Not gonna talk about my grandbaby, who is the sweetest thing to ever grace my life. And, I’m not going to talk about how proud I am of my US Marine son who shipped off toCampLejeune this past week after killing it at MCT (Marine Combat Training) last month. But since I did mention my son and the military, I’ll sneak in a mention that my son-in-law is headed for Coast Guard boot camp and OTS early next year. Very proud of him!
What I am going to chat about is, volunteering: again! Several years ago, my local RWA chapter was in a wee bit of a fix. I was approached by the then chapter president and asked to run for president. I was emphatic. NO. Then several chapter members started to chime in, and I started to rethink it all. I knew in my gut I was going to run because I cared too much about my chapter not to. But the bottom line was this: If I were going to run for chapter president, I wanted to be surrounded by a top notch board. So, I enlisted the smartest ladies I knew to run with me, and the rest they say, is history. FWIW, those two years as chapter prez were a hell of a lot of fun, and we accomplished so much I am still amazed by our productivity. I have also served on the board of a smaller RWA chapter as VP, Treasurer and PAN liaison.
When our own Sylvia Day was asked to fill the vacated RWA National Region 6 Director board position a couple of years ago, she did not hesitate to say, yes. I thought she had seriously lost her marbles. I mean the RWA National board is the big time. Those gals put up with a lot of shi—er’ crap. But through Syl, I learned a lot not only about how the board worked, but just how much love and dedication the board poured into this amazing organization. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Listening to Syl talk about what this group of women achieved was awe-inspiring. They not only made personal sacrifices but career sacrifices as well, all so that the RWA I love could continue to be the RWA I love. So, when Sylvia asked me to consider running for Region 6 Director, because she would be vacating it to become our next President Elect, Yay, SYLVIA!!!!!!!! I am sooo proud of you, you will be an excellent President one day soon! I was honored that she thought enough of me to even ask. But, I was adamant that this was not something I wanted to take on. Hubby was most def on the same page. And so, she left me alone.
But, me being me, I kept thinking about it. Hubby and I talked about it. I was approached by another national board member at national. Hubby and I talked about it some more. And I kept thinking, to make a difference, I had to be part of the difference.
You see, when I was chapter president, my mission statement was simple: no writer left behind. I felt strongly abut this. When I joined that chapter many years ago, I was told at my first meeting that I could not sit at a particular table because ‘that’s were the published authors sit.’ Pissed me the eff off! Instead of walking off in a huff because I was insulted, I went to the corner where the other newbies congregated and sat quietly amazed by Micki Nuding’s How-not-to-screw-up-a-query-letter presentation. I returned home after the meeting floating on cloud nine. Oh, not only was I going back, I was going back to suck every meeting up! I did go back, not for them, but for me. I was after all there because I wanted to learn how to be a better writer.
Years passed, presidents came and went, some good, some—not. When my turn came, I told those same published authors I was told so long ago I could not sit with but who had now become friends that I needed them at the meetings. I needed them sitting with unpublished and newly published authors, and those not so sure RWA was for them, as well as those who did not know a soul. I needed them to rub whiskers (a line I stole from my very first editor Hilary Sares) and share themselves and their knowledge. I’m happy to report, they did not let me down.
I told my chapter at my first meeting as president that I was not there for me, I was there for us. I told them I had gone through high school once and was not going to go through it again. I told them their personal drama was just that, their personal drama and to leave it at the door. I told them that we all, no matter where we were in our journey to publication, began at the very same place: writing one word. I also reminded the published authors that when they began their journey they did not begin it published.
In 2008, I was awarded the RWA Pro Mentor of the Year award. I look at it several times throughout the day, as it sits right across from where I write. It is my proudest career achievement.
What I am taking a long time to say is: I believe all writers who are seriously striving for publication or to stay published are equal in that we are all writers. We all deserve to be heard, we all deserve respect and we all deserve a shot. That we are all at different stages of our journey is irrelevant to me. That may piss off some folks but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The market is tough. The economy sucks, but readers are still buying books and publishers are still acquiring. If we roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary, we can all realize our dreams in whatever capacity that dream is. As someone who believes that everyone is entitled to his or her own dreams, I would be honored to be nominated as Region 6 Director. While Region 6 isCalifornia, as a voting board member, I would be representing all of the membership with my vote. A member does not have to live in the region to vote for a particular Region Director. So if you live in Region 3 you can not only vote for that Director but Region 6 as well and all the other regions.
I know that past boards have worked hard, and the new board is going to work as hard. I want to be part of that. I want to have a voice. No high school, no drama, just simply a representative for all serious writers, regardless of where they are in their writing journey.
So, if you are a voting member of RWA, and if you have confidence in me, I would very much appreciate your vote. I believe ballots are going to be emailed September 1st. Regardless of how you may feel about me, please take the time to vote for the candidate you want to see on the board. It’s your chance to be heard!
And just for some cute factor, here’s a pic of my Boo Boo with the ginormous bear her uncle bought for her yesterday!