Yesterday I met with a couple of writing friends and took along the first four pages of this current draft. They’ve read  drafts of pieces I wrote earlier, but this was new material. I was heartened by their responses.

“This sounds lots more like you. The other pieces sounded more formal and contrived. Your personality is coming through in this.”

What sweeter words could anyone hope to hear?

These gals and I have been meeting for seven or eight years — I’d have to look at my timeline to be sure. However long it’s been, we’ve been through a lot together, on the page and off, and have coaxed, witnessed and cheered as we each continue to develop our writing skills. A victory by one is a victory by all, and we are able to be, well, not brutally honest, because we are always kind and loving. But we hold each other to high standards, and if something seems awkward, we work through it together.We have diverse styles and hear things differently, which makes the group input especially valuable.

Meanwhile, I continue to write. It’s so much easier now, with an organizing structure firmly in mind. Using the drive-through structure has a couple of additional advantages I hadn’t thought of until I began writing. I was nervous about the fact that the story would be obese with narration if I stuck to the viewpoint of me as a young girl. Incorporating that material as flashback insets allows me to interact in the narrative present (I concocted that term on the fly) to counterbalance the sparsity of remembered dialogue.

Even so, I do have some in the flashbacks. I have us “up the hill” now, entering town. The first memory trigger after the front gate is the Christian Church I used to attend. The paint was hardly dry in that new building when I moved away, but it triggers a hologram of church memories. When all is said and done, that may be significant timing.

At this point, the writing process, the organizing and developing and weaving together, is far more intriguing than the memories. On their own, they are beginning to feel a bit stale. If I weren’t writing, I would have put them back in their box long ago.