Saturday, August 16, 2008

Like everyone else, I’ve been glued to TV to watch the Olympics. It was amazing to watch 41 year-old Dara Torres last night during qualifications. Everyone was lined up to start when Dara noticed the box next to hers was empty. She went over and talked to an Olympic official, and the race was delayed to allow another swimmer to get her racing suit fixed. The suit was fixed, the race started, and Dara kicked ass to come in first.

It may have seemed like a small thing to everyone else, but I’m betting the woman whose suit needed fixing will never forget the stray kindness of her fellow Olympian. She would have had to scratch had Dara not intervened. To me, Dara is a gold medal winner.

This reminded me of how it is in the writing world. I’ll never forget the kindness of John Lescroart as he compared our writing styles as “us dialogers.” Just putting me into his league…well, I’m still dining on it two years later. Critiques from strong mid-list writers from very large houses helped hone my story, and the Donovan series.
I’ve returned the favor many times over to writers just breaking into the writing gig. It’s like that commercial where one guy sees a random act of kindness and it entices him to do the same for someone else. Another person sees this, and so on. I have no idea what they’re pushing (shame on the ad agency), but I love the message of everyone pitching in to help.

Whenever I speak at writer’s conferences, I’m constantly struck at the willingness of the “big guys” to help the “little guys” by reading their works and offering guidance. There’s none of the expected I’ve-made-it-you-may-kiss-my-ring. We’re all just a bunch of writers who love what we do, and there have been plenty conference evenings spent in the bar with a bunch of writers, reading and critting. We cheer when someone signs with a great agent, or, better yet, signs a great publishing contract. I’ve always said it; writers are the nicest people in the world, and I’m proud to be associated with them.

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