High School Reunion. Those three words are going to strike some emotion in you, whether it be fear, excitement, depression, curiosity or annoyance. A 10-year reunion or above brings you face to face with what you’ve accomplished over the elapsed time since you last saw your classmates.
One friend pointed out the weirdness of reunions; that you see people you haven’t met in ten years, attempt to place them, and then immediately have to summarize your life for them. “How many kids? Where do you live? What do you do?”
If you are an unpublished writer, do you say “I’m a writer.” And then say the discouraging follow-up, “No, not published.” Do you have an easy quick pitch if someone asks you what it is about? If you do, you can consider your classmates a testing ground to see if your idea catches their interest. If you get that eye-glazed over look, you can adjust your pitch per person and remember to keep it short.
If you are a published writer, then I guess you get to promote your book, which sounds awesome. Even if you have to say, “No, not on the New York Times Bestseller list,” or experience some awkwardness as people pitch you their writing ideas or ask for the name of your agent; having your own project to share would be worth it.
I showed up to mine, just last week, and had the most peculiar time. Once through the door, there is what at first seems to be a room full of strangers. It is an effort to match the image of who the person has become with their picture in high school. Then slowly you become more relaxed, less terrified to meet a stranger’s eyes and worry that you won’t remember who they are. After a bit, there are enough fails, that you don’t feel so bad baldly looking at the picture on the name tag. With the large graduating class my school had, I began to suspect that I hadn’t ever known some of the people in that room. There were some entertaining characters, and snippets of dialogue that could be put into a novel if you were inclined.
Eventually, the friends I did know had gathered together, and it was such a feeling of gratitude and warmth to see them again. There was a class photo taken, which broke more ice, and I had to really admire the people who went beyond their regular circles to make new (old) friends.
After dinner and music, and friends hugging goodbye for another ten years, I stopped in the hallway to say hi to one more person before leaving and I found a kindred writer spirit. I overheard him assert that he was a writer. I found it to be a confident response, and followed by a cheerful summary of what he was working on. He admitted that it was generally the same thing he was working on during the last reunion. We talked and agreed that we are both writers, and will always be writers, by just the act of working on a project that we love.
Thanks to this blog, I was also happy to answer the questions about my life. Beyond the recounting of family life and where I was living, I answered that I was co-creating a blog on writing. Then I said I was also writing a novel. I said the same thing about writing a novel the last time at my reunion, but while the novel isn’t done (and isn’t the same one I was working on back then), I was so glad that the blog is out there every day.
I used to read that you should travel somewhere very exotic before a reunion, and have that be your answer to “what are you doing these days,” but I think the answer, “writing a blog,” is just as fun.