That other writer’s group

I went and checked out another writer’s group last night, and I left with the feeling that:

1. As a writer, I am utterly, violently outclassed by that entire group. These writers are really, REALLY good. Every single author I heard had something that’s definitely publishable and fantastic.

2. Their “every genre” is not likely to include “occult nonfiction.” While people went out of their way to be welcoming – and they really did – the first two responses I got to “I specialize in occult nonfiction” were:

“Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

and, “Should we call the police?”

I realize this was meant as teasing to some extent, but I got the sense with this group that jokes aren’t always entirely jokes. Especially since one woman at the table was showing the guy that asked me the oxymoron questions how she used her Smartphone to access Bible verses. It’s true that not everyone there is religious, and while I’ve been the sane public Pagan for many years, little things like that still make me profoundly uncomfortable; anything that says “look, I’m Chrisitan!” in a non-religious environment makes me just as twitchy as people doing “look! I’m Wiccan!” in groups that are meeting for say, political purposes.

It’s also a true old style writer’s group, where everyone reads out loud. I am terrible at the read out loud style of feedback on written work.  So what I can contribute is highly limited, and I often find myself resenting the time taken up listening to someone read who does not necessarily know how to perform.

Although everyone was perfectly nice (more or less) and the guy next to me was friendly enough to share his obscure Italian beverage, at the end of the night the room we were in triggered an asthma attack forcing me to leave in the middle of the presentation from the guy who was the nicest to me, and on the way out of the room I stumbled in a drainage hole and did some sort of damage to my right foot. I take that as a bad omen all around.

It’s a shame. I was really hopeful about this group, especially since they don’t conflict with my water aerobics schedule – and I have decided that in terms of priorities, it’s

1. Writing

2. Exercise

3. Writer’s groups – and this can be lowered. Getting some sense of fitness back matters almost as much as the writing does right now. It’s partially calculated – I need to look closer to traditionally attractive in any author’s photos and public appearances – but it’s also because I’ve been sick for a very, VERY LONG time, and the disease if finally controlled enough that I can do something to recover. I really don’t know what my body’s baseline actually is, I just know it’s somewhere more muscular than where I’m at right now.