Monday, April 16, 2018

Casting Call: Old Friends

Q:  It's hardest to impress those who know us best. What unexpected acknowledgment have you experienced from folks who knew you way back when?

- from Susan

Note to self: Acquire some people who knew me way back when.

Honestly, other than my two wonderful siblings and an ex-husband, I don’t have connections with people who knew me ‘way back when.’ We moved a lot when I was growing up. I was active but reserved in high school and since my father was the most visible TV newsman in the city, other kids respected my self-protective bubble. College was bifurcated for me and when I went back fulltime, I sometimes had my quiet toddler in class with me. Never went to a class reunion, moved far away right after high school, and, because I was married with a family, never hung out with other students campus. Gee, I sound like a great candidate for the CIA, don’t I?

I had a couple of women friends I met when I worked at Mills College in the 1980s, older than me and mentors before we became good friends, who were really my anchors, the kind of women friends I think some people make in their youth and stay friends with forever. After I left the non-profit world, they were almost as excited as I was when I got an agent and sold my first book. I thanked them in the first couple of books, and am so glad I did. They have both since died and I miss them and the kind of support they gave. Neither were writers so there was never the slightest whiff of competition or envy, and in its place a pride in my getting to that point in my new career. I envy people who have those kinds of friendships going back to childhood or college. I wish Helen and Doris were alive today.

My sister and brother may know be best and they are are proud, but say they’re not surprised that I’ve made it since I have been the writing-est person they’ve known since childhood. My sons are proud and inspired – both are writing fiction now, and they’re talented! My grandkids are almost proprietarily connected to Grandmom’s newest books, and very present in the room at my book signings when they’re in town. Charming and sweet. My fellow authors, including the wonderful Sisters in Crime members, are always there to cheer me on, as I cheer them.

So, I’ve missed some of the unexpected accolades, some of the special relationships that add weight to the acknowledgement of a career success. Truth is, most people who have known me at all know that I’m a born writer. Which is a good thing, given that I’m not a born mathematician, singer, artist, carpenter, or waitress – all talents I admire and skills I don’t possess in any measure.


Paul D. Marks said...

Susan, I'm sorry to hear that your friends weren't around to bask in your success with you. I have several people like that too. People I wish would have been around longer to see my success cause I know they would have enjoyed it as much as I do.

Susan C Shea said...

Thanks, Paul. They are with us in spirit, though.