I don’t exactly remember when I decided to become a writer.
I do remember, however, when I attended my first ever writer’s group meeting. It was the same day that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows debuted. The book was released on a Saturday. I took my kids to a Friday night release party at a bookstore. Copies were disbursed beginning at midnight. Got home at 2:30. Took my wife and kids to the airport three hours later, so they could catch a flight to see my wife’s parents. Went home. Slept a couple more hours. Then, I went to the meeting. Don’t know what I would have done that day without caffeine.
One of the people I met that day was a writer named Haywood Smith. Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Haywood. She has been a friend. She has also been a mentor, offering numerous critiques, help, suggestions, anything a hopeful writer could dream of in the way of improving his or her craft. And this was not just to me. Haywood has been generous with her time to many writers in the group and I know many are thankful for the guidance she has given.
At the most recent meeting in May, I learned that Haywood was moving to Colorado. Faced with a granddaughter that deals with a rare form of epilepsy (Doose syndrome) and hopeful that a medical marijuana treatment, available in Colorado, could offer relief, Haywood decided to move there with her son’s family. She says she’s not gone forever. If the laws change to allow such treatments in Georgia, Haywood says she and her family will return. For now, though, she’s doing whatever is necessary to take care of her granddaughter. (Click here to visit Haywood’s website. Scroll down and read the section “On A Personal Note” to learn more.)
I had missed the prior three monthly meetings due to travel and had nearly missed the one in May as well. However, last minute fortuitous circumstances had allowed me to make the May meeting. When I heard Haywood’s news, I realize that being there had offered me a chance to say goodbye.
Haywood, I wish you safe travel. I know that technology means you’re close. Still, I will miss seeing you at meetings. I thank you for every assistance you have given me. And, I wish you and your family all the best, particularly your granddaughter. You will be missed.
Walt Mussell primaily writes historical fiction with inspirational and romantic elements. His favorite setting is medieval Japan and he refers to his writing as “Like ‘Shogun,’ but the heroine survives.” He also writes Biblical fiction and is working on a manuscript with a 19th century American setting. He has one published novella in the Christmas anthology, Hot Cocoa for the Heart.