Tag Archives: friendship

Thursday Doors: Clarion West

This is not the door to the actual Clarion West writers’ workshop in Seattle. I attended that workshop in 1987 just after I graduated from college and before I went to graduate school. I put writing away for a long time, studying neuroscience and raising a family. I’m not done with either of those activities, exactly, although I’m now an instructor with Science from Scientists rather than a graduate student, and my kids are teenagers. And I’m not done with writing either. No, I’m just starting back up.

This door belongs to the house of one of my Clarion classmates. Although we kept in sporadic touch after the workshop, attended a convention together, and still sent yearly holiday cards, I hadn’t seen her in person for about 25 years. In between then and now we had both gotten married, had kids, and pursued other interests.

When I moved back to CA I realized that she was not that far away; I could drive to her house in less than 2 hours. But it took more than 2 years for me to get the trip organized. Finally, my husband was on a big power trail geocaching trip, my son didn’t mind getting himself meals and was old enough to be left alone for a day, and so I went.


We had an awesome time. I didn’t know that I would as I knocked at the very normal-looking door in the very normal-looking California suburb, but I suspected. With some friends–writers especially–time doesn’t pass the way you think.

Thursday doors is a weekly feature in which door lovers share their pictures from doors all around the world. Stop by Norm 2.0’s blog to say hello and see some of the others.

Mundane Monday: Birthday Cake

Today is my birthday, so it’s not as mundane as the other 51 Mondays this year. We all know the downsides of social media, but I’m liking the Facebook anniversary function and the “rediscover this day” function in Google photos. One thing it led me to re-discover was cakes of birthdays past.  Continue reading Mundane Monday: Birthday Cake

Sand Circles

This week, Impromptu Promptlings asks, How does this picture relate to your life?

When I was 10, my family took a sabbatical to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Before that we lived in Williamsville New York, a suburb of Buffalo. My father was a Chemistry professor at SUNY/Buffalo, and so every seven years, he could take a sabbatical and visit another university to do research.

At the time of that first sabbatical, I had decidedly mixed feelings. I wasn’t a particularly adventurous or outgoing child. My face didn’t light up at the thought of new places and new adventures. I thought more about missing my friends, especially my best friend who lived next door, who was also named Karen.

Looking back now, of course I’m glad we did it. Adults are like that; we have the benefit of hindsight. It was the only time I have ever lived in the southern United States, and we experienced the famous southern hospitality and friendliness. My school in upstate New York had been pretty uniformly white, and my time in North Carolina was the first time I got to have black friends and teachers.

Her family's campsite
Her family’s campsite

Over spring break, which included Easter, my best friend Karen and her family came to visit us for a camping trip on the Outer Banks of Cape Hatteras. We hadn’t seen each other for months, and social media didn’t exist yet.

Our family's campsite
Our family’s campsite

I don’t honestly remember all that well, but if subsequent experience is any indication, the reunion was probably awkward.

But we finally went off together, just the two Karens, and we started drawing circles in the sand. The waves came in and washed them away. We drew more, and tried halfheartedly to run away from the waves before they got our feet wet.

sabresThen she drew a heart, and inside it she wrote, “Love is being a Buffalo Sabres fan.” As I read it, trying to figure out what it said, I stood there too long, and got drenched up to my knees by a wave. After that we ran back and forth, into and out of the waves, writing about Buffalo’s hockey team in the sand and watching it wash away. Improbably, back in Williamsville, we both had been Buffalo Sabres fans, collecting stamps from the grocery store to fill a collector’s book, going to the mall to get autographs, following their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals the previous year. But hockey was not much of a thing in North Carolina, and I’d let it slide. Now we reconnected over these sand drawings.

“What happened to you?” demanded our parents when we returned to the campsites, wet from head to toe. Just a walk along the beach, drawing circles in the sand.