I don’t know if y’all have seen or read The Jane Austen Book Club. I thought it was ok, and it was one of those rare occurrences when I liked the movie better than the book, but that is beside the point. Whether you’ve seen it or read it or not, and regardless of how you feel about it, the premise is this: A bunch of people – some of whom know each other, some of whom are complete strangers – get together to read all of Jane Austen’s books. The story is about the relationships that form through the club, etc. And no matter how you feel about how the story is written or presented, the idea is a good one because it’s pretty true to life. At least, it seems like it’s becoming pretty true to my life.
When I decided to move to Asheville, I got on meetup.com and found a few groups to join. I figured I could meet some new people, practice my Italian and get my book edited all on one website. Well, the Italian group has yet to meet up, but I’ve been to the Asheville Aspiring Authors group twice now, and I’m really starting to love them.
I missed the first meeting because it was right after I’d moved, and either I had something else going on, or I didn’t realize the meeting was that night, or maybe I was just too exhausted to try and find my way to it, but I made it to the second meeting, which was last week. It was the first week people read, and we all took turns giving critiques, advice, praise and “sparkles,” which are exactly like spirit fingers, and they’re what you do when someone says something you’d like to second.
Almost everyone was very cordial and civilized, so I volunteered to read this week, and somewhere between them helping me think of a better way to describe putting a ski mask on a tiny monkey and everyone getting teary-eyed as another lady read the story of her baby daughter dying, we became a community.
I’m still definitely looking for a church. Make no mistake about that. But I’m also finding “my people” in other, somewhat surprising places, and I’m finding that they don’t have to be anything like me at all. This group is made up of men and women of different ages, races, backgrounds and interests. We’ve all got different stories to tell, and we all tell them in different ways, but I’m glad that we’ve found each other and come together to listen.