During the workshop Natalie had also suggested that writing with other people is a way of staying accountable when you just don’t feel like doing the work. Karli greeted me at the lunch break and stated without a preface, “We should start a Writers Group.” I thought, “Well, sure,” even though I had no idea where such a suggestion would lead. It was her blue eyes and the self-confidence in her proposal that convinced me to show up on Wednesday mornings at El Café on Cerrillos. The place is nothing fancy, rarely crowded, just right for what we do.
Natalie’s instruction to “continue under all circumstances” keeps us on task at our meetings, and during that first year I managed to develop a consistent practice by filling the pages of a spiral notebook every month. I always believed in learning by doing. Things got a little more complicated after a particular writing session on Valentine’s Day when I stayed behind to work on a challenging paragraph. With my head down and doing my best to keep the hand moving across the page, I came to a realization that I was no longer alone at the table. Karli was standing across from me holding her laptop.
“Oh, hi. I’m just finishing a thought. What’s up?” I asked, as if I didn’t suspect a thing.
She leaned toward me and whispered, “Can we talk? Maybe not here. I could meet you later if you want to keep writing.”
“No, no, I’m about done. Tell you what- let me pay for the coffee and we could take a drive up to the ski basin. Is that okay with you?”
Her smile said yes, and she added, “Let me drop off my car at the house if you don’t mind. Meet me there in twenty minutes?”
My heart was racing when I pulled into the driveway. Karli wasn’t outside, but the front door opened, she waved to me, and I could see through the screen that she was wearing some kind of an above-the-knee pink robe thing, and that smile. I suspected that there might have been a change of plans. Without needing an explanation, I locked the car and headed for the porch wishing that I had brought a dozen roses.
Harpeth Rivers is a writer, musician and happy homeowner still living and working in New Mexico. Check out his latest book, Proof, an illustrated fable, on Amazon.