will most likely stand as such forever. I wish I could make sense of it beyond just “he’s a loony”, but I’m afraid that’s about the sum of it. Oh well, obviously no great loss, and I got this nifty writer’s group out of the deal.
This detour got a little long, so I’ll tell you about my nifty Writer’s Group tomorrow…one of the luckiest accidents I’ve had in a long time.