First of all, I haven't become a recluse, although I've been staying indoors way too much and my going out has been within pretty safe parameters (still playing poker at the Pub once or twice a week, getting groceries, volunteering at the Douglas County Veterans Services Office a couple days a week, going to church services). Tonight I broke out of that corral and went to a Meetup for writers in my local area which was held at a local brewery (Elk Mountain Brewery). I really wasn't sure what to expect, and was a little nervous about whether I belonged with this group at all. I'm published, but not in any media accessible to the general public, I've made a grand total of $5.39 from AdSense on my blog, and HOLY MOSES I'm OLD!
But the Meetup was at a brewery and ten minutes from my house. I had to go. I even put on makeup, which I hardly ever do; but I didn't want to scare anyone, so I tarted up a bit.
Long story short: I had the best time! I never knew that listening to other people talk about themselves could be so bloody interesting! More than once I was reminded of the Chautauquas and Salons of previous generations and the veritable flood of intelligent writing that came from these groups. I knew I was in a magical place in an important moment in my life and in the lives others present. Of course it could have been the beer -- which was awesome, by the way -- but I kind of think it was the company and the synergy of life experience and sincere devotion to telling the story. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
So look long and hard at this picture. You'll see the Dorothy Parkers, James Thurbers, Hemingways, Micheners, Frosts, Thoreaus, etc. that are out here writing in Colorado. I'm the really really white-haired person in the front. Most of the rest of the group are real writers, with real cred. I'm the pretender, if you will -- but with this kind of catalyst, not for long!