Updated: Nov 12, 2019
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a tribe to elevate an adult.
What I'm about to write may sound in contrast to a previous post but what this piece is about is the ability to surround yourself with those people that support, understand and "get" you, no matter what.
Although Gen Y and Millenials may think the definition of this word originated with them, the sociological/anthropological lineage of the word "tribe" is, well, as old as time.
According to Brittanica, " Tribe, in anthropology, a notional form of human social organization based on a set of smaller groups (known as bands), having temporary or permanent political integration, and defined by traditions of common descent, language, culture, and ideology."
In modern terms, the word TRIBE has morphed into the idea of finding "your people", the people who enjoy the same things, who make you feel as though you belong to them and vice versa. Deadheads follow the Grateful Dead, #Tamily fanatics post workouts and bond over all things Tracy Anderson, writers congregate at conferences and mull over ideas, themes, and plots.
This weekend I was fortunate enough to be amongst my tribe of writers at the Crimebake conference in Boston. Immersed in rooms that hummed with effervescent language, I was privy to plots of murder, mayhem, and the secrets of mystery writing unraveled in lectures given by the best in the craft.
Ann Cleeves, a keynote speaker, offered insight into her world of writing. Just as you may imagine, her speech was lovely. There is no other word; she is lovely. Her words lilt off her tongue with a rhythm and tempo that beguiles the listener into believing that she(he) too could write with such ease and grace.
She was brilliant - as were all the lecturers - as was all the information.
Writers are my tribe.
The writers that bonded over word counts, unfinished manuscripts, first-page fears - these are my people.
The writers that stood in line waiting to talk to agents and editors, discussing plots, practicing pitches, and loglines - these are my people.
There are no new ideas. We all recognize this.
But the writers who spin a concept and weave words into something new and fresh - we applaud each other on this magic, and we wish each other well - these are my people.
The writers at the bar who listened intently to struggles, successes, (bought you a drink) asked for your card and offered their own - these are my people.
The writers who reach out on social media after the microphone is cold and the banquet hall a skeleton of the glorious weekend - these are my people.
I have returned from Crimebake with enthusiasm to prod onward, add a mere 20k words to my novel (Ha!) and seclude myself into my writing space until accomplished.
OK - we know the seclusion won't happen - I mean it is basketball season and all.
BUT - with the support of writers that I call friends (far away and at home) - anything is possible.
And isn't this what midlife is all about?
Is finding your tribe the answer to that inevitable question of what now? If you are inclined to resurrect a passion that you placed on hold - is it the time to upgrade your midlife? Perhaps it's now that you uncover talents buried under mountains of laundry, sports schedules, and crock-pot recipes.
Your people are waiting. Your tribe is calling.
As winter bestows arctic winds and snow upon us (beginning this afternoon from what I hear), I will convene with my writing tribe in town - the Pennwriters. I can't say enough about the people in this group - their support, encouragement, and talent. For more information, go to www.pennwriters.org. (And we are hot off the heels of a fabulous one day conference that I will talk about in a later post as well.)
Who is in your tribe? Give them a shout out! I'd love to meet them.
Part 2 of Tribe will be in an upcoming post - these are the women I vent to, ask for advice, or tell them something only they would understand. These are my got-your-back-girls.
Love and Luck,