This Community of Women Makes Me Feel Like I Belong

Have you ever experienced a moment where you knew -- I mean REALLY knew -- you were exactly where you were meant to be?

If I've had one before this week, I wasn't cognizant of it. Which is a shame, because it's a pretty damn cool experience, one I'm sorry I may have missed before this. (Chances are I had one or two as a Mom, but I was too exhausted to recognize them.)

This time around, my feeling of "place-ness" started with Facebook.

I know, I know: some people hate it. Some people love it. A lot of younger people feel my generation (and older) absconded with it, and if we like it, then it can't possibly be cool for them to like it, yadda yadda yadda. I happen to enjoy it, purely for the ability to catch up, and and keep up, with friends from all over the globe. I also use it to reach a lot of my readers, and for that, I am very grateful! As it so happens, this story is about writers.

My very favorite author in the world is Anne McCaffrey, an award-winning science fiction author with over 100 books to her name, some of which were collaborations. (That's important; I'll get to that later.)

When I was in high school, I discovered Ms. McCaffrey. And I'm not lying when I say that her Harper Hall books probably saved my life. I was able to escape into her world when I opened her books: her wonderful dragon-filled world (yes, people, dragons took center-stage long before "Game of Thrones"). In fact, it was Anne McCaffrey, whose tenacity as a female writer taking on the "men's" world of science fiction and fantasy (with other women such as Ursula LeGuin and Andre Norton, paving the way for writers like J.K. Rowling and Sofia Samatar) who sparked the first flicker in me to become a writer.

I fell deeply in love with the cover art for McCaffrey's (paperback editions) Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, beautifully created by the artist Elizabeth Malczynski. I still absolutely adore the artwork, as well as other stunning art by Ms. Malczynski. So for my birthday this year (over 35 years after first falling in love), T and Z bought me a limited edition print of the cover art for Dragonsong. (Yes, I cried. I cried a lot.)

Also during my younger years, I met a talented girl named Kary English who has, since then, gone on to be a wonderful published writer. We reconnected on Facebook a while back and I've enjoyed keeping up with her exploits ever since.

Fast forward out of my adolescence and beyond, and I attended a writing conference at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan just a few weeks ago, where I met Patricia Ann McNair, author extraordinaire. I had the very great fortune of sitting down with her privately to discuss my writing.

Now remember: Anne McCaffrey collaborated on several series. One of her co-writers was Jody Lynn Nye, an author I have enjoyed getting to "know" through the McCaffrey collaborations.

Two things happened today:

One: I found out Kary and Patty each KNOW Jody -- they are each friends with her on Facebook! (Kary, meet Patty; Patty, this is Kary).

And two: I picked up my limited edition, now framed, cover art print by Elizabeth Malczynski of the Anne McCaffrey book that got me started on the writer's path in the first place.

So, without thinking too much more about it (in case I chickened out), I messaged Jody. In a nutshell, telling her everything I just shared with you, and I'll admit it was in a kind of fan-girl manner (yes, I know, I'm 52, but I'll still cop to being a fan-girl about certain things). But it was also a "Wow! Small World!" message capped with an "I love the writing community!" gush. And she not only accepted my Friend Request on Facebook -- she messaged me back. W O W !

These 3 women are all FANTABULOUS writers, and we are all connected to each other now in strange and wonderful ways!

(I really love this writing community.)

What are the chances? All of this crazy coincidence of connecting the dots back to a 16-year-old Me discovering McCaffrey... I thought, 'would anyone else walk away from a day like today with the same gobsmacked feeling I had?'

And there it was: my moment of Zen. My 42. The epic epiphany. My light bulb moment: Of course no one else would experience this particular alignment; this one is for me. I am exactly where I am meant to be at this time in the Universe, doing what I need to be doing.

As my favorite therapist, Denise, always said, "Sometimes the Universe conspires to give us what we need."

Heady moment. Almost overwhelming. Also met with tears.

All good things are.