Friday, December 16, 2011

DEJA VU BLOGFEST: Finding Our People

I'm participating in DL Hammons' DEJA VU BLOGFEST today. The idea is to "recycle" a past post. This one was originally a guest post over at Becky Povich's blog, and folks seemed to like it. So, it's Deja Vu All Over Again, Folks!

FINDING OUR PEOPLE:

In recent years, actress Shirley MacLaine has become known as much for her unusual beliefs about aliens and spirituality as for her movie roles. She lives here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and when her book came out a few years ago, I went to the book signing. Yes, she has some offbeat ideas, but I discovered that she makes a lot of sense about certain things. The one thing she wrote about that really resonated with me had to do with this idea of “finding your people.”


The gist of her point was that we are born into a particular family, but that we spend most of our life looking for “our people” outside of that birth family. Some of our family members may be “our people” and some may not. I think there are many people who feel so different from their other family members that they wonder if they were adopted, or if they really were abducted by aliens!

So, off we go into the world, seeking out those to whom we feel connected on a deep soul level. In romantic relationships, we call them our Soul Mates. But this idea of soul mates can go beyond just romantic partners – it can apply to all those in our lives whom we truly call Friend. These are the people who see our flaws and still celebrate us; the ones who show up for us; the ones who sincerely root for us; the ones who “get” us.

A few years ago, I became a yoga teacher. I started teaching at a studio here in Santa Fe, where the teachers have well-established followings. I began by subbing classes. Sometimes no one would show. Sometimes a person would come in, see that there was a sub, turn on her heels and go. Ouch. But then, new people came. And the next time I subbed, they came back. They told people the new teacher was pretty good, and the next time, a few more came. Eventually I had my own classes, and I developed a following. My people had found me and I had found my people – the ones for whom my style of teaching yoga resonated.

I think it’s very much the same for us as writers. Sometimes we want to achieve some concept of “success” so much that we write things that we think will please a certain audience. Are vampires still in? Should I write about vampires? I heard that zombies are the new vampires – shall I write about zombies?

What we need to do is take a deep breath, pause, and ask ourselves: What kind of books do I like? What kind of book have I dreamed of writing? If I love zombies, and have a great idea for a story, I should write it! But only because it’s truly what I love, not just because I think there is an audience for it out there. Because if my heart isn’t in it, then I won’t truly find “my people,” and my people won’t find me .

So, like the yoga teacher, showing up to share what I know and hoping that students will come, find something of value, and return again, as a writer I write what moves me and hope that among the many readers who try me out, one or two will like my work enough to return. Like yoga students, our readers may not show up in droves, they may show up one by one. But over time, those ones and twos become threes and fours, and eventually, we’ve got a following. By being true to ourselves, we’ve found our people.

P.S. When I was little, Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman was my favorite book, so I guess I've always been looking for my people!


20 comments:

  1. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I'm drinking a cup of coffee while blog visiting and enjoyed staying a while here and reading your thoughts.

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  2. I completely second your thoughts. And I think it is often those who show up one at a time, tentatively visiting with curiosity maybe, and interest, who are the ones that stay.

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  3. Melissa, I SO loved this the first time you wrote it, and you're right...you rec'd lots of comments about it then...and I'm sure you will again. You and I definitely know that We Are Each Other's People!

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  4. Hi Scrapper - I love what you crafty folks do!

    Joanne - I've found what you say to be so true!

    Hi Becky - we So are!

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  5. So interesting about the idea of "our people." I really like that ;)

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  6. I like the idea of looking for my people. I'm finding a few of them at this point in my life.

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  7. Elisabeth - me too!

    Helen - after a while I think we start to "know them when when we see them." But it's taken me a while...

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  8. Well said, and what a great book to take home the point

    Thanks so much for joining the Blogfest!

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  9. I am so glad you posted this again. I didn't see it the first time and it really hits home for me. It truly completes us when we find our people. Have a great weekend!

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  10. Hi Lydia - always nice to see you. Loved your post too.

    Hi Tracy Jo, I feel like bloggi land has really been a great place to find our people. After a while we really settle in with people we feel in sync with. It's nice.

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  11. Blogging is much the same way. Eventually your people will find & follow you, and you them. Although we are one great blogosphere, there are certain groups that tend to gravitate to one another.

    Excellent choice for a re-post! Thank you! :)

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  12. What a cool post, and we should all listen to your line about our people showing up one at first, then a few more, and just keep on keepin' on and enjoy them as they come.

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  13. I'm with DLHammons on this in the blogging world. It is a great place to find "your people" and connect. It has been an adventure and great fun.

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  14. I think Shirley MacLaine might be onto something about such extended families.

    Sorry I didn't make it here yesterday.

    Happy Weekend!

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  15. Hi DL & Sally - that's exactly right!

    Lyn - thank you for visiting and for your nice comment.

    Carol - poor Shirley gets a bad rap sometimes :-)

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  16. Hi,

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and for hitting the follow button!

    I love this re-post, it resonates the whole concept of the blogosphere and how writers have come together and created a voice all their own! More especially that of Indie authors and small presses, whose books are often ranked higher on Amazon than those churned out by the conventional giants of the publishing establishment. ;)

    best
    F

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  17. Francine - thank you for coming by - you definitely sound like "my people." :-)

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  18. A) LOVE that book! I STILL read it to my 7 year old (he likes my funny voices)
    B) At a writers conference in October, an editor said, "Write what you would like to read."

    Good advice to write by.

    Glad I got to meet you through the blogfest!

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  19. Hi Alison - nice to meet you too!

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  20. Hi Melissa! I'm catching up on the Fest and I love this re-post. I remember this one and love it just as much the second time around. Wonderful post! And, Are You My Mother? was a favorite of mine as a child as well, made me smile to see that bookcover. :)

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