Monday, 7 March 2011

...Just to Be Sure of You...

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you." ~A.A. Milne

I’m dedicating my blog today to a person who’s become such a part of my everyday life that I fear I’ve taken her for granted. She’s become a constant in my world, and I’ve come to see her as a fixture in my daily life as much as the clothes I wear and the food I eat; and, just as clothing and food, she’s just as necessary. Just like those staples, I’m not sure I could do without her.

For a writing term, I’ll call her my crit partner. For a personal term, a more endearing one, I’ll call her my friend. Her name is Sarah.

Once, a couple of years ago, on a writing forum, I put out a request for a person to read my manuscript and offer feedback. I’d never ‘met’ Sarah before, but she posted and offered to read. And we’ve been together ever since.

Sarah is not the only one who helps me with my writing. But, bless her heart, she IS the one I run to when my feelings get hurt out there in the cyber world. She IS there—now that my book is released—to listen as I angst over reviews that are surely just around the corner. She IS there when I throw tantrums—and, oh do I EVER throw tantrums—about things that irritate me. She IS there when I brag about myself, and she does NOT come up with smart remarks to knock my ego down a billion notches when I do slip up and boast.

I’ve run Sarah through the proverbial wringer. I’ve bitched, complained, whined, criticized, pouted, shouted, preened, bragged.

I’ve worn her out with constant revisions to my WIPs. She knows no chapter is final when I send it to her. She knows there will be one, or two, or a hundred follow-up emails, prefaced by an apology, with a change to the manuscript. I’m sure it wears her out, but she doesn’t complain, just gladly reviews each and every change. All this while she is trying to write and promo her own works.

I do not mean to slight others who help me. It’s just that a bond has developed between Sarah and me over the time I’ve known her, and we’ve come to rely on each other in our writing journeys. And when I say ‘rely’, sometimes it’s nothing more than just knowing the other is out there in cyberspace when we sit down to write at night. We LOVE writing ‘together’.

She knows this silly little truth, but I’ll share it with you. I have trouble writing when I know she’s not around. Told you it was silly. But she’s an anchor, and I somehow feel adrift in writing waters if she’s not just an email away.

So, sure, maybe I need therapy. Maybe Sarah IS my therapy. She might as well be. I go to her, like I said, as my sounding board.

I feel as though I use and abuse her good nature. If I DO, she doesn’t slap me upside the head for it, but just remains there, true and steadfast.

Oh, the time she probably screams silently, You BITCH! Because, oh, boy, can I ever BE a royal bitch. But I’ve never heard her say it. I’ve never felt it in her ‘voice’. She’s a hell of a lot more resilient and patient than I ever dreamed of being.

And we DO fight. I figure, if we were in person during our bouts—as we are both very feisty, outspoken females—we’d literally pull hair and claw at eyes. But that’s one of the things, oddly enough, that I cherish about her. The only other person I have this sort of relationship with—the kind where you can fight like cats and dogs and continue to care and respect each other afterward—is my sister.

I crit for Sarah as well, and I use the term ‘crit’ very loosely. She’s incredibly talented and doesn’t really need my feedback, but she graciously allows my input anyway.

On the release of Candy G. my very first published novella, Sarah was as much—if not more—excited than me. She cheered me on during the book’s conception until its birth, and is my biggest fan. On the day of my release, which happened to coincide very closely with my birthday, she sent a bouquet of beautiful, sunny daisies to my office. I’m looking at them now. Talk about a touching moment.

And while I’m embarrassing Sarah, let me also introduce you to her two books, Down in Flames and Run to You, both available from Noble Romance Publishing. I had the pleasure of ‘critting’ these two wonderful works, and heartily recommend them for wonderful romance reads. Check them out here and get to know what a wonderful writer Sarah Balance is.

Well, have I mortified you enough, Sarah? What an awful way to pay you back for being a rock for me. But I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say you are a dear friend and a priceless jewel in my writing treasure chest.

Here’s to you! Thanks and I love you, lady!


Tess MacKall said...

Awww...such a lovely thing to do for your crit partner.

Crit partners can be so important in our lives. And yes, you do bond in so many different ways.

Looks like you found a real friend, Carol. Good for you--and Sara too.

C. Zampa said...

Tess, in all honesty, she's been a much better friend to me than I've been to her. I've been a fussy bitch. Hey, you've seen my whiney, bitchy side, too.

I've so many good friends in the cyber world, Sarah just seems to get the brunt of the 'dirty side of the storm' from Hurrican Carol. LOL.

Thanks for visiting, Tess. Hugs to you.

Laura G. said...

Aww! This is so sweet of you, Carol. Really is. You and Sara a fortunate to be critters. :)

Sarah Ballance said...

Wow, Carol! I'm beyond flattered. (And I'm also going to get a haircut before we ever meet. I'm thinking something in a *shave* LOL!) Seriously, I will treasure this. You're nowhere NEAR as bad as you make yourself sound - and darn if I'm not WORSE, LOL - but this is utter awesomeness. (((Thank you)))!

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Laura! You're another who helps me so much, more than words can tell.

Hugs and love to you.

C. Zampa said...

Oh, Sarah, yes, I'm bad. A veritable lit fuse on a powder keg, I am. But thanks for trying to make me look good for my blog. LOL.

Hugs and love and thanks.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

It's nice to have a crit partner and friend who will stick with you through thick and thin, Carol. Very rare. You are both blessed.

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Lisa!
Oh, and it has been thick and thin, having to deal with me. I'm no picnic, that's for sure!

Wonderful to see you, my friend!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful! And I am so jealous! I wish I had a critter like that! I have a great editor, and a wonderful beta, but a full fledge critique partner of my said genre? Nope. Haven't found one I trust yet...

Maybe some day...

Or should I be singing... "Some day, my prince will come..."

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

What a delightful story. I know how important crit partners are, so I totally know where you're coming from. Good for you for making Sarah a household name. And yay to you, Sarah for being such a great friend.

C. Zampa said...

Hey, George! Oh, I sure do know how lucky I am to have her. It is a priceless thing to have a crit partner like Sarah.

C. Zampa said...

Hello, Joylene! Did you hear that, Sarah? A household name? I never thought of it that way, but by golly she sure is!

A trooper indeed to put up with me.

Thanks, Joylene!

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Carol,

How wonderful that you have such a great friend and critique partner.


C. Zampa said...

Welcome, Janice!
It is wonderful, it really is!