Goodbye to a Dear Old Friend

I was saddened, though not surprised, to learn yesterday that a dear old friend would likely not be with me much longer. I won’t mention any names in public, but many of you who read my blog will know the name.

I already see signs that the very poison that sickened my friend is continuing to spread and though I have many feelings based on my own experiences fighting off that poison, if my friend must die, I don’t want to participate in spreading that poison.

IMG_2553This dying friend was not one friend, but a group of friends–a group of writer friends. And though 32-years old may sound young to some, for a group of writers to have been together that long, sharing knowledge and experiences, promoting each other, laughing together, crying together, growing together–that’s a very long time. A life to be proud of.

 

I would not have completed The Red Kimono without the support of these friends. When I first joined this group, writing a book was but a dream I’d had since I was a child. I never really thought it would happen, until I surrounded myself with others who had done that very thing–some, many, many times.

I remember being in awe that they were so willing to share–no competition between these writers. They shared their knowledge and helped many fledgling writers like me in every way possible.

But around the time I became Vice President of this group, and certainly into the time I was President, I began to sense the poison–the whisperings going on behind my back, the spreading of venom that poisoned the very cells–its members–that kept this being alive and vibrant. I won’t–don’t need to–mention any names. They know who they are.

And though for years, I’ve kept this to myself, I have to say, with the many, many hours of volunteer time I devoted to this “friend,” to have some of the very people who, in the early years were so supportive, not have the nerve to tell me to my face that they thought things should be done differently…well, it was downright heartbreaking.

Instead, they spread their disdain throughout the membership, even tried to subvert the way things were being done, not seeing that this was truly a poison, killing off the membership.

I haven’t been as involved with this organization since moving, so I won’t speak much about what’s been happening in the last year, but I do know the poison has continued to spread.

My friend’s terminal illness could have been prevented. Instead of the backstabbing, had there been open communication (even open disagreement would have been better!) I have no doubt we would not have continued to lose members, which, in the end, appears likely to be the demise of this group.

A theme that runs through most of my writing is IT’S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT. It’s okay to disagree. Why do we think we all have to think the same–do the same? If we could only discuss our differences, we’d all learn something new.

Instead, we put each other down for our different way of thinking, often behind each other’s backs.

It’s poison. And it’s killing a dear, old friend.

IMG_2562

Hillbilly Banquet, 2012

Farewell, my friend. I will hold only the best memories of you in my heart.

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8 Responses to Goodbye to a Dear Old Friend

  1. Jan, I know exactly of what/who you write, but also will mention no names. It saddens me greatly, too.:(

  2. This group was a huge foundation block for my writing. I am sad to see it pass. Everyone was so supportive when I was there (in 2010). I’m sorry for your loss.

  3. Sylvia says:

    Jan, I think you should take heart. I think the doctor is going to save the patient. And the patient may even come out of this stronger than ever.

  4. kat9090 says:

    Sorry for your loss.

  5. I’m sorry to hear this, dear. Hang in there.

  6. I’ve been seeing some positive email comments, so not giving up on it yet. As a co-founder of a mystery writers group, things are done much differently than when we began almost 20 years ago. But that’s okay. We need change. And we need to go with it – not fight it. Change is good. I hope this particular poison is weeded out of your “friend” soon. Let the good times began again.

  7. Mustang.Koji says:

    What a sad story to read, Jan. I take it (in my ishiatamaway) this illness was not of blood… But it always begs the question: why try to fix things when nothing is broken? In a way, it sounds like a passive-aggressive poison.

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