Looking Back, Reaching Forward
Posted by Gwynlyn MacKenzie Aug 5 2013, 12:00 am
It was after 1 a.m on this day several decades ago when I woke my husband to say, “It’s time.”
After getting the two other children to the sitter and a comedy fit for the Keystone Cops (Hubble sent my suitcase flying across the parking lot when I couldn’t get out of the car. He tried to carry me, but only got one leg up before, realizing he’d thrown the suitcase, he dropped me (thank heaven for the car door!) and ran to fetch it. My purse broke as two young interns tried to get me onto the gurney—walking or sitting were no longer options. And the shortest nurse on staff ran on her toes trying to tie Hubble’s sterile gown and mask because (for some hormonal reason I have yet to fathom) I refused to cooperate without him there), I delivered youngest daughter—in my street clothes—at 2:45 a.m.
Around four a.m., unable to sleep, I went to the smoking lounge (yes, hospitals used to have those) to relax and read. Two gals, both walking like they’d spent a week astride a Clydesdale, arrived and, spotting me, hurriedly shuffled over. Without so much as a simple hello, they pounced. “Did you hear about the woman that almost gave birth in the elevator?”
They were zealots on a mission, and while I gave a brief thought to playing with them a bit, being no fan of gossip, I just hit them where it hurt. “That was me.”
They gaped, frowned, and stuttered at first, but heaven forbid something so minor as a repressive attitude should stop them. “What are you doing in here?” they asked (in unison, mind you—like two puppets worked by one rather dim-witted ventriloquist).
Well, duh. I have a cigarette and a book. I’m certainly not tap dancing. I held up the book, the cigarette, and went back to reading Jude Devereuax (so much more interesting) as they quickly toddled from the room—to spread this latest tidbit, no doubt.
Why am I telling you this? One, because recalling Baby Girl’s birth still elicits a chuckle. Two, because Oldest Daughter celebrated her birthday on 2 August, so more memories clamor for attention. Three, because any kind of birth leaves something behind to color your thinking, your perceptions, even your actions. This is true whether you birth a child, an idea, a book, a career—
—or a Sisterhood.
This September the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog will celebrate four years. It’s difficult to believe we didn’t know each other until March 2009, and rather like youngest’s birth, becoming a sisterhood, while quick, took some unusual turns that, only in retrospect, are amusing.
We’ve had our share of missteps, miscommunications, misadventures, and plain old mistakes. We’ve shared births, deaths, cancers and other illnesses, victories and defeats, We’ve even had the gossipy naysayers just looking for something to exploit to make themselves appear wise and all-knowing at our expense. Like I did in those pre-dawn hours, we ignore them, let them go their way, knowing many of them envy the speed of our ‘delivery’ while unaware of the trials, frustrations, and hard work it took to get where we are today.
Since 2009, Rubies have published over 200 books. No, we’re not all published yet, but that doesn’t matter. In my family, mine is the only dark head. That doesn’t make me any less a part of the family than not yet being published makes me any less a Ruby. Our bond is amazing. The sisterhood is a unique amalgamation of diverse talents and giving, caring hearts working together for the good of all—including our readers—and I count myself blessed to be one of them.
I gave some thought to including my memories of our beginnings in this blog, but I’ve remenisced enough for now. Instead, the floor is open to both sisters and readers to share their memories and hopes for the future. A favorite quote of mine is “Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, and I’d just as soon not, thank you; we want to improve, not slog through the same old trenches.
To make it easier to get started, here are a couple of questions, but don’t let them limit you. It’s time to look back, to gather insight into our successes and stumbles so we can move forward with confidence.
Sisters, what is your first memory of our loop? When did you realize the Rubies were more than a group of writers? What brought that realization to the fore? What’s your favorite Ruby memory? What do you hope the blog can accomplish in the future? Are there any goals you’d like to see us strive to reach?
Readers, what brought you to our blog? What is your favorite thing about the Rubies? Any suggestions for future blogs or ways we can continue to serve you?