I want to close out the year writing about some of the things that have happened over the year. Not a full review or anything, just writing about the things that have influenced me. I noticed quickly as I was working on these posts that Friendship was a theme. Here’s the first in that series.

In March I went to the Aspiring Authors Madcap Retreat. It was amazing for a lot of reasons. But, the friendships I walked away with? Those are impossible to put into words.

I remember Emailing with Susanne and Meghan about getting a ride from the airport to the house where the retreat would be. I didn’t know them. I wasn’t sure what exactly would happen in Sister Mary Conseula (the vans name). I didn’t know that I would be riding with future amazing friends.

But, I remember trying to get myself to shut up. I talk a lot when I get anxious and I remember desperately trying to rein it in and I couldn’t. I didn’t want these new people to think I was conceited or an attention hog. It’s just the way my anxiety manifests. But, no one seemed to mind.

We got to the house. We were all standing around outside because we were early and they weren’t quite ready for us. It was a gorgeous day. And I was surrounded by other writers who were all just as apprehensive as I was. I think I was the only one who couldn’t get her act together to calm down. I remember talking to Tessa about how our wardrobes consisted of leggings and tunics.

Through the next five days I would meet the most amazing people. Tia and her endless piles of cokes and snacks. Heather who brought wine (thank God). More Meg(h)ans than I’d ever seen in one room. All of them lovely and beautiful. I can’t name them all because it would just be a list, but each of these people brought something special to that retreat. They made it okay for us to ask questions (or we’d just wait for Anna to do it, she had the best questions).

Our last night there we were all pretty exhausted. Mentally. Physically. It was a lot information to take in over the week. I’d laid down, earbuds in, covers over my face because the light was still on. I could hear Meghan asking where I was. My crutches were next to my bed, but I wasn’t there. She was afraid I was stuck somewhere. Now, she was also exhausted and hadn’t thought through all of it. It made me laugh. Occasionally that memory will still creep back into my head and make me smile.

It’s been almost a year since I found out I was going to get to go to this workshop. And in that year we’ve all suffered tremendous triumphs and sadness. We’ve celebrated and mourned together.

We built towers and burned boxes.

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