Confessions of a Writing Group Dropout


This morning I dropped out of my writing group.  Bad fit for me.  Fortunately, I had only gone to three once-a-week meetings.  I think there are four left to go.  The leader of the group was very nice when I talked with her today and said I could be in another group.  But I am just not so sure that is something I want to do.

I have been looking for MY group since I moved to Los Angeles 30+ years ago.  When I say MY group, I mean just some people to hang with, and most importantly, people who get me without me trying too hard.  Actually, I would be happy with one or two people.  That would be enough (Dayenu).   This group would not be people I have to pay to be with me, like my therapist, my manicurist, my hair stylist and my twice a week personal trainer.  I realize the fact that because I can afford to hire the above people you should consider me spoiled.  I get it.

To me, the weird thing is I grew up poor.  Not food-stamp poor, but I do remember a few times, eating pancakes for dinner because we didn’t have the money for anything else.  Even stranger yet, is the fact when I was a child, being poor wasn’t something I thought about too much.

I grew up an amazing neighborhood, almost magical.  The public park with a recreation center was across the street from our apartment.   My best friends were within walking distance, or bike distance from my “house.”  If you didn’t know a person well, you at least had heard about him/her.  It was not a diverse community in the ethnic sense, but there was a general appreciation for people and their individuality.  I do remember having gay friends of both sexes.  Everyone knew who the gay people were, but the word “gay” or any of its urban synonyms was never used.  It’s funny though, that after these people came out, then they were talked about.

“Did you hear that Sheila is gay?” my sister said to me over the phone after I had lived here for several years.

Funny, I remember thinking when she told me, “Duh.  Like who in Rockville, Maryland, in area that surrounded Montrose Park, didn’t know that Sheila was gay? But Sheila hung out with me and the group of friends I grew up with.  We treated her like anyone else despite the fact that we all “knew.”

To be perfectly honestly, I don’t know if the place I grew-up in was really magical or it felt that way because I was a child.  You know it is sort of like those adults you know who wish they could be kids again.  Was it really that their childhood was all that great, or was that magical feeling that is inherent to children, in a developmental sense?  If the latter is true, perhaps that is why I can’t find what I am looking for.  Or perhaps I will never find it in Los Angeles.  So, I am a writer’s group drop out, but at least, like I lot people in this city, I love my car.  Finally.

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