Jumpha Lahiri & Junot Diaz in a Fistfight

At least one other woman laughed as loud as I did, so I wasn’t so embarrassed.

Yesterday at a panel, a writer was talking about how writers who were “moderately successful/in the middle” (like herself and the majority of people at AWP) are, and should be, supportive of each other. How those who have yet to publish might be more competitive and find it difficult to be happy for their peers (I know I was).

And, she said, maybe those at the top – the best sellers, even the Pulitzer Prize winners – maybe even they elbow each other out of the way.

That image – Jumpha Lahiri and Junot Diaz in a fistfight – made me burst out laughing. Not a bad premise for a story either.

But her larger point, that writers need to support each other (because no one else might!), is so true.

I am thrilled that I have found again here, like at last year’s AWP, that I am surrounded by good cheers, pats on the back, congratulations from strangers, and genuine warm feelings from other writers that help take the sting out of reject letters, the angst of being a writer, and the despair we writers feel when we think we are just shouting into the wind.

It’s great to know somebody cares!

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